How many times have you found yourself in one of these scenarios – You just made an amazing birdie only to follow it with a double bogey. You have no idea what happened and your emotions are boiling beneath the surface as you approach the next hole. Or, you started off really strong on the front, but your back nine is falling apart one hole at a time and you can’t seem to break the cycle. As you know, golf is a game of ups and downs, good breaks and really bad ones. Unfortunately, there are lots of players whose response to these ups and downs is reactionary. Their thoughts, attitude, confidence, and emotions are taken up and down too. Are you one of these players? Thinking about things that will not support your performance is a waste of time and a drain on your energy. I like to tell my clients that the best course of action is to always sandwich every shot between two slices of positive. It’s one thing to have a really solid pre-shot routine, but your post-shot routine (and yes, you should have a routine to follow every shot, good or bad) needs to be planned, practiced, and put into to play on every shot to keep your head in the right place. The goal after a bad shot is to take an objective, rather than reactive approach to it. Imagine for a moment that your coach is playing with you. After a bad shot, would he say, “You idiot! I can’t believe how horrible that shot was!” Probably not, so why do you do that to yourself? How does that help you set up for a great next shot? It doesn’t. Instead, you must CHOOSE (yes, you have control over your reaction) to default to positive after less than ideal shots. This won’t happen overnight, but you can train your mind to look for the value in every experience on the course, and let go of the disasters.
The best solution for recovery is to start by being objective — avoid personalizing or emotionalizing your less than ideal shots. You have control over your emotions, so take charge as opposed to letting them dictate your play. Always look for the silver lining. The more you allow your negative emotions to rule in those moments, the fewer options you will be able to see to keep the ball successfully in play. The more proactive your approach after every shot, the more your brain will be able to assess the big picture and assist you in coming up with creative ways to get back on track. Pull yourself out of a slump by diffusing the negativity. Often a deep cleansing breath combined with a positive, present-centered statement like “I’m ready, let’s go!” is all that you need to release the tension from the distraction and snap your mind back to your immediate task. The key is doing what it takes to get back to a relaxed mental and physical state. Before you address your next shot, retrieve a memory of a similar shot that you just nailed. Use that to boost your confidence in your ability to successfully make the next shot, no matter where it lies. When it comes to recovering from bad shots in your game, where do you struggle the most? Leave your question in the comments below. For more in this 5-part series on focus click on the links below –
If you have specific questions about your game, I would be happy to talk to you. Contact Me to discuss how we can move your game forward.