Breaking Through Performance Slumps

Overcome the Slumps

Lewis’ Comeback In Golf

Are you currently in the middle of a performance slump? Do you ruminate about the causes of your slump and try to think your way out of it?  Over-thinking your slump feeds the beast, compounds the problem, stirs frustration, increases anxiety and creates self-doubt. First, to get out of your slump, you want to stop telling yourself that you are in a slump.

Stacy Lewis, 28, is an American professional golfer on the U.S. LPGA Tour. Lewis has won two major championships, the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship and the 2013 Women’s British Open. Lewis has been on the Tour for six years and has nine professional wins. In 2013, Lewis was ranked No. 1 in the Women’s World Golf Rankings for four weeks and, currently, is ranked No. 3.

Lewis extended her streak of top-10 finishes to 12 at the LPGA’s season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic without a tournament victory. Leading the event with two holes to go, Lewis ended up finishing second to Jessica Korda. Lewis lost the tournament on the 18th hole. It’s the fourth time in the last four months that Lewis has been beaten by a birdie or eagle at the last hole and has four second-place finishes in her last seven tournaments.

Some may say that Lewis is in a slump, but Lewis has a different perspective: “It’s very frustrating. I’ve had so many chances to win. It’s very frustrating, but to finish second a lot of weeks in a row, you’re not doing anything really wrong. That’s what I’m taking out of this, I’m doing a lot of stuff right. There are more events and there are bigger tournaments this summer, so I’m just going to take this momentum from here.”

Lewis started the day four shots off the lead but charged boldly. She made birdie at six of her first eight holes and closed with a 7-under-par 66. She hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation but took 30 putts, her highest total all week. Hitting 17 greens does not qualify as a slump in golf.

Lewis was able to extract the positives from her play instead of dwelling on the negatives and buying into the slump-talk: “Overall, it’s probably one of the best ball-striking days I’ve ever had. Whatever number I needed to hit, I hit it. I almost holed out on the first hole, hit it in there eight feet on the second hole. I hit good putts, they just didn’t cooperate. They seemed to lip out or kind of bobble at the end, but I kept hitting good shots and kept giving myself chances. That’s really all you can do.”

A lot of times what causes a performance slump is thinking you are in a slump. The key is balance: focusing on the positives while not overlooking areas for improvement.

Breaking Through Performance Slumps

  1. You should relax. You will perform better if you stay calm.
  2. You need to trust your abilities and your training.
  3. You must stop telling yourself that you are in a slump. Don’t over-think your performance.
  4. You need to focus on the present. Stop fearing the potential missed shot or reliving the past bad shot.
  5. You should give yourself credit for the things you are doing well.

Understand that all golfers, even the greatest who ever played the game, experience ups and downs in performance. It’s a natural part of golf. Be patient and push forward.

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