Mental toughness is something that we all may not have, but it is something we can all attain. Mental toughness is the difference between a good round and a great round of golf.
Having mental toughness can also be the difference between a poor round and an average round. When you aren’t paying at your best, it can be very easy to let your round slide into a poor round, but if you keep your attention up and still try to play each shot as best you can, you will be amazed at what might happen to your score.
Today I am going to give you a few mental exercises to help you play better games, more often.
Firstly, I believe that visualising the shot you want to play is a strong step to playing the shot you want. Most of the time, when we play a poor shot, we are low in confidence with the club in our hands or we are not focused on the shot we need to play. Visualising how you want to see the ball fly and visualising the shape of the shot is a big step towards hitting a great shot.
Self-talk can make you become positive with your approach to your shots. Most golfers talk themselves out of hitting good shots and into hitting poor shots. You need to replace your negative words with positive words. This can be as easy as changing your words from, “I can’t do this!” to “I will give it my best shot!” Find words or phrases that make YOU feel positive!
After a golfer hits a poor shot, the usual process of thoughts are:
“What went wrong?” “My swing is hopeless” “The golfing gods are against me!”
Instead, you should discard the poor shot out of your mind and think of things that make you happy. It can be any thought that makes you happy, as long as it takes your mind off your less than perfect shot. You need to trust your technique, move forward and stop trying to adjust your swing during the round.
Aaron Baddeley is a good example of this. When he won the Australian Open as an amateur, he would sing his favourite songs with his caddy while walking down the fairway to keep his mind off the pressure. You don’t need to sing at the top of your voice…singing inside your head is more than fine.
Having a trigger word or words to start your swing is very important. Keep your words and thoughts simple. When you practice on the range, this is the time to think. When it is time to play, you need to act on your practice, not think about every move. Trigger words are there to make you react and hit the ball the way you have practiced.
In all sports you see players who go through different routines before they react by kicking a football, bowling a ball or shooting a basket. You need to find the word that makes you react correctly.
The words or phrases could be as simple as, “Go”, “Do it”, “Go for it”, “Stay positive” or “Swing strong.” It can be anything you want, as long as the words put you in the correct mind frame!