The lovely thing about playing golf is you have lots of time between shots to think. The bad thing about playing you have lots of time between shots to think.
So many golfers find it hard to play golf because they overthink their game. They struggle having lots of time to think in between shots and whilst stood over a shot, compared to sports such as squash, tennis or hockey where you react to the ball coming at you without thinking. The picture above is a well known sketch that shows some of the thoughts that race through a golfer's mind - no surprise then to find performance is not at its best!
When our thoughts go into overdrive, our attention is not where we need it to be, which inevitably results in poor performance. Let me give you a few examples to explain this more clearly
Having negative thoughts - You've probably heard people talking about negative thoughts they had before striking the ball. It might be "last time I played this ball it went into the lake". Typically after thinking about this they then go and place another ball into the lake, replicating the thought that they had just had. The reality is having that negative thought has caused a reaction, making them become tense. If our muscles are tense we will not swing with ease.
Thinking about your score - I hear lots of players talking about this one. "I made the mistake of fixating on my score. I knew that I needed to par the next few holes to remain within a chance of being in my buffer or better". As with the first example it wasn't the score that caused you to play badly it was your reaction to the score which caused tension
Losing focus - A common one is "I lost focus on the back 9". Losing focus can happen anytime throughout your game, it typically happens after 8 holes with the majority of players. Not knowing how to deal with it results in players trying to steer the shots, causing tension in the swing.
So how do we overcome overthinking? The secret is in bringing your attention to where it needs to be and to train ourselves not to react to the situation. This can be learnt using mental toughness strategies, to train your mind to accept the thought without resistance, bringing you back to the present moment. If you would like to learn how to unlock your true potential with these strategies click here to book a session. Start your season as you mean to carry on
If you would like to learn more about the mental side of the game please get in touch or check out our other blogs, there's something in here for everyone.