Believe your way to better Golf!
Do you believe in what you are doing? Do you believe in the way you practice? Do you believe in the techniques being taught to you by your coach? If you want to improve you better be able to answer yes to those questions.
As a teacher I am constantly looking for new ways to communicate better with my students, what you say for one student may not resonate with another. My goal is obviously to make my students better but in order to do that I must get them to buy into my methods and the things I have them doing.
Doubt will derail any well intentioned activity or goal. If you have been staring at your handicap of 20 for so long it may be hard to imagine getting it down to a single digit or maybe you keep getting beat by the same buddy and no matter how hard you seem to work you constantly come up short.
I'm not going to look at your technique, although you should have a trained professional examine what you are doing. I'm going to examine your thoughts and beliefs that I believe are of the utmost importance when it comes to improving your golf game.
1. Do you believe in your Instructor?
If you have doubts about what your instructor is telling you or the methods he is using then you are doing yourself and your instructor a disservice by not addressing them. In order to greatly improve and get the most out of your lessons you must buy into what is being preached, now I'm not saying don't question anything. Absolutely have the discussion with your Coach and ask lots of questions but at the end of the day get rid of the doubt. If you can't trust your coach or just can't buy in then find someone that speaks your language and that you can buy into.
If I have an over the top slicer of the ball then I have to teach them a new way to bring that club down, I teach them to bring the club down inside. It is a pretty dramatic change from what they are doing and it feels really weird to them, generally it becomes a lesson explaining the ball flight laws and why I want them to swing the club in this motion. If they buy in we are able to quickly begin the process of improving and set them on the path to better golf. On the flip side if I spend the lesson explaining but the student doesn't buy in, I've wasted my time and their swing is no better off. Be willing to try new stuff to get new results!
2. Do you believe you are capable of playing good golf?
Are you doomed to stay a 20 handicap forever, absolutely not! The first step to improving your golf game in my mind is believing you can be better. Imagine yourself breaking 100, 90, 80 or even 70. Imagine winning your club championship, the city tournament or another tournament that you've always wanted to win. If you can't imagine it then you will have a hard time accomplishing it in reality. Did you ever dream of doing something as a kid? Why do we stop dreaming as we get older? When it comes to golf I encourage my students to imagine success, imagine that scholarship, imagine that 65. Your own belief must overcome any doubts that will arise in your mind over the course of your journey to better.
The night before I won my first match play tournament I imagined winning, I imagined I was in control of my emotions, I imagined how I navigated the course and even what I scored. Now I didn't shoot minus 18 like I imagined but I did lead the entire match and closed it out on the 18th hole 1 up. In that event I believed I could win and I did. If I had been doubtful about whether it was possible or been in awe of my opponent I would have never hoisted the trophy that day.
3. Change your thinking
It's never to late to change the way we think either about ourselves or maybe something we want to accomplish. It just starts with simple habits of choosing to believe that you can be good and the way you are going about that is right. In the Bible Proverbs 23:7 says "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" basically that means what you secretly think about yourself is what you will become. Why not apply that to your golf game?
The real title of this blog should be "Believe your way to better golf with practice and hard work". Because belief in and of itself will not get you where you want to go, you must have action coupled with belief. Many of us practice and practice on our skills but we neglect to deal with the negative thoughts of doubt that creep up when the tournaments on the line or when things aren't going well. So change the way you think, start thinking of yourself like you want to be not how you are right now. Want to shoot par? Start picturing yourself shooting par, tell yourself "your gonna be good enough to shoot par". Believe in what you are doing and believe in what you are becoming!
Good golf is not an impossible mountain to climb, there is a path well worn by many others. Enjoy the journey and enjoy this great game.