How to improve your mental golf game

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 17, 2019 16:28

Having proficient mental skills can lead to improvement in golf, whether you are an elite player or just an occasional golfer. Helena Bailey, a professional golf performance coach, shares her tips on improving your mental game.

Victoria Lovelady. Credit: Tristan Jones/LET

Refined vision 

Think about what you would like to achieve in the time when you play golf. Playing with people that have mutual goals can motivate and encourage you to improve, resulting in better competition performances. As you have the same purpose as your peers, your golfing days can become more efficiently used. 

So Yeon Ryu. Credit: Tristan Jones

Measurable voals 

Short and long term goals are essential to keep your mind focussed on the game. Structuring your practice and following a plan and help you feel as though you are making progress.  Having a target to work towards at each session can make the game feel more purposeful.

For example, be reaching a 15 handicap in eight months; improve the accuracy of shots; or win a county championship. Having a mixture of goals can be beneficial for your mind as you are aware of what your aims are and knowing what to expect from a training session can help reduce stress and anxiety. As a result of this, goals can allow you to focus on self control, concentration and commitment. Additionally, having goals can encourage drive and motivation. 

Olivia Cowan. Credit: Tristan Jones

Have a routine 

A consistent routine can help to keep your mind on the game. Ensure you are focused at all times as this can help with nerves before competitions and enable you to play at your highest quality. Also, try and maintain positive thoughts to keep your mental state strong. 

Noemi Jimenez Martin. Credit: Tristan Jones

Keep an eye on where the ball is going to go 

Make sure you picture where you would like the ball to land. Maintaining an optimistic mindset, even if the first shot doesn’t go as well as you thought, is essential for a golfer to excel. Keep believing in yourself and you will succeed. Be your own biggest fan; this can be the push you need to play at your best. A negative mind set only brings negative consequences such as doubt, fear and concern so find the best way to erase these thoughts. You are more likely to fail if you are allowing pessimistic thoughts to take over. There are no negative consequences when having an optimistic mindset.

Emily Kristine Pedersen. Credit: Tristan Jones

Time to focus on the dimple

It’s that time when you’re about to take your shot and the nerves start to kick in. Do not let the nerves come over you, focus on the dimple of the ball. It is normally at this moment the head can become noisy and distracted, but remember to breathe deeply to help you remain focussed.

Lynn Carlsson. Credit: Tristan Jones

Take time to relax 

Between shots, try to relax and talk to your peers about something unrelated to golf. When playing against fierce competition, it can make you feel more at ease if you keep yourself occupied by light conversation. If you find it difficult to do this, you could try to count the steps you are taking. 

Tonje Daffinrud. Credit: Tristan Jones

Statements are key

Keep yourself in the game by using motivational and constructive statements that will help you concentrate on your skills. Boost your confidence by using statements like ‘you can do it’. This will help you find inner motivation and stamina throughout the game. Selftalk can be the perfect uplift you need to perform at your best. For example ‘stay focussed’, ‘focus on the hole’, ‘watch the front of the ball’. All elite sportsmen talk to themselves in order to keep their mind in the game; make sure when you do, you are saying something motivational and helpful. 

Carly Booth. Credit: Tristan Jones

Bad shots – let them go! 

It is natural that everyone will go through bad moments at some point during their golf games, however, the way you decide to handle these moments will determine what sort of player you are. If something does go wrong, allow 30 seconds for yourself to feel disappointed and then rise to a more positive attitude and determination. 

Silvia Banon. Credit: Tristan Jones

Hold it lightly

Unless you see golf as a lifelong career, keep your goals in perspective and always refer back to the reason you are playing. Remember your mental state and your improvement go hand in hand. 

Following the above tips will help all golf players, from amateur to elite, to ensure a strong mental game. You will be improving your golf game in no time! 

Elina Nummenpaa. Credit: Tristan Jones

Helena Bailey MA, MBA, CPPC, who is certified in golf psychology, holds a TPI level 1, and is a crossfit level 2 coach, is the founder of Head Smart Golf, a performance mindset coaching company designed to help golf players to overcome both nerves and negative self talk. For more information visit www.headsmartgolf.com

 

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 17, 2019 16:28
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