Most golfers think that the pressure they feel in their game is due to setting their expectations too high. Even if you’re not striving for perfection you’d probably like to experience more good to great rounds, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But your high expectations are not the problem. The pressure you often experience during a round is because you’re setting the bar too low.
Wanting to succeed is great! I highly encourage my clients to expect to hit good shots if they’d like to increase the probability of actually hitting good shots. Expecting success helps you play with a positive attitude as long as your expectations are in alignment with your beliefs about yourself as a player.
Expectations and Beliefs Must Be in Sync
Challenges arise when your expectations and your beliefs are out of alignment. There’s a difference between thinking or saying that you’re going to hit a good shot and believing that you can.
Let me give you an example.
When working with a college golf team there was a player who was struggling to maintain solid play during tournaments when she realized how well she was playing. Of course she wanted to play well. The point of competing is to play to be the best. But when she started posting red numbers (playing under par) she would feel the pressure begin to mount. Why? Because she did not honestly see herself as a “red numbers” kind of player. So instead of leaning into and celebrating her success, she would become very uncomfortable with it because it didn’t fit her image of herself.Does your picture of yourself as a golfer match the level of performance to which you aspire? If not, then you're going to experience pressure in golf. #golf #golfmindset #golfsuccess #playgreatgolf #golftips Click To Tweet
Now let’s examine your game.
How many times have you had a great start to a round, or recognized how well you were playing at the turn only to have your game fall apart shortly thereafter? Have you ever wondered how long a string of good holes would last? Have you begun waiting for a bad shot or hole to show up because that’s what always happens to you? Have you ever considered the low score you could post if your hot streak would keep going?
Unfortunately, all these thoughts open the door to doubt. And the only reason your thoughts begin moving in this direction is because you are experiencing a level of play that you consider outside your norm. You are outside your comfort zone and aren’t quite sure how you got there or how to keep it going. Doubt, doubt, and more doubt.
Naturally, this discomfort can lead to tense thinking. Tense thoughts can produce physical tension and suddenly your swing starts to change. You might begin hyper-analyzing your mechanics, trying to swing harder, allowing your focus to shift to hitting the ball well instead of trusting your swing, and more.
If this sounds familiar, you aren’t suffering because your expectations are too high. Your game begins to unravel because the way you’re thinking about yourself is a reflection of setting the bar too low.
Setting Solid Expectations
In order to consistently play with solid expectations you’ve got to get honest with your perception of yourself as a player. My mental game training program contains an entire training module to to help golfers examine and improve their self-image. It’s the origin point for performance. Therefore, how you think about yourself moment by moment impacts your self-talk, attitude, focus, emotions, decisions, and swing action. Because it’s really important, make sure you check in regularly with yourself regarding your appraisal of yourself as a golfer.
Does your picture of yourself as a golfer match the level of performance to which you aspire? Or do you really see yourself as a “less than” kind of golfer who simply wishes you could play at the desired level? What you want and what you actually believe you are capable of achieving today must be in sync.
Once your expectations and your self-image are in alignment then you will be equipped to step into your good play without the disruption of so much doubt and discomfort. When you start hitting good shots you can say to yourself, “Yes! Now I’m cooking with gas! This is my game!” and actually mean it. The alternative is to keep thinking that you’re getting lucky.
What type of success in a round leaves you feeling outside your comfort zone? Leave me a comment below.
Mental game training is the key that unlocks your ability to play consistently solid rounds. When your mindset is leading the charge toward success you are in a position to free the technical game you’ve worked so hard to develop with trust. It’s a great way to play the game and play at your best most often.
Stop accepting occasional glimpses of glory in your game when there’s so much more you can tap into when you learn how to leverage the power of your mental game tools. That’s where I can help with solutions to fit any level, location, age, and budget. All you need is a desire to play great.
Want to Know How Mental Game Training Can Radically Transform Your Game?
If you’re interested in exploring how mental game training can lower your handicap I invite you to set up a 45-minute free consultation call with me. On the call I will evaluate your current mental game skills and provide you with a targeted solution to help you lower your handicap and love your game. Click on the image below to get started.
CONNECT WITH ME