How good do you believe you can become?
Are you an aspiring Tour player or college golfer? Perhaps you want to break 80 for the first time?
Whatever your long-term goal in golf is, you have to believe you can get there.
This is one of the first questions I ask a new student during my one on one mental game coaching sessions.
So what is “belief” and how does it help you achieve your goals?
A big part of how well you play and how far you go in the game is related to something mental golf coaches call “Self-Image”. As you might guess, this is a term used to describe how you see yourself. E.g. Do you see yourself as a confident player who can one day win a PGA Tour event or the Club Championship? You may have the ability to do it, but if you don’t see yourself as that caliber of player, you will have a hard time getting there. If this concept is new to you, I’m glad you’re reading this article.
I talked in my last article about how the conscious mind hands over control to the subconscious to control the movement needed during your swing. Well, your Self-Image determines how well your subconscious does in pulling off that movement. If you don’t believe you can hit the shot, or if you don’t believe you can win the tournament, your subconscious will have a hard time executing the movements necessary to achieve it.
How do you improve your Self-Image?
One thing I work on with my students is constant reminders of their goals. Let’s say your goal is to win a regional tournament which takes place at the end of season. I will advise them to write this goal out on a daily basis, in the present tense “I am the [Regional Tournament Name] Champion.” Upon doing this, you create an image in your mind of that event happening, which starts to imprint that upon your Self-Image. The more you do it, the more real it becomes and the more you increase your Self-Image.
After any round of golf, it’s imperative, that you look back at all the positives. Pick out the things that were good about your game and then actually recreate those great shots you hit in your mind. The idea here is that you reinforce the positive patterns, which makes them more likely to happen in the future. Once again, you improve your Self-Image. Those golfers who come off the course talking about everything that they did badly are reinforcing the negatives and making it more likely they will happen again. If you ever listen to great players in their post round interviews, they will always highlight the positives and quickly change the subject if someone asks them about anything negative.
I hope this article gets you thinking about the importance of Self-Image in achieving your goals. Take a little time each day to write and think about your future goals and focus on the positives about the round you just played. It will pay off further down the road!
As always, I would be happy to receive your feedback and/or questions.
Photo courtesy of San Francisco Foghorn