Quiet Your Mental Chatter And Trust Your Game
Golfers can easily buy into the notion that negative history will repeat over and over again.
This is called an over generalization:
Your mental script from the past dictates your performance today.
However, just because you missed critical shots in the past doesn’t mean you will continue to do the same today.
Rod Pampling won the 2016 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, his first PGA Tour victory in ten years. Pampling lost his PGA Tour card after the 2013 season and spent two years on the Web.com Tour to earn his PGA Tour card back.
With two holes remaining in the Shriners Open, Pampling found himself in a tie with Lucas Glover.
Imagine the negative mental chatter that could run through your mind while you were in the midst of a drought like that!
All that chatter can displace your focus and just add to the pressure of the moment. This can lead many golfers to choke.
Playing the negative tape in your head and listening to the negative script create overwhelming anxiety, which makes your body tight and tense.
It’s a lot harder to perform well when you trap yourself in the mental script of past failure and negativity.
Pampling was able to stay focused even when he pushed his drive well into the rough on the 16th hole. Pampling stayed positive and saved par to stay tied.
Pampling finished strong to secure the victory at 20-under 264, helped by his mental game and not buying into the past negative chatter and staying calm down the stretch.
PAMPLING: “I was positive the whole way… I just made sure I slowed myself down and looked around at the crowd and relaxed. I didn’t worry about the putt [on 18]. I wasn’t looking at whatever. I was just walking, just slowing myself down… I just trusted what I’d been working on with my putting… Just trust yourself. Just get back to like when you were a kid. That’s what we were trying to do, just look at it, feel it, and [hit it].”
It all sounds very Rotella-like. But at some point, you have to make the decision to turn your game round and go forward today.
When you hang on to negative images of missed shots from the past, you’ll see every new missed shot or bad round of golf as evidence of your lack of ability.
Pampling’s mindset was about quieting his mind and trusting what he’s working on.
Pampling kept his mind occupied by:
–Immersing himself in the present
–Taking in the scenery as he walked from hole to hole
–Thinking about the reasons he enjoyed the game of golf as a child
—Focusing on the present shot
All this is easier said than done, but with practice you can improve your mental game for more consistent performance.
Strategy for beating your past:
Past poor rounds can lead your mind to catastrophize and generalize to what you are doing in the present.
Worst-case scenario thinking can be an insurmountable obstacle. Let go of the past, and grab momentum today!
Focus on your talents and strengths in the game instead of the past misses.
You must first win the internal battle to be more successful and have more fun at the game you love.
Uncover some of my mental game strategies for golf here!
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