I wish I had a pound for every person who tells me, mental toughness is all about positive thinking. To those of you who believe this is the case, then sorry I'm about to burst your bubble! Here's the reality, if you try to think positive thoughts, you will find yourself becoming tense and more frustrated, as life is not like that - S*@t happens.
Now don't get me wrong, using self-talk and visualisation in a positive way will help you to perform at your best. But also accepting that there will be tough times, in whatever you chose to do, will also help you to prepare. and help form a vital mindset for your game.
Reality check - you are not always going to shoot great scores. You will find some technical changes difficult to make. You will be subjected to extreme playing conditions, that you can't control. And at times you will be thrashed by the opposition. Your handicap will plateau or worse still increase.
Just like life, golf has its ups and downs and its all part of the learning process. Actually embracing those negative thoughts will improve your performance. Acknowledging that things can go wrong and preparing for them can in fact help your game. Learning how to navigate the roadblocks and develop your skills.
I've talked previously about the highly decorated Olympic swimmer Micheal Phelps. As part of his training, he would consider all the things that could go wrong. This strategy proved to be highly beneficial and saved him from potential failure. During the Olympic Games his goggles leaked water, but he was able to maintain control and win the gold, due to incorporating this scenario into his preparation for the race.
So take a few minutes and think about the negatives in your game. How could you take these negative thoughts and incorporate them into your practice?
Here's an example, to get you started;
Don't hit it into the trees - you have this negative thought, because you fear you will lose a shot having to get the ball back into play. Instead take this negative thought and develop the shot required to punch the ball out. Developing this skill will keep you in the game and remove the fear factor of this shot.
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.