Recently I have been helping several high school softball pitchers with the anxiety they are experiencing in pressure game situations. All of them indicated that they were struggling with overthinking. They are thinking about unrelated things while playing and are not able to relax and focus. Thoughts that are interfering with their concentration were their expectations, fear of making a mistake, not being perfect and a lack of confidence. Softball is similar to golf because patience is required while waiting for the action. There is a lot of time for the mind to wander. Golfers also experience overthinking when they are standing over the ball.

Unrelated thoughts cause the anxiety. If it becomes a habit, you will not even recognize it when it happens. If you do not deal with the anxiety, it will cause excessive worrying, disractions, and feelings of distress. It is important to control your thoughts in order to focus on your present shot.

Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.

Everything is a process. You need to enjoy the process of creating your shot or putt as much as you enjoy getting the results – that’s when progress really starts to happen.

More and more pro golfers are aware that their mental games are keeping them from achieving the success they desire. Phil Mickelson described the changes he made to win the PGA Championship last week at age 50. Lexi Thompson, an LPGA Pro since age 15 said he was changing her mental game from work to play, “I just realized that I needed to change my mindset. It was only hurting me. … The mental side was really getting to me. I was just taking it way too seriously and thinking that Lexi depended on my score.”

If you are looking for a way to enjoy your golf game more, using positive self-talk can help you. Negative self-talk can lead to a downward spiral where you lose confidence in your ability and make mistake after mistake.

What is self-talk?

Self-talk is the constant stream of thoughts that you have going on inside your head. Everyone has self-talk. We have positive as well as negative self-talk. During a round of golf, you will give yourself hundreds if not thousands of suggestions. You probably are not even aware of these thoughts because they are so familiar. If your self-talk is negative, it will affect the way you view life and your golf game.

Self-talk is the dialogue we use to communicate to ourselves. Whether positive or negative, self-talk affects your sense of self-worth, your self-esteem, and how you perceive and react to situations. In short, it literally affects everything in your life, mainly because your thoughts directly determine your actions. So, if your thoughts are positive, your actions will also be positive and vice versa.

Recognize your self-talk

Many golfers do not realize they are sabotaging their golf games with inner critical, judgmental, sarcastic, or negative thoughts. They let their minds wander and play the mental game of “what-if,” which are worrying thoughts such as:

* What if I flub my drive O.B. on the first hole?

* What if I get on the green and three-putt?

* What if I cannot get out of the sand bunker?

* What if I “lose my swing” when I am playing well?

If you find yourself thinking “what if” fear thoughts, change this negative kind of thinking to “so what” thoughts to bring yourself back into the present. Then, act as if you love everything about the game of golf. Act as if you are confident. Act as if you like challenges, and act as if you are playing like a champion. Act as if you are having fun no matter what happens. Happiness is not getting what you want. It is being happy with what you get.  You will be pleasantly surprised when your game turns around.

Your mind is full of sayings that are repeated over and over again on the golf course to sooth your wounded ego. It is time to become responsible for deleting the negative ones and replacing them with positive visions of what you do want to happen. Your imagination is the biggest tool in your mental toolbox. Use it constantly to create your dream of success. Always imagine playing at your peak potential that you have already seen at times.

Once you have the awareness that you create your internal world, you will realize that you can change it into productive thoughts. Your body learns what it is told to do. Learn to tell it what you want, not what you do not want. Control of your body is not accomplished by force. Control is accomplished by becoming relaxed, being positive, and visualizing what you intend to change. Activate your memory of the great shots you have played. You are the spirit that activates your body.

Use your mind to send correct messages to your body.

FYI  All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis will work because you are constantly conditioning your subconscious mind to react in a positive, constructive manner. In hypnosis you are working toward implementing and strengthening your own inner power and resources. This is just like any other training. The more you do it, the stronger it becomes. To train your brain to play your best golf, listen to Positive Mental Imagery golf self-hypnosis guided imagery CDs in the privacy of your own home, available at

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

If you aren’t able to maintain trust and belief in yourself on the golf course, email Joan at 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 on the golf course. 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.

This guidebook for transforming your life and golf game is available now

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf programs!

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