The Tokyo Olympic Games with 339 events, will begin in a couple of weeks on July 23rd after a year’s delay due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is a good time to learn from these world-class athletes about how they develop their self-confidence and body confidence to perform in front of millions of viewers.
Golf has only been part of the Olympics three times: in 1900, 1904, and then in the 2016 Summer Olympics when it was reinstated. This year in Tokyo the men’s stroke play will begin on July 28th and the women’s stroke play will begin on August 3rd.. To refresh your memory, in 2016, Justin Rose of Great Britain and Inbee Park of South Korea won the individual gold medals at the new Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There were no team medals awarded.
There is such a high level of competition in the Olympics, we watch in amazement as the athletes perform their superhuman feats of athleticism under conditions of external noise, internal fear thoughts, distractions, pressure and anxiety. These athletes have trained their minds to tune out these conditions and immerse themselves entirely in the routines that they have practiced over and over, physically and mentally.
For the past 29 years I have been helping golfers and other performers learn how to access their peak performances through an understanding and awareness of Self. The mental game of golf is about being stronger mentally by changing your beliefs of lack and limitation and changing the internal judgments that came from someone else’s beliefs and values. When you have the self-esteem to believe in yourself and your abilities, there is no internal struggle, and you can allow yourself to play “in the zone.”
What is the Zone State?
When a golfer is in the right mental state, they can access their peak performance throughout the round. They can feel as if they are in another world and someone else is swinging the golf club for them. They can feel as if they are in a trance, in an altered state of awareness called “the flow” or “the zone.”
In this state, the golfer can experience feelings of total calm and peace (no fear); ease and effortlessness in swinging; a heightened sense of intuition; ease of movement; total enjoyment; weightlessness; a sense of euphoria; increased power; intensified concentration (no indecision or distractions); mental clarity (seeing a line on the green or a line to the target); and being in complete control. Golfers “in the zone” typically play with more accuracy due to an increased sense of feel and awareness. They hit the ball longer and shoot lower scores indicative of their peak potential.
To gain control you have to let go of control
When you are “in the zone” you do not worry about the results or the thoughts you have about yourself. You allow the feeling process to continue without effort instead of trying to control your shots. That is when golf becomes fun. When you are “in the zone” your mind is relaxed, free of tension, and absorbed in creating your shot. When you give up conscious control of trying to make things happen, your peak performances manifest.
Being “in the zone” is when you have let go of all the restrictions imposed by conscious thought and you have created a heightened state of effortless and unwavering concentration, calm, and confidence. It is when your brain and body are in such harmony before you swing that they act as one, and the swing occurs without conscious effort or thought. Golf is different from other sports where we react without time to think. In golf, as the ball waits for us, we can spend too much time in extraneous confusing thoughts.
The zone state or flow state is when a golfer is totally focused and has full involvement and enjoyment in the process of playing the game of golf. Your energy then flows in the direction of your potential. This is what it means to be centered, in the moment, or in the present. You are completely engrossed and giving all your attention to the task at hand. Self-judgment is gone. Your emotions are positive, energized, and aligned with the process of shot making. There is no awareness of anything except the creation of the present shot.
Achieving this higher state of consciousness is how the Olympic athletes can perform seemingly impossible feats that seem too difficult to achieve. The zone/flow state is like being in a meditation of action and awareness.
Use Mental Imagery for Increased Flow
Visualization is a psychological tool that teaches athletes to focus on every aspect of their performance rather than on winning. It is a process of watching themselves experience each nuance of their performance in their minds.
Another term for visualization is mental rehearsal or mental imagery where your inner mind uses all your senses to create the event that you desire.
The first ingredient to become more consistent in your golf game, is perfect practice. Practice doesn’t make perfect, only perfect practice does. The best place to practice is in your imagination, mentally rehearsing perfection repeatedly, creating a habit. Once you have visualized doing something, it is already done except for the physical execution. With mental imagery athletes not only imagine/visualize, but they also truly feel themselves playing the game.
In 1964 Maxwell Malte, the author of Psycho-Cybernetics discovered that your nervous system cannot tell the difference between an imagined and a real experience. Scientists have found that mentally rehearsing your golf swing will improve your swing because your brain is creating stronger neural patterns telling your muscles how to move.
At night or in the morning when you are half-awake is the best time to practice your golf swing/game. Train your brain for success and increase your states of flow by rehearsing what you want to happen that day. In your mind is the only place you can practice perfectly. Program your mind. All thought originates in the mind. You are your mind, and you are your golf swing.
If you have trouble visualizing or mentally rehearsing what you desire in your golf game, eight mental golf guided imagery CDs are available at www.pmi4.com/cart.
Moving into “the zone state” is your overall goal
The process to allow movement into the zone state of awareness is to:
- Have a positive attitude.
- Trust your intuition & decisions.
- Relax your body and mind by deep breathing.
- Let go of mental interference
- Focus on the task at hand.
- Use imagery to program your shot.
- Be totally absorbed in your pre-shot routine.
- Enjoy the process of feeling.
For further information about how to achieve these mental keys, go to www.pmi4.com and link on the monthly Archived Newsletters.
Play “in the zone” with Joan
Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances
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