It’s understandable to get frustrated by your game from time to time. But spending time complaining about what’s not working will prevent you from achieving the improvements you so badly desire. How you think and talk about your game has a big impact on how you play, so it’s important to make sure that most of the time you are thinking and talking about the good parts, rather than the disappointing ones. Giving thanks will improve your game.
You may be thinking that you’ve had very little to be thankful about during your recent rounds, and that’s exactly my point. If you have very vivid memories of all your miss hits, bad breaks and embarrassing moments, but very few surrounding your solid shots, you may very well be creating a lot of your disappointments without even realizing it.
Let’s imagine that you just hit your opening shot for the round and missed the fairway by 10 yards to the left. Although your ball is still in play, your first response might be negative rather than positive. If you tend to operate with emotionally-driven default reactions, rather than measured objective responses during your rounds, you may experience some difficulty recovering from that opening shot. When you don’t take your game one shot at a time, you can carry negativity from one shot to the next. And whatever is going on mentally and emotionally inside of you will ultimately ripple through your subsequent shots. So lingering disappointment or pressure to “make up” for that first shot could create tension in your next shot, preventing you from reaching your next desired target. And this cycle can continue leaving you with a high number on the hole.
One of the best ways to change your thought habits is with good routines. While you may currently be playing with a pre-shot routine, you may not be using a post-shot routine, and it’s equally important. Without going into all the details of a thorough post-shot routine, you could start improving your thought habits by simply finding something simple to be thankful about from every shot, no matter the outcome of the shot itself.
Using the example above, after your opening shot your objective would be to identify something you did correctly, rather than getting bogged down by what you think you did wrong. What you did right is the only thing that’s worth repeating, so don’t get lost in enumerating the things you hope you don’t do again. Here are some examples of things worth repeating if you’re having trouble coming up with some –
- You visualized a good shot
- Your practice swing felt great
- You kept your attention locked on the target
- You selected the right club
The list could go on, but I hope you are starting to see that there’s a distinct difference between swing flaws and the elements of a good routine worth repeating on every shot.
When you take the time shot by shot to give thanks and appreciation for the aspects of your play that you’re executing well, you increase the probability of doing more of those things as the round progresses. Stop the cycle of focusing on your flaws and getting exactly what you hoped you wouldn’t repeat in your rounds. When it comes to your thoughts, garbage in is garbage out. By giving a little more attention to the parts of your game that are going well you’ll begin to open the door to actually improving your performance.