Breathe deeply for greater relaxation and focus
Breathing is the number one key to having more control of your body. In the Olympics we saw Lindsey Vonn taking short rapid breaths which caused an adrenalin rush to increase her energy for her downhill ski run. We watched biathlon athletes combine cross-country skiing and rifle sharp-shooting. After skiing several miles, they trained themselves to slow down their breathing rates in order to be able to shoot calmly for accuracy at targets 50 meters away.
Control of the body while playing golf is not done by force. Control is accomplished by becoming relaxed and imagining and visualizing what you intend. This is a function of your subconscious mind which is accessed through deep breathing.
Manage your emotions
It’s not your feelings that cause you problems. It’s the undisciplined decisions that you make as a result of focusing on the feelings. When you lose control of your emotions, that anxiety and tension is transferred into the golf swing.
Your emotions are a natural expression of being human. Through your life’s experiences you have learned to react with certain emotions to certain situations. Most everyone reacts to a hole-in-one with exuberant excitement and joyous body movements. While this is a good feeling emotion, it isn’t necessarily helpful to be this excited because it makes the next swing more difficult. In the same way you release anger after a missed shot, you need to release the thoughts of excitement surrounding this perfect shot. Know that your thoughts control your emotions and you can control your emotions at any time by changing your perception. So instead of expecting your hole-in-one to produce a low score, calm down and stay focused on resuming your strategy.
A lot of golfers express feelings of frustration, embarrassment, and humiliation on the golf course by getting angry. We get angry most of the time because things don’t go our way. We feel afraid that we have lost control of the situation and feel unworthy. Holding on to anger will sabotage your performance. Know that there is always another way to look at a situation. Change your thoughts and you will change your emotions.
Manage your self-talk
If you listen to what golfers say to themselves, it becomes apparent that their self-talk usually is not helpful or affirming. Criticizing and judging yourself causes a mental or emotional downslide as your reactions can become easily magnified and erode your self-confidence. When you continue to replay mistakes and create doubt in yourself, you work yourself into greater emotional turmoil. Talk to yourself as if you were your best friend, nurturing, and affirming yourself as a winner. Make your internal voice pleasing, deep, slow, and loving.
Manage your thoughts
Playing at your peak performance levels means managing your thoughts and emotions to your best advantage. While most people think these are two separate entities, they are entwined. In order to have control over your swing and your golf game, you need to have control of your thoughts and feelings.
How do you control your thoughts? You are the only thinker in your mind. It is up to you to choose what you want to think. The only thing you can control is yourself. Do not give any mental or emotional energy to what you cannot control. This includes the condition of the golf course, the weather conditions, your playing partners’ behavior or their scores. Spend your energy on preparing for your shot, sticking to your game plan, your own awareness, and changing negative perceptions to positive thoughts.
It is my belief that it is easier to gain control by thinking through your beliefs, attitudes and possible situations before you encounter them (again) on the golf course. Then you can train your brain and body to be in control and react positively when playing.
Tips for having control of your golf game
- Never give up.
- Make a plan and stick to it.
- Let go of expectations.
- Give yourself permission to make mistakes.
- After a mistake, slow down and breathe deeply.
- Know your skill level and play percentage shots.
- Be flexible. Golf is full of surprises.
- Use positive self-talk throughout the round.
- Use the same pre-shot routine on every shot.
- Maintain your arousal level.
- Give up self-judgment and analysis on the course.
- Play from your heart.
- Play for your own enjoyment.
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
If you aren’t able to maintain trust and belief in yourself on the golf course, email Joan at email@example.com or call 828.696.2547 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation about developing a new strategy. Learn what is missing in your golf game so you can achieve the success you desire.
“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.
All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!