How Jason Day Copes With Frustration
Golf is a complex game, but golfers are tend to make it more complicated than need be.
Nerves, fear, over thinking, and frustration can cause golfers to lose their passion, patience, and ability to perform.
You probably have experienced some level of frustration during your golf career. Your inability to put the game into perspective may have even pushed you to contemplate quitting the sport.
Jason Day went through the same exact experience which almost caused him to retire from the sport early at the 2011 Masters tournament.
Day was fed up with the sport winning only one PGA tournament title and zero Majors in his first five years since turning pro.
In the three tournaments leading up to the 2011 Masters, Day finished tied 45th at the Cadillac Championship, tied for 51st at the Transitions Championship and missed the Shell Houston Open.
DAY: “As time went on, everyone would keep on asking me: ‘When are you going to win it?’ and ‘how are you going to win it?’ and all that stuff. That’s when I started missing stuff and making mistakes and mental errors.”
Day felt frustrated and demoralized as he was sliding downward in a never-ending spiral.
DAY: “[I] was just sitting there [before the start of the 2011 Masters], and I’m like: ‘I do not like the game right now. I’m just having a very, very hard time picking up the golf club.”
Day had completely lost his confidence which affected his tournament play, as well as his effort and focus in practice.
DAY: “You start getting frustrated out there, and then you don’t practice because you’re frustrated with how you’re playing. And it’s a downward spiral from there.”
Day decided he had nothing to lose because, after all, this 2011 Masters would be his last.
DAY: “[I] came to the conclusion of just going and saying this might be my last Masters ever, I may as well enjoy it.”
This nothing-to-lose attitude took the pressure off his performance and the results were his best as a pro. Day finished tied for second and it was the first time he had finished inside the top three at a Major championship.
If Day would have quit that week, he would have never achieved the No. 1 world ranking he has today. That is why it is very important to learn how to cope with frustration and impatience.
What can you learn from Day’s frustrating early experience?
- Focusing solely on results creates more pressure and impedes play.
- Trying too hard complicates matters. You will get better results if you keep it simple.
- You cannot will the ball into the hole. When you try to force shots, you will make more mistakes and mental errors.
- If you are not enjoying what you are doing, you will probably not do it well.
Top strategy for coping with frustration:
Play golf as if the results don’t matter. Minimize the importance of the tournament. Tell yourself, “This really doesn’t matter much in the big scheme of things.” Harder to do than say, I know.
When you take some of the pressure off yourself, it clears up the mental clutter, relaxes your body, and frees you up to play your best.
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