Does anyone know some drills to become more mentally tough. I am set up
for several tournaments and want to improve my mental toughness. Thanx
> Does anyone know some drills to become more mentally tough. I am set up
> for several tournaments and want to improve my mental toughness. Thanx
> in advance.
There are many ways to become mentally tough. Being "mentally tough" is
really just doing the things necessary that allow you to focus completely
on the task at hand such as hitting the ball or the putt. For most pros,
that means having a simple routine to follow that focuses his/her attention
on the task at hand rather than the CONSEQUENCES of the task (ie. "What
happens if I don't hit this shot well?"). For example, have you ever
noticed while at the range you seem to hit the ball well, but out on the
course in front of peers or friends when it counts, you play brutal? Also,
have you noticed that at the range you might be more focused on the task of
hitting the ball rather than the result? You think more about, "What do I
have to do to hit the ball well?" rather than, "I hope I do not hit a
slice. Everyone will think I'm a hacker if I do." The two different thought
processes affect you in different ways. The key is to take the
task-oriented, range focus to the course so that the result-oriented
thoughts are never get a chance to enter your focus. Pros do this through a
good pre-shot routine.
Most high level athletes, whether it be Donavan Bailey, Michael Jordan,
Wayne Gretzky, or Roger Clemens have a routine that includes visualisation,
self-talk, and a pattern of behaviour to get them focused on what they have
to do. In golf, you will see pros throughout the round stick to a pre-shot
routine. Even when they lose concentration, you will see them put the club
back in the bag and start over again. They usually have a pre-shot routine
and a separate pre-putt routine. A typical routine might include:
1) standing behind the ball and imagining the shot flight and the result
(ball close to pin or in the hole)
2) imagine the swing motion to produce the shot (some pros like to remember
an instance where they hit a similar successful shot in the past)
3) self-talk like, "You can hit this shot. You're a good player."
4) swing key thought like, "Tempo" or "Make a full coil"
5) pattern of behaviour (stand behind ball, sight target, walk to ball with
club in left hand etc.)
6) hit shot
Now, if you do this at the range when practicing, it will become more
automatic so that you can do it on the course without much thinking about
it. If you can do it consistently, then the routine takes the place of the
doubting thoughts, thoughts about poor results, and thoughts about bunkers,
water etc. Now, you focus on the task, like you do on the range, and your
focus is on what you must do to hit the ball rather than what happens if
you hit it poorly. A good pre-shot routine prevents you from thinking about
negative thoughts, and thoughts that make you nervous, resulting in a poor
effort and poor result.
You can bet Mark Wiebe this past weekend was perhaps thinking about the
money, the invites to majors, what would happen if he didn't par a hole, or
he was thinking about winning rather than about what he HAD TO DO TO WIN.
At that level, *** is not cuased by a lack of concentration; it is
caused by concentration on the wrong things.
Anyhow, a pre-shot routine can involve a number of different combinations
of visualisations and self-talk thoughts. You just have to find what works
best for you. What you might want to do is just try to remember what you
were thinking about, or not thinking about, when you played your best golf.
How did you behave, what were you concentrating on, what were your
thoughts? You will likely find what you need in these past experiences
because you know they have worked.
If you have any questions, contact me personally. I studied sport psych in
the process of obtaining my BA in psych, so I consider myself quite
knowledgeable about the subject.
F. Blaine***son, B.A.
Pro 3 Golf Instruction
Kelowna BC Canada
"Each individual is a universe in a small package." - Jane Roberts
|> Does anyone know some drills to become more mentally tough. I am set up
|> for several tournaments and want to improve my mental toughness. Thanx
|> in advance.
| I would like to know the answer to that question as well. Tiger Woods,
|IMHO, is one of the most mentally tough people on tour. But he can thank
|his father for that. Also the training was started at a very young age.
|At my age (30) I don't think it is something that can be tought. I think
|I can learn though just by playing lots of tournaments. When you get use
|to the pressure it won't bother you.
| Great question though and I will be following this thread closely.
|Hopefully, I'll learn something.
Here's two cents from a novice at golf (and an intermediate at life): If
pressure situations get you wound up, Zen philosophy has a lot of good ideas.
The movie "Three Wishes" has a simplistic explanation of breathing and focus
applied to sports, and what it can do for performance.
If they've even heard of Zen, most people don't realize that it is a
philosophy of living, not a religion. It's more about finding out who you are
and learning to be content in all circumstances than about exploring outside
yourself. But the result of that inner exploration has some profound
application to external results at difficult things (like golf).
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has some good ideas in it about
relaxation. I thought Zen and the Art of Archery was far better -- and more
applicable to golf. In the archery book, one of the things a Zen master did
was shoot arrows at a "prayer target", hitting the bulls-eye every time. He
then repeated the exercise blindfolded -- still hitting the bulls-eye every
time. I'd really like to see how a Zen master would do at golf, although I
don't think score would be kept.
I would say that the most important thing to do to develop mental toughness is
to eliminate the differences in your mind between playing in a tournament and
playing by yourself. That way, you can be relaxed and focused for every shot.
Never worry about the leader board -- there is no leader board. Never think
about the last shot -- this is the only shot you will take today. Never think
about the players watching, or the spectators, or the cameras -- you are all
alone, just you and the club and the ball making an organic whole, a thing of
beauty all alone in the universe.
One of the early women in professional golf was getting ready to sink a
12-foot putt to win a match, just as a steam locomotive was going up a grade
about 50 feet away. Instead of waiting until the clamor was over, she putted
right as the train was opposite her -- and dropped the putt. Most people had
their hands over their ears. When asked later why she didn't wait until the
train was past, she said, "what train?".
The reason I have come to love golf is that there is no place for me to hide.
If I am upset, fooling myself about something, thinking about what the people
watching think, or not focused, my swing shows it (as does my score). The
Game provides instant feedback as to whether I am in tune with myself and
relaxed. I can play it uptight, but it's terrible.
I have to play like there is no one watching. I have to visualize the shot,
and feel the full swing before I make it. I have to believe the ball and club
and I are all doing this together. That's part of what I have to do to play
That's my two cents on mental toughness. I'm still a novice at golf, and I'm
not much better at relaxation, but I'm learning! I'll play in my very first
golf tournament about a month from now, so take what I say for the
inexperienced thought that it is.
Nice post, Brian.
I saw the Movie Three wishes, and also read the book, ZEN and the art of
I'd add two things -
1 - Draw on past successful experiences - remember how that felt. . .
try to apply the mental feeling of those other succesful experiences.
2 - Go to a Par three course. Try to match yourself up with a Dad and
his eight-year old kid. Watch the kid swing, so easy, not caring how he
does. . .Keep that picture of the kid on the coursem just having fun,
but still wanting to impress his dad, in your mind as you play . . .
a few little snippets....
"Zen is a way of liberation, concerned not with discovering what is
good or bad or advantageous, but what is."........Alan Watts
The P "who ohms her way around the golf course' P.
"If you wish to drown, do not torture yourself with shallow water."
: Does anyone know some drills to become more mentally tough. I am set up
: for several tournaments and want to improve my mental toughness. Thanx
: in advance.
Get yourself a pre-swing routine. Period. It is doing wonders for my game.
Here is a decent book to read too:
"Mental toughness Training for Sports"
James E. Loehr, Ed.D.
Here are some of his tips (paraphrased):
Eye Control Keep your eyes on the ball to keep your attention focused.
Rituals Establish rituals between strokes (i.e., a pre-swing
Breathing Practice deep breathing between shots to help relax &
lower pulse rate.
Intensity Even when very fatigued or when you feel negative.
Relaxation Actively relax your muscles. Project an image of being
Mistake Mgmt. Accept mistakes and walk away from them.
Neg. Self-talk Avoid during play, it only fosters bad results and pumps
up your opponent.
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"Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn't have to do it."
> > Get yourself a pre-swing routine. Period. It is doing wonders for my game.
> In regard to this, when starting the backswing, do other golfers inhale,
> exhale, breath normally or hold their breaths?
> Just wondering.
> Colin Wilson
> Remove ** for correct E-mail address
> "Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn't have to do it."
> Weller's Law
I believe that Colin Wilson wrote in article
Actually I meant it with some degree of seriousness. I was wondering if
you breath in as you go through your backswing whether it leads to your
chest expanding as you take in air, and maybe things like your head
lifting or overhitting your shot as you (maybe) exhale on the downswing.
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"Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn't have to do it."
On Fri, 13 Jun 1997 15:45:55 +1000, Colin Wilson
>> Get yourself a pre-swing routine. Period. It is doing wonders for my game.
>In regard to this, when starting the backswing, do other golfers inhale,
>exhale, breath normally or hold their breaths?
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