Golf is in the mind

You often hear people say that golf is in the mind,which is true of any game.

If you have watched any golf tournaments ( particularly the Majors) you see players react differently over the last 9 holes. When Tiger Woods was playing his best,if he was leading after the third round he normally went onto win the tournament.


golf is in the mind


For others,the last round is more painful.At the 1996 Masters, Greg Norman had led all of the first 3 rounds.However,in the last round Nick Faldo overcame a six-stroke deficit to win the Masters five strokes ahead of Greg Norman.

It’s not just the professional who feel the pressure.For many of us,we experience the nerves at our local golf club when playing in a competition.Have you noticed that your heart beats faster as you are standing over that putt, or waiting to drive off the tee ?

Here are   of the things we can do to control our nerves :

1 Control your breathing-try breathing in slowly through your nose, hold that for 2-3 seconds and then exhale through your mouth slowly. Try this several times before you play,and repeat before every shot.You can also do it while you are waiting for your partners or opponents to play.

2 Visualize your shot-many sports people use visualization, and Jack Nicklaus was an enthusiastic advocate of this technique.As you stand on the tee,select a spot on the fairway and visualise your ball flying majestically towards the spot.You should try this on all shots including those into the green and also when putting.

Have you ever looked at a hazard and wonder why your ball inevitably ends there? This is because you are visualising it and the brain only sees the spot,it cannot differentiate between “go there” and “avoid this”. In future,do not look at the hazard,but instead concentrate on the fairway.

3 Forget your last shot-this really shows that golf is in the mind.

We have all done this-we play a bad shot,we get angry and we take this anger onto the next hole.Sometimes we let it get to us for several holes and suddenly our game has deteriorated.We really have to forget that last shot,take a deep breath and move on.

For some people,hypnosis works

4 Don’t think about your swing too much

Sometimes our playing partners take it upon themselves to give us free advice.You have just driven of and one of your partners tells you “I can see what you are doing wrong.” This may come as a surprise to you as you thought that was a good drive. You may be told :

Don’t swing so fast

Take the club back a bit further

Follow through more

There is lots of advice,but it may start you thinking too much about your swing.The result is that you are less natural and you find things have got considerably worse.Play your natural game on the course and make changes when you practise.

5 Believe in yourself– most of us can achieve more or play better golf if only we would start to believe in ourselves. If you watch or listen to all the great sports people they all have a lot of self-confidence,they want to improve and they want to win.A lot of these sports people have targetted being the best in the world from an early age.It was Henry Ford who said :

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing,you’re right.”

So if you think you are going to have a good round of golf,you have taken the right step.


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Sports psychology