Just listen to yourself. Really listen. Listen to what you say aloud and also listen to your thoughts.
The easiest and least confusing way in which you can improve your game of golf and lower your handicap is to clean up your language. No, I don’t mean that you need to stop swearing! I mean all that muttering about this lie being bad, or this shot being difficult, or how you don’t like that club, or you don’t have the shot. Jeez, talk about talking yourself out of it before you’ve even taken a practice swing!
To give the shot any chance of working out well you have to commit to it, and the only way in which you will do this is if you control and focus your thoughts and your self-talk. Of course you have to notice bad lies, strong winds or levels of difficulty. That’s the first step.
You assess your lie and decide on the best shot. Then you quit the negative mumbling and get into your pre shot routine. In this way you make the best of it and you commit to your shot instead of compounding your issues.
I was reminded of this very simple truth just yesterday. I had an email from a friend just saying a simple “thank you” for having commented on her negative self-talk when we played a week earlier. She hadn’t been aware of just what she said as she eyed up her shots and the on-going impact upon her game. The next time she had played she resolved to “bin the negatives”… and won the tournament!
Now that has got to be the quickest and most effective golf fix ever, don’t you agree? The difference between saying, “What the heck am I meant to do here?” and “OK, this is what I’m going to do” is huge. I mean HUGE, REALLY HUGE.
If you are playing a shot with the first thought in mind your negative tension will inevitably be transmitted through your muscles to your club and on to the ball. You’re not sure about what you are trying to do and the ball will respond accordingly.
But if you have resolved to choose the latter thought process your clarity of intent and focus will tell your golf ball precisely what to do. Your thoughts and self-talk quite literally SPEAK to your golf ball.
In a similar manner you might also think about your mood whilst on the course. Be aware that negative moods create tension whereas positive moods make you more relaxed. If you would like to have a relaxed and smooth swing then you need to make sure your mood puts you into a place where this eventuality is at least possible.
Golf is a very mental game and yet the majority of amateur golfers don’t even think about this aspect at all. Cleaning up negative self-talk takes neither time nor much effort. Rather, it simply requires awareness. There are many other mental skills that can be employed in a similar manner whilst on the golf course. It is also worth remembering that mental adjustments are a whole lot easier to embrace than making swing changes.
Roseanna Leaton, golf addict and specialist in golf hypnosis mp3s and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.
P.S. Discover how to focus your golf mind and develop better feel and technique through clear focus. Check out my website now.