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  • Carol Alford

Afraid of Making Mistakes?


Do you find yourself struggling in competition, afraid of making mistakes? Worrying about making a mistake, or trying to avoid making mistakes, will not help you to play at your best. Instead it causes you to focus on the negative and as a result you start playing defensively. When you play defensively you will try to take control of your movements, rather than playing intuitively. Trying to control or steer your movements will force you to become clumsy, resulting in more mistakes being made. This simply frustrates you more and so the vicious circle continues. Just because you missed a couple of short putts early on in the game to miss your par or birdie, doesn't mean you have to hold back on other chances. Remember pars and birdies can come at any time in the game. There is no rhyme or reason as to when they will occur, they can be at the start of the game, in the middle or at the end. Just because you missed some, doesn't mean you're going to miss them all. However if you focus on the fear of failing, your attention on the negative will force you to make more mistakes. So how can you combat this?

  • Bring some reality to the party - just because you made a bad move or played a bad shot, its doesn't mean you will continue to do so. Have confidence in your ability.

  • Develop a Shooter's Mindset - If I've missed a shot, I'm more likely to play my next one well

  • Play the numbers game - don't play protectively, continue to play aggressively, the bad shot was just one shot.

How can you let go of the mistake and move on? We know that if we continue to focus on the mistake we will play tentatively, trying to avoid the sheer embarrassment of making the same mistake again. This in turn hurts our confidence leading to further doubts in our abilities. Replaying the mistake in our minds prevents us from focusing in the moment. Dwelling on the mistake only hurts our confidence, causing us to question our choices. Simply follow these 3 steps to let go of the mistake;

  1. Take some time to consider which particular mistakes make you struggle the most. Think about the ones you tend to dwell on the most - write them down, the act of writing is therapeutic and helps you to let go of the emotion you've attached to it.

  2. Consider how to respond rather than react - When we react to a situation, it's with emotion and with mistakes this is never positive. When we react our body's natural defence is to get out of the situation as quick as possible, choosing this tack causes us to rush resulting in more mistakes being made. Instead think about how you could respond. When we respond we remove the emotion, allowing us time to think and run through our process, thereby staying in control of the situation. For example you could say to yourself "everyone makes mistakes, its ok".

  3. Move on let go of the mistake - Create your own moving on statement such as "Lets focus on the shot I'm about to play". Having a ready made response will help you to let go. Over time and with practice it becomes easier.

Trust in your abilities, don't be afraid of making mistakes its all part of the beutiful game.



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