In golf at any level, there are many ways that you can squeeze extra shots out of your round, that have nothing to do with how technically sound your swing is. In fact, teaching those things is how I make a living 😉
I wrote an article recently about some of the keys to mental toughness in golf, and body language is high on the list. If you watch anyone at the top of their field, whether it be sports, business or politics, you’ll notice they have very strong body language. And it’s probably more intentional than you think…
Why does body language matter?
Amy Cuddy, Social psychologist and researcher at Harvard Business School gave a Ted Talk about “How Body Language Shapes Who You Are” and it’s been the most viewed Ted Talk (over 8 million views) on YouTube. I’ve included a link to it at the end of the article.
Cuddy explains that our body language not only affects how people see us, but it also affects how our minds perceive us.
Studies (at Harvard) have shown that your posture affects your hormone levels, which can have a direct affect on your mood. When we’re stressed and anxious, we have more of a hormone called Cortisol in our bodies and when we’re feeling confident and assertive, we have higher levels of Testosterone.
A study in the Journal of Psychological Science by Sue Shellenbarger, concluded that people who practice “Power Poses” for even just 2 mins per day had higher levels of Testosterone and lower levels of Cortisol, than those that didn’t. They appeared more confident, and were more likely to accept risk.
The issue for a lot of us today is that we’re becoming very used to looking down at our Smartphones as we’re walking or sitting, and that’s affecting our normal posture and subsequently our mood and stress levels. Cuddy calls this the “text-neck” or “I-hunch”. She says that the posture we adopt when walking and looking down at our phones mimics the posture of being clinically depressed.
Now back to golf…
How body language improves golf confidence
If you get a chance to watch the likes of Rory, Rickie and Bubba on the TV this weekend, notice their body language. Tour players know what their doing when it comes to the mental game of golf – you won’t see any of them hunched over, looking down at the ground, as they know that would affect their confidence (their sports psychologists would be looking out for it too). Instead, you’ll notice that most of them are walking with their shoulders back and chest out, which makes them feel more in control and dominant.
Facial expressions can do the same – smiling alone can make you feel happier.
Next time you head to the course (and at any time really), make “strong body Language”, one of your process goals for the round and it (at least) should mean that you get a little less frustrated with misses and be able to handle pressure situations better.
Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes…
Photo by Galatians Design