Golfers think of anchoring as holding a golf club in contact with the body. However, a mental anchor is totally different. It is a NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) technique for inducing a certain frame of mind or emotion. It can be an internal or external sight, sound, or feeling that triggers your sensory memory to recall and produce a past shot which is stored in your subconscious mind.
Anchoring is an emotional stimulus-response, set off by a trigger. Our entire behavior is the result of a response to anchors. The ring of your phone is a trigger to pick it up. A traffic light turning red triggers your foot on the brake, and azaleas in the springtime trigger golfers to think of the Masters Tournament.
Anyone who has had a hole-in-one can instantly recall the intense feelings of joy and excitement and can describe the feat in detail. That memory is anchored into your subconscious mind because of the intensity of the feelings. It’s like bookmarking a shot so you can recall it at a later date. When you give a “high five” for a good shot that is an anchor. Giving a “Tiger Paw” in acknowledgment is an anchor. When Arnold Palmer hitched up his pants, he was anchoring his good shot.
When you go to the movies you not only see the picture, you hear the sound, and you feel the emotion of the scene. The more emotionally powerful the scene, the more memorable it is. Your subconscious mind doesn’t differentiate between negative (feeling bad) and positive (feeling good) emotions. It will anchor the events that are more highly charged emotionally and will recall them easily.
There are superstitious anchors like Tiger and Patrick Reed wearing a red shirt for the final round in a tournament. Jack Nicklaus always played with three coins in his pocket. Golfers practice superstitious rituals in the hopes of bringing success, or conversely, to keep away the fear of bad luck.
Unfortunately, most golfers have negative anchors. When a golfer misses a shot and bangs the club into the ground or angrily stuffs it into the golf bag, the “bad” shot is anchored into the subconscious data bank. And then anchors are stacked by reinforcing the emotion every time the golfer hits a “bad” shot and gets angry.
There are also non-verbal negative anchors like shaking your head from side to side, or grimacing when you miss a putt.
After your round how many missed shots do you remember and anchor by talking emotionally about them? How long do you remember and reinforce your good shots? Which ones are you installing more powerfully into your subconscious memory bank?
Decide now to anchor with good heartfelt emotion only those shots that you wish to remember. Talking about missed shots only soothes your ego looking for relief from the emotional distress.
Reinforcing your best shots will guarantee that your subconscious mind will send those images to your muscles for a repeat performance. For easy recall, anchor your successful shots with a strong internal feeling and a physical signal such as a fist pump.
Your pre-shot routine is the trigger for stacking positive anchors. At the time you are ready to swing, all your systems are then ready to “Just Do It!”
Play “in the zone” with Joan
Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances
To train your brain to play your best golf, listen to Positive Mental Imagery self-hypnosis guided imagery CDs in the privacy of your own home, available at www.pmi4.com/cart
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“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances” explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.