What shot should I play? – Part 2

Just to recap on part 1 of this story, we have a golfer who thought he was “chicken” because he wasn’t comfortable with the shot he knew he should play and so took a different club (one he was comfortable with) and hit a perfect shot down the middle of the fairway. Despite hitting a great shot, he was giving himself a hard time for being a “chicken”.

So why didn’t he feel he had played the right shot? These are a couple of reasons here. One is that he didn’t want other people to think he was a chicken. He felt they’d know he had “chickened out”. Well, in my mind that’s a terrible reason to worry. Your aim in each and every shot in golf is to get the ball where you want it to go and it doesn’t matter how you get it there and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. But most of us do worry what others will think; To seek approval is a natural instinct, BUT it doesn’t pay to be allowing this emotion to take over when you’re playing golf. You have to learn to focus on the logistics of the task in hand and banish competing emotions from your mind.

A second reason why he didn’t feel he had played the right shot is that he was fighting frustration which had been building for some time; he had been getting increasingly more uncomfortable with those types of shots and the more he thought about it, the more unsure he was as he hovered over the shot…and yet he KNEW he could play that shot, he SHOULD be able to play that shot, and he KNEW that he should just take the club, make the shot and conquer his fears and frustrations…and so in not doing this he was a chicken (IN HIS MIND, NOT IN MINE).

To have played that shot in that state of mind would have been totally wrong. Golf is a game of confidence; the ball goes where your mind and your emotions are going. If one bit of you is thinking one thing, whilst another bit is thinking something different, the golf ball will also “be in two minds” and its flight will reflect it. Your frustrations and fears will be transmitted through your breathing, your grip, your tempo, rhythm and swing….and the ball will go where you in reality, deep down, EXPECTED the ball to go.

My friend, when we played, made the right choice, the bravest and cleverest choice. He played the shot he was confident with. This is all that matters. To play the shot which you are most confident will work is the one to choose, every time. It doesn’t matter if it is the right shot technically speaking in a perfect world, if you see what I mean.

Another thing which many golfers do when they have lost confidence with a particular shot is to swap clubs; they buy a new toy! And sometimes this works. If you expect it to work for you it probably will…at least for a short period of time…and a short period of time is sometimes enough to regain your confidence with those shots. This, however, is not the best solution. Those clubs you had before DID work and they still do. It is all in your mind.

So what should you do when you’re confidence is falling in relation to a particular shot or club?

You could go to the range and practice until you get comfortable once again. If this works, great, you’ve cracked it. If it doesnÂ’t work or your confidence doesn’t transfer onto the course, play a different shot which you are comfortable with. Don’t play that shot whilst you feel uncomfortable with it. Leave that shot “in the bag” until the memory of fear and frustration has faded; then, one day, (fairly soon) you’ll be on the course, you’ll see that shot in your mind’s eye, pull out the club and hit it perfectly once again.

The thing to avoid is making yourself play that shot (for fear of being called a “chicken”) when you aren’t confident, thereby creating more and more “BAD” shots to store up in your mind, thereby building the belief that you cannot hit that shot, creating an expectation that you cannot do it, and so on.

In golf, confidence is the key.

Roseanna Leaton, specialist in golf hypnosis cds and hypnosis mp3 downloads.