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  • Writer's pictureCarol Alford

Why should I use mental toughness training?

I often get asked what is Mental Toughness Training by people I meet when I'm out and about. I'm often confronted with responses such as, it must be expensive or it's only required when athletes/players are struggling with their game. Well contrary to popular belief, it's not expensive and should form part of your training regime, just like your swing mechanics and fitness programs. Rather than waiting for a problem to be solved that's wrecking your game, begin your training program to incorporate mental toughness skills into the mix. At the end of the day, its going to be your mental toughness that you're going to rely on, to get you out of trouble when the pressure is on. Sadly we have seen more frequently in the news how elite athletes are struggling with the mental pressures to perform, Simone Biles the USA Gymnast, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams are just a few names to mention and most recently the promising teenage tennis player Emma Raducanu who was forced to pull out of Wimbledon due to being ill equipped to deal with the pressure. Thankfully she got the help she needed and came back stronger to take the US Open by storm. However, it's not just elite performers that struggle, it can impact any level and any age in sport, that's why as a junior organiser at my local golf club, I'm keen to integrate mental training into our juniors program of development, to equip them with the skills to compete without fear of failing. For many of my readers out there mental toughness training would help your game too. Here are just a few reasons why you should take it on board, to help you to :-

  • Perform better in practice AND in competition

  • Perform without fear of making mistakes

  • Prevent you getting easily frustrated with silly mistakes

  • Loosen up and play intuitively, rather than forcing a result

  • Improve consistency in your performance

  • Banish the nerves and relish the excitement of competing

Mental Toughness training can be undertaken in the comfort of your own home and only requires access to the internet for the coaching sessions. I work with clients all over the world. Since the pandemic I have moved all my coaching to online using Zoom or Skype, which has not been to the detriment of my existing clients. We are still getting outstanding results and many have benefited from some group sessions, sharing their experiences along the way. Each session lasts an hour and my clients have access to me, to ask questions or check-in between sessions. Many are surprised to find that it costs no more that your professional PGA coaching sessions. Here are a few typical themes to give you a flavour of what can come up in sessions;

  • How to stay focused

  • How to let go of mistakes/anger

  • How to get rid of the Yips

  • How to deal with nerves or playing under pressure

  • How to improve confidence

  • How to build resilience

Hopefully you now have a greater understanding about Mental Toughness Training and what it can offer. If you would like to learn how to keep your head under stress and stay strong in your self-belief whilst making your motivation work for you and maintaining focus on things that matter when competing then please get in touch to learn more.

I'll leave the last words to Michael Johnson - "if there is one thing that will really take you to another level of performance - to the plateau where your victories are measured in a blink of milliseconds - it might be the ability to embrace pressure, to understand it, to draw it in, to make it your own, and use it to your advantage... We've been trained to think of pressure as the enemy, the unfair burden that holds us down...Pressure is nothing more than the shadow of great opportunity"


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