Here is something that I discovered for myself a long time ago.
My clients experience this too.
When I’m playing golf and the result becomes too important, my performance levels drop off.
Why does this happen though?
And what can we do to keep performing well
Breaking it down.
Take a putt for example.
When the result becomes too important our minds can become unbalanced. Thoughts of “ I can’t miss this” or “This has to go in” can move our attention away from what we are doing and towards the future result.
The consequence being that we do not pay enough attention to what we are doing.
We may go through the motions, outwardly my routine looks the same, but internally all that’s happening is that we are still reacting to the thoughts of “ I can’t miss this” or “This has to go in”.
Our attentional focus in the moment gets lost in our desire for the future.
We make the putt but we are looking for the result before we even finish the stroke. It often misses.
Transpose this onto the game as a whole.
” I need to play well today” or “ I can’t afford to play badly today” has us in a mindset that has already lost its balance.
We fear making a mistake and try too hard to be perfect.
We often play poorly.
To keep performing well we must acknowledge the thoughts as they arise, “ I can’t miss this” or “This has to go in” and then refuse to engage with them. Try not to add any energy to them and watch them pass.
Then take a different approach.
I wonder if I can hole this putt?
Get in your senses. See the line. Feel the putter head moving. Place your attention on something simple as you make your stroke and stay with it for the entire stroke.
Not technical thinking.
Curious non judgemental observation is better.
Stay connected, sensually. Not in your head.
Transpose this to the whole game.
Instead of ” I need to play well today” or “ I can’t afford to play badly today”
“I wonder how I will play today”
Accept that you may make mistakes. Don’t try too hard to be perfect. Keep things as simple as possible. Pay attention to any stressful thoughts and do your best not to engage with them.
Keep your attention in your senses as you swing the golf club. Not in your head thinking or instructing yourself.
Smile. You’re out playing golf.