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  • Writer's pictureCarol Alford

Accentuate the Positive

This week I wanted to talk about accentuating the positive. To talk about developing the mental skills to help you play at your best. To get good results, strong mental skills, just like your swing technique need to be practiced and grooved. I frequently hear players discussing their game in the clubhouse or more recently on the patio focusing on what went wrong. Even if they played better than their handicap they will still fixate on the negative aspects, talking about the bad shots. I happened to over hear a conversation recently, where the player was moaning about a double bogey and how poor his chipping had been that day. Had I not looked at his card, I would have been mistaken in thinking he had played badly since he had forgotten to mention he had also made 4 birdies. So often we emphasise the negative, focusing on the errors made and forget the positive play. We are in fact our own worst critics, looking through a filter and only seeing the negatives. Even when a shot ends up next to the pin, we will focus on how it was mis-hit it and we managed to get away with it. Its as if we can't accept the shot didn't work out as we planned and so we have to berate ourselves to feel better about the shot Breaking news folks - it takes practice and patience to break habits like negative self-talk. How can I achieve this? We first need to become aware of our negative self-talk. To pay attention to what we say about each shot or each round. When you carry out this exercise can you maybe surprised to find out how often you make negative comments. For so many golfers its the norm, the critical remarks are common place and occur without any acknowledgement. Just like driving to a destination getting out of the car and not thinking about the journey you've just made, it happens subconsciously. To raise your awareness place a handful of tees in a pocket you don't normally use. Each time you find yourself saying something negative take one out and place into another pocket, then count up how many tees have been placed in that pocket at the end of your game. To start you may have to tell your buddies about this exercise, so that they can help by telling you when your saying negative things, as you maybe blissfully unaware. As your awareness kicks in you can progress to the next stage whereby you search for something to say that's positive to counteract the habit of complaining. If you find a positive, the tee can go back to the first pocket and will not count as a negative. The aim is to reduce the number of tees in the second pocket. To develop this further begin to let go of the errors and dwell on your successes. Take time to appreciate a good shot as it flies towards the target and settles where you intended it to. This will imprint a positive image in your mind and build your confidence. After each round spend a few minutes reviewing the good shots and decisions made. Finally let go of complaining when a shot turns out better than you expected, feeling bad about the result sends negative messages to your body. Instead focus on the process and feel good about the result (regardless of how it was achieved). Focus on the feeling of hitting a great shot and you will find yourself facing this situation more frequently Give it a go this weekend and let me know how you get on. If your would like more information on these techniques please contact me to arrange a session

Hope you found this blog interesting, if you would like to learn more about mental toughness please visit our website and get in touch. Drop me an email and let me know what you think, I would love to hear from you. Visit our website and check out our other blogs, there's something in there for everyone.


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