Tiger wears red on the final day of a tournament. Many golfers have certain habits that they stick with when playing in a tournament. Some quirks, like Tiger wearing the color red, are visible to all, whilst others are not so obvious. I am sure that you, like I, have heard of sports persons who do not change their underwear or their socks if they feel that they are on a winning streak.
Idiosyncrasies can be quite varied and I will admit to wondering exactly how extreme some might be. A further question relates to what are the underlying thought processes that drive such behavior? Why does a golfer decide that a specific piece of clothing has increased importance, or why would he or she attach emphasis to one thing over another? What makes the number on the golf ball important or the color of their shoelaces?
I suspect that whilst some golfers display similar idiosyncratic behavior in other areas of their life, the majority of us only do so under pressure of tournament golf. It starts off as a line of thought such as “I’m playing so well, I just do not want to change anything”. You don’t really believe that your underwear, or whatever it is, can make a real difference but you don’t want to change it “just in case”.
And then you win. And so the next time you play in a tournament you wear the same items of clothing (or whatever your idiosyncrasy is) “just in case” they really did help. Over time your idiosyncratic behavior becomes familiar and comforting and a part of your whole tournament routine. Eventually you are too scared to change it, as it has become your “lucky charm”.
A further interesting aspect of such idiosyncratic behavior, that you may or may not have noticed, lies in the fact that if you win the tournament you attach further belief to the behavior. “Thank goodness you wore such and such or you might have lost”. But, when you lose, you don’t blame your idiosyncrasy for the loss. You don’t really lose your belief in its ability to be a lucky charm. Why so?
This all simply goes to prove the point that golf is an extremely mental game! Just one tiny little half formed thought in the back of your mind can make or break your rhythm upon the golf course. If you think that something matters you are correct. If you think that something doesn’t matter you are also likely to be correct.
Golf performance is reliant upon strong beliefs and confidence. You have to find your own way to feel “right” on the day of a tournament and whatever way you reach that point is correct for you.
Roseanna Leaton, golf addict and specialist in golf hypnosis mp3s and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.
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