Anyone who has watched Jon Rahm play will tell you that he’s an emotional player. In any given round, you’ll see a whole array of emotions on display, from elation and fist pumps, to f-bombs and club slamming.
Jon Rahm is clearly an unbelievable talent. The Ben Hogan college player of the year 2 years in a row, and with 2 wins in his rookie year on tour, he’s clearly got the potential to become one of the greats.
But, unfortunately, what is also starting to follow him around is his explosive temper and angry outbursts.
We saw a few of them last weekend at the WM Phoenix Open…
We’ve all played with club slammers, and perhaps you too, can feel yourself getting frustrated after bad shots and wanting to vent.
The question is, does getting angry and venting do us any good? John Rahm says:
“Every time I try to keep it to myself, just imagine a Coca-Cola bottle. If you shake it once, then it comes down. But once you open it, it’s a complete mess, and that’s what happens if I try to keep it down. If I try to keep it down, at some point, I’m going to miss a shot that’s not that bad, and I’m going to lose it. Sometimes, I need to get mad.” (Source Golf Channel)
But Rahm knows there’s a limit on how mad he can get before it starts affecting his performance (not to mention it being embarrassing). He’s working with his mental coach Joseba del Carmen to tame his temper, and work on his anger management for golf (according to The Golf Channel).
Your optimal performance state
John Rahm is obviously a very intense player. It’s part of who he is and it’s that intensity that helps bring out the best in him on the course. It’s his “optimal performance state”.
Finding out your optimal performance state (and learning how to keep yourself there) is a key part of setting yourself up for success. Physiologically speaking, it’s keeping adrenaline and cortisol at the right levels.
Ask yourself this, when you’re playing your best, are you more intense or relaxed? Give yourself a number out of 10 (1 being very relaxed to 10 being very amped up).
Jon Rahm’s is obviously on the higher end of that scale, but it’s important to know what your optimal performance state is.
How can we do better at anger management for golf?
After seeing some of the highlights of last weekend’s Phoenix Open, Jon Rahm will probably be working on controlling his temper. High intensity play is one thing, but losing control and getting stressed is another. Getting too stressed will take his adrenaline and cortisol levels too high which will create tension in his muscles and inhibit cognitive function. So how will he do this?
- A more controlled (and less reactive) post shot routine. Choosing your responses to negative events is always better than reacting.
- Reset his expectations. Not even the best players in the world can hit every shot perfectly. Jon needs to accept this and give himself a certain allowance of bad shots per round. He also needs to accept that it’s not only him that experiences negative outcomes during his rounds, but all players do.
- Getting into the habit of being more self-compassionate. Self-compassion is a great strategy to be more accepting and deal with the emotions associated with negative events.
- Being more mindful. Many of the players I work with are practicing mindfulness and see the benefits. Being able to notice how you feel without having to act upon it is a great way to remain in control of your emotions.
Perhaps you find yourself needing to raise your intensity level to get into your optimal performance state?
Ways to get yourself more pumped up for golf
- Music: Jon Rahm listens to Eminem during his pre round warm-up, to get him in the mood to play. “They’re very motivational”, he said. “Most of them are about not giving up and fighting your way through. And in my case it gets me to the mental state that I need to be to play golf.”
- Self talk: saying certain trigger or “keywords” to yourself
- Visualization: spend a few minutes imagining the intensity of you in competitive situations that you will be in or you’ve been in before
- More intense breathing
- Body language: more intensity to your walk and posture
Try these mental game techniques to get you in your optimal performance state more often, so you see more great shots and lower scores.