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  • Carol Alford

Anticipation


Here in England we are counting down the days to the glorious 29th March, when our beloved golf courses can reopen again following lockdown. Like so many of my friends I'm excited at the prospect of getting back out there and playing again. Chatting with them they have no expectations about how well they will play, in fact many have been joking about being able to remember how to hit a ball again. For them its the pure excitement of getting back out with friends to enjoy a sport they love. With this in mind I began considering how many will actually go out and be surprised at how well they played on the day? You see when you set off with no expectations, you have no preconceived ideas on how well you should play. With this emotional freedom you are able to relax and enjoy the game, simply because there is no pressure to perform. By giving yourself permission to just embrace the moment, you are able to play without any fear of failing. Now imagine recreating this every-time you go out to play in competition - wouldn't that be amazing? Well the good news is you can with the right mindset. It's all about having the right focus and being aware of how to create the right environment in which to have that focus. Sounds simple eh? Like everything new we attempt to do, it takes a little bit of practice to get the results we desire. This week's blog is to help you achieve this and you maybe surprised how straightforward it is to grasp. As you return to playing next week, I would like you to become mentally aware of how you feel. What do I mean by this? I would like you to become mindful on how your body, thoughts and emotions present themselves as you rock up to your golf club. Here are some questions to help you

  • How does this manifest itself?

  • What thoughts are rushing through you mind as you walk to the first tee?

  • How are your emotions? For example, do you feel happy, excited or nervous?

  • How does this emotion reveal itself and where in the body does it occur? For example is it butterflies in the tummy, or tingling sensation all over?

  • How does your body move? Is it quicker than normal or do you have a bounce in your step?

  • How are you holding your head? Is it up high in anticipation at meeting your golfing buddies again?

  • What type of language are you using? Is it animated, positive or simply relaxed?

  • Are you cracking jokes and having some fun?

Make a mental note of your emotions and body sensations, become fully aware of how you act and feel. We do this without giving it a second thought, but holds understanding what we do and and how we feel is key to help you unlock your true potential. If someone could secretly video you in a state of happiness/composure compared to when you are feeling nervous/pressured, you would see remarkable differences in your mannerisms and body language. But asking you to list them out now, without taking the time to notice these little nuances, may be a little challenging to do, which is why I'm asking you to become aware of them when you return to playing. I'm sure you've all seen players from a distance out on the course and been able to distinguish which ones are playing well by the way they are acting and behaving at the time. At my club as we sit on our patio that over looks the 18th hole and green, we can tell whose got a good card in their hand and who has had a bad round. You don't need to ask you can tell simply by their stance and demeanour. This technique is used frequently when coaching athletes to get help them become psyched to perform, We call it "getting your game face on" at BrainTrain4. When you access your game face you will also access a mixture of your thoughts, feelings and emotions, all of which are vital ingredients that make you feel confident and excited to play. When you think about them you should be able to recreate the exact actions and processes that make you feel ready to perform. Knowing your key ingredients will help you to focus your mind by pushing temporarily away any doubts, worries or anxieties. This will in turn also help you to create the right environment to perform. Ideally your game face needs to be a mixture of words or phrases - emotional words that recreate your steady mindset. Each word or phrase will be unique to you, its like part of your DNA, so don't try to copy from others, it just won't work. It needs to be your own script; words that will resonate with you. Don't rush it, take your time to identify the right ones, you'll know instinctively when you find one it will create a change in your mood and mindset. Once you've identified your magic ingredients write them down. Take a copy and place it in your scorecard holder so you can refer to them next time you're out playing. It will help remind you what you need to boost your performance. Here are some examples to get you thinking

  • Walk tall, head held high

  • Relax don't rush

  • Chatty and relaxed

  • Slow deep breathes

  • Follow pre-shot routine

  • Embrace the walk between shots

  • Let it go

  • Remain positive

  • Have fun

Ideally you will only need 3 or 4 to execute your game face. As you think of the words or phrases think about the images they conger up in your mind and how your mood changes. When you know your key motivators with a little bit of practice you will find you'll be able to recreate as when you need to. Give it a go and let me know how you get on, I'd genuinely would love to hear how your play goes.


Hope you found this blog interesting. If your would like more information on these techniques please contact me to arrange a session or visit our website and check out our other blogs, there's something in there for everyone.