You’ll learn a lot from this exercise.
Deep down, I’m sure you’re aware that your mental state has a big impact on your performance i.e. where you put your focus influences how well you play. Most of us tend to equate poor performance with poor mechanics, but ironically it’s your mental game that determines how good your mechanics are during any round.
After each round of golf, I’d like you to ask yourself some “quality’’ questions about your round, which we can use to shape future performance.
Famous life coach and motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, says “Questions provide the key to unlocking our unlimited potential…Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”
Instead of thinking, “I played well because my swing was great” or “I played badly because my swing was off”, let’s ask some quality questions and dig a little deeper into the real cause of a good or bad performance.
I’d like you to record your answers on what I call a “Mental Game Scorecard”.
Being able to properly evaluate your mental game of golf is just as important as recording your fairways/greens/putts, which most golfers already record.
Let’s say you just played a great round of golf. What can you attribute that to? Do you normally just chalk it up to being “on” that day, or can we actually pick out things that you can use to recreate good performance in the future?
Your success needs to be studied, and no doubt a lot of it will be down to your mental state. This is why your mental game scorecard and, even better, your mental game journal is important. We need to identify and repeat those things you did well. In the same way, if it was a bad round, what did you do that could have caused it? You’ll find this out, simply by asking quality questions.
Next time you play, I’d like you to grade each of these parts of your game out of 10, which will give you a possible score of 50.
How well did you stick to your process?
Process should always be your goal before every round. If you’ve picked up a copy of my Mental Game Mastery Blue-print, you’ll know that setting (written) process goals is a far better objective than going out there to shoot a good score. Set yourself 3-4 things to do before each shot and if you achieve them during every shot during a hole, you get one point (the target is 18 points).
How well did you respond to negativity?
Think about how well you responded to poor shots or a double bogey. Do you think your frustration could have followed through into the next shot or were you able to nip it in the bud?
How well did you visualize each shot?
No matter what level of player you are, getting an image of each shot can make a huge difference in the execution. This transfers the thinking from left to right brain, which is key to being free of technical thoughts and not impeding movement.
How well did you switch off in between shots?
During each round, try to get a sense of where your focus was in between shots. Were you thinking about anything that could have led to tension in your next shot? The best thing you can do is learn how to switch off your golf brain and relax – no thoughts of your performance.
How well did you avoid thinking about mechanics?
Being tension free and having a good rhythm is far better for your game than giving yourself a lesson during your swing. To get into your “flow state”, your focus needs to be external, not internal. When you do this, the brain and body are communicating effectively and the swing becomes fluid. If you’re getting instructions from your “inner chimp”, your movement and execution will suffer.
If you can ask yourself these questions after every round, you’ll gain more awareness when you’re on the course and ensure your focus is in the right place to give yourself the best chance of lower scores.