Body Language and Recruiting
There were lots reasons my coach was so adamant I pick my head up after making a bogey. For one, this signified to my, teammates, the other team, and the fans that I was done. The adversity I had recently experienced appeared too much for me to handle. On top of the perception body language gives others, there was the inevitability of bringing about further failures due to my poor reaction and defeated body language. Coaches love seeing athletes in difficult situations. Playing in the rain, wind, the pressure of the last group, not feeling well, and so on. How you react to these situations and the way you carry yourself could be a key point in showing college coaches what you are made of and more importantly, can they count on you!
Let’s look at a few more closely to see how they can be used, either positively or negatively, to impact our performance and how college coaches may view an athlete.
Body Language & Confidence
When addressing body language and its impact on mood, the number one area within our mood that is going to have a direct influence on our performance is confidence. The way you hold your body can either raise or lower your confidence. Tony Robbins talks a lot about altering your state. This, he says, can be done by holding your body in a different way. Think back to the example I gave earlier of constantly dropping my head after a bad shot. Do you think that would positively or negatively affect my confidence? It did nothing but pull down my already dwindling confidence. However, I could just as easily have reversed the way I felt by holding my body in a different manner and speaking to myself in a different way.
Your body is linked to your mood, especially the confidence you feel in the moment. So your body language and internal conversations have the power to uplift you when feeling down, increase confidence while anxious, and help you feel proud when insecure. However, it can just as easily increase feelings of self-doubt, drive negative self-talk, and keep you from being able to bounce back from a mistake. That’s why you need to learn to master your body language and self-talk in all situations.
Think about it this way”¦ let’s say you have a round in which you just haven’t made any putts, and each time you miss you tell yourself how bad of a stroke you made or how poor of a putter you are in general.
Now FastForward to the 18th green, and you have a 6-footer to win the match. For the last 4+ hours you have told yourself you can’t putt, so what makes you think all of a sudden, when you and your team need to make one, that you will? You’ve set yourself up for failure, simply by the way you have carried and spoken to yourself.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, the best in the world only makes half of their putts from 8feet.
The Coaches View
I don’t typically advocate concern on the athlete’s part over what anyone is thinking of them. However, in the recruiting game, coaches are the ones making decisions. With that truth known, there needs to be a degree of thought as to how the coaches view you, and particularly your toughness.
Besides talent, coaches look for athletes who are mentally tough. Throughout my years coaching, I routinely recruited athletes that were tough and confident, most of them were two sport athletes. You may think of yourself as tough with strong character. However, no matter what you think on the inside, this may not be what coaches are seeing if you continually hang your head after each mistake and can’t seem to mentally get beyond a bad break. Even if your performance is good, no coach wants to keep playing an athlete who appears to have a poor attitude or can’t be counted on in crunch time.
I used to start the year off in our first team meeting by explaining to the guys that before we can be champions, we have to start walking and talking like champions.
Some may think that their confidence came from the fact they performed well, but I believe it’s the other way around. These guys performed in a way that matched their body language. Because their body language was an indication of the confidence they felt within.
For you, even if you don’t feel as though your talents allow you to do so, walk confidently. Stop short of arrogance but have a quiet air of confidence that is highlighted by your proud stature as you walk on the course.
You workhand, don’t you? So why shouldn’t you be able to hold your head high, believing in the talents you’ve put hours into developing?
Moving on to the Next Shot
Your body is doing the work while performing. However, it is a tool through which your mind operates. Therefore, both need to be in harmony, focused and attentive, in order to play your best. The mental aspect is going to lag behind if you failto get your body in a state where it’s ready to perform.
After you make a mistake, if your head is hanging and shoulders are slouched, you have failed to place yourself in the optimal position physically to get beyond the mistake and move on to the next shot. I would give my players until they set their bag down for the next shot to be upset, but once they put their bag down for the next one, it was time to move on.
Whenever you allow your body language to drop due to negativity, there was an increased likelihood of making a mistake on the next shot. Just by getting ourselves more engaged physically before each shot, we increase our chances of success.
Your Body Language Impacts Others
Have you ever had a teammate who sulked after every mistake? We all have. Did their reaction ignite feelings of motivation and confidence within you? Or did their actions suck the energy out of you, making you begin to feel as they do?
Make no mistake, we feed off the energy of those around us. Think about how you feel around your teammates when they have poor body language, and now imagine how they must feel when you’re doing the same.
Body Language is Trainable
This is going to mainly occur away from the course. Initially, you might find it’s difficult to keep your body language positive after a mistake. For this reason, it’s important to begin training positive body language in a safe environment. One of my favorite ways to do this was by holding a power pose in the morning.
After you put your feet on the floor in the morning, or as you stand in the mirror brushing your teeth, stand in a way that generates a feeling of confidence and power. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that YOU ultimately control your attitude.
This is benefiting you in two ways. One, it is instilling a feeling of confidence that will carry with you throughout the day. Secondly, it is training your mind to respond with a confident and positive emotion when you hold yourself in that way. What this means is, whenever you feel insecure, frustrated, or like a failure during a round, you can hold your body in the way you’ve been training, and your mind will respond positively.
Keep Up the good work, and until next time,
Fairways and Greens,
Coach Whit Turnbow