Taking Confidence to the Course
Hurricane Junior Golf Tour
Dr. Bob Winters
© Copyright 2013
Golf is a wonderful sport when you play well. Everything about the game seems easy and uncomplicated. During these days, you are filled with self-belief and confidence. You simply focus on where you want your ball to go, you make a swing and lo and behold…your ball goes right to your target. Even if you hit it poorly, it still ends up in a good place and maybe even into the hole! What is even more surprising is that when you play with confidence, it seems that you are not trying at all. Many junior golfers tell me that when they are playing their best golf, they aren’t thinking about anything other than they are excited to play. They just know that everything is going to work out on the course and they feel great heading to the first tee. Does this sound familiar to your game….or does it sound different than what is going on now?
If you are getting less than what you are expecting or your results are poor, the game can be quite frustrating, even depressing. You may even step into your shot with the best intention, but your result just doesn’t match your expectation of success. The harder you try, the worse it gets! If only you could access the feeling of confidence knowing that your ball will go towards the target, how much more fun could this game be?
Many of the junior golfers on the Hurricane Tour that I work with have the initial motivation to improve and get better, but it is not enough to just say that you want to get better, you need to take action. Action really does speak louder than words! Therefore, my task is to help golfers learn how to think about their games and to really understand what it will take to improve so when they go to the golf course, they are ready to play to their full potential. Here are some ideas and tips to build confidence and take it to the course!
Steps to take Confidence to the Course
- 1. It is a mentality before it becomes a reality!
I always remind my young players that a great round of golf starts long before they step onto the first tee. I think it is vital that you take charge of your playing attitude the minute you leave your home and head for the course.
- A. Remind yourself that today is about your performance and golfing enjoyment. It is not about trying to play perfect golf, impress your friends, or to “work on your golf swing” during the round. Also, it is not about trying to shoot a low score or beat the other players. It is about you playing your best with whatever talent that you can muster on that given day. Remember, you have prepared yourself to play well for this event…….. You have practiced your craft so that when it is time to play, you know that everything will work out well. Giving yourself permission to play as well as you can play often takes the edge off and increases one’s sense of control and competence.
- B. When you enter the clubhouse gates, smile and remind yourself that today you will be the most upbeat and emotionally stable golfer on the course. Tell yourself that no one in the field is going to have a better attitude than you today! Win the attitude championship long before you hit your first tee ball. Providing yourself with an optimistic perspective is a good strategy to get your day off to a great start!
- 2. Walk with your head up and chest out.
Nothing suggests a golfer’s personal level of confidence more than the way that they carry themselves on the course. Deportment is a term that refers to one’s attitude, manners and behavior. Players who have positive deportment exhibit an aura around them that suggests they know they have “game” and can back it up when faced with adversity and stress.
It has been around for a long time, but the old saying “keep your head up and chest out” is more than some tired cliché’, but a real purposeful intervention with physiological science to support it. In a medical and physical performance sense, the moment that you start to drop your head into your shoulders and frown, you are sending negative hormones from the brain center to every part of your body! Cortisol and adrenaline and other metabolic compounds act as sludge to slow your swing and disrupt your timing….all of this happens because you become upset and frustrated and because you can’t accept challenges or face adversity.
However, if you keep your head up and walk purposefully down the fairway, positive hormones and chemicals immediately race to your body. With your head up, you create noradrenaline, testosterone and dopamine and other chemicals that provide you with strength and clarity. You hit the ball crisper and with more authority and even pick up some distance!
The choice is yours….you cannot make the mistake that everyone around you makes and drops their head and turn negative. You must be smart enough to realize that patience is confidence waiting to happen. Stay smart, cool headed and get your head up!
- 3. You are being watched….Act Confident (even if you are not)!
In reality, you do not have the luxury of behaving negative or thinking in a destructive or self-defeating manner. I have always told my players that it is easy to walk and talk like a champion when things are going well……but the real mark of a champion is when you can walk and talk like a champion even when you are playing like a chump is a greater indicator of how mentally tough and resilient you truly can be.
Almost every college coach is looking for players who can hold themselves together mentally and exude long-lasting confidence….even when they are having tough times on the course. In fact, many coaches have told me that they want to see how a player handles adversity. The better they can handle the tough times, the higher that player goes on their recruiting list. Think about this the next time you want to berate yourself or throw a tantrum on the course. You never know, you may be hurting yourself in more ways than just having a bad hole. You may be costing yourself some valuable recruiting points as well.
My suggestion: Even if you are not feeling totally confident, ACT IN A CONFIDENT MANNER! Keep your head up, act confident and move forward with positive intent. It is surprising, but the sooner you start to talk, think and act with confidence, the shots you hit will be with greater authority and precision. The results will come back to you tenfold!
A Final Word from Dr. Bob
Playing great golf is about making your day on the course a day of passion and the pursuit of being excellent to yourself. Do not distract yourself into the games of score, comparison to others, and the search for the perfect swing. Rather, commit yourself to becoming a player who plays with confidence and trust…….even when the results are not going your way. The sooner you realize that true confidence is a mindset rather than a physical swing is the moment that you take your game to a higher level of precision and performance!
May you always play with confidence!
Dr. Bob Winters
Dr. Bob Winters can be reached at 407-340-7785 for personal consultations. His website is www.drbobwinters.com