Practical Guide to the Mental Game [3 day training]
Brain, Podcast

Practical Guide to the Mental Game [3 day training]

We’re joined by tour performance coach Dr Greg Cartin to help us understand the mental game and give us practical advice for your golf game this season.

DAY 1: Your Golf Swing

We tackle a number of common mental game questions from golfers in the Golf Science Lab community about their golf swing.

Everyone says ‘trust your swing’. What if it can’t be trusted?

“How do I block out the negative thoughts once my swing starts to struggle in the middle of my rounds which always seems to happen? Thanks.

“I’ve always played with one mechanical swing key and tried to ride it for 18 holes. Top level players always talk about simply pre-visualizing the shot and the shape only. Am I limiting my ability to get to the next level by thinking of a swing key?

The classic misconception that we can “block out negative thoughts” can send us down a very frustrating path

Regardless of the content of our thoughts, good or bad, we can still engage with the physical action of the golf swing without being hindered by our thoughts through awareness.

If we’re aware we’re having a negative thought, we understand it’s just a thought.

It’s not bad.

We can move onto that engagement versus trying to fight ourselves and swing at the same time.

As golfers we’re only going to hold ourselves to our highest standard. So golfers will identify with the best score they ever shot or their handicap.

And if things aren’t up to that, then our thoughts start to rev up and we think something’s wrong and the warning signals go off and now we’ve created a whole mess.

The most challenging thing that golfers face is that…

Number one – Golf is inconsistent

Number two – Golfers always try to fix things when they’re perceived to be broken. And here’s the truth, they’re usually not.

Accept the bad shots because they’re part of the game (but you don’t have to be happy with them).

They’re part of my round, not the end of my round. It makes it easier to move on to the next shot versus trying to fix and fight ourselves on the next shot.

DAY 2: Your Golf Game

We’re going to tackle these questions in todays episode:

How do I stop myself getting tense on tight driving holes ! Usually followed by hitting it way into the cabbage

When I play my best, I always feel as if I’m “not thinking” I’m simply just swinging. How do I keep or maintain this?

After playing 12 holes, getting tired and keeping form and overthinking mechanics.

How to not think about a score your going to make or shoot!

How do you quickly forget the bad shots and just move on to the next one? Especially if that bad shot has left you in a precarious position.

If a bad miss develops mid-round, how to adjust without over-analyzing and falling down that rabbit hole.

dr greg cartin sport performance consultant

How do I keep something good going when I have it going well? Good golf becomes elusive once we realize that we’re playing well and now we’ve triggered some thought… And we’re trying to achieve something.

Now expectations enter the mind and thoughts like… if I only keep this going I’ll shoot my the best score I ever shot.

And all of these thoughts start to rev up.

It’s almost impossible to create that sensation of not thinking that most people try to chase.

What we’re looking for is awareness that the thoughts we have don’t matter.

So when those thoughts hit us…  “I’ve been so good for so many holes and I better keep this going”

When that happens we often lose connection with what doing right now because I’m trying to recreate and I’m trying to avoid a future that hasn’t happened yet.

I believe that it’s more important to not be resistant to what we’re thinking or judging what we’re thinking than it is to think we have to think a certain way or be positive all the time.

DAY 2: Dealing with the stress and pressure of competition

We’re joined by 2017 US Mid Am winner, Matt Parziale to talk about the realties of competitive golf. He has some amazing experiences and stories to pull on as he shares the pressure of sleeping in Augusta, GA the night before playing in the Masters and what it’s like winning the US Mid AM 

You can hit good golf shots and be uncomfortable.

You don’t have to force yourself to create a different environment or feelings that don’t exist.

You’re never going to learn how to compete or feel pressure, feel discomfort if you don’t allow yourself to feel it.

I like Bruce Lee’s quote of “being like water”, right? Like just being with whatever’s happening without trying to change it or resist. And I feel that you enjoy the day more when you do that and you’re there and you know your feelings and you look back then you know what? That was fun. Even if you lose, you win. It’s fun when you win, but even when you mess up, but you’re there, you can try to force something.

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Founder and chief curator of the Golf Science Lab. Documenting what's going on in the world of research and beyond that can help you play your best golf on the golf course (when it counts). Join the movement of researched based coaching over trusting beliefs and what worked for one person a few decades ago. Follow on Twitter