Learn How to Use Self-Talk To Your Advantage
Do you set high standards for your golf game? Do you believe that setting the bar extremely high leads to playing your best?
What inner voice is the most influential on your performance while playing in a tournament? Is that voice positive and encouraging or negative and demeaning?
All golfers need that calming voice that can ease their emotions, help them refocus, and direct their thoughts in a positive direction.
Imagine having a critical caddie accompanying you to every hole. After each swing, your caddie told you made a bad swing.
If you missed a 3-foot putt, your caddie not only said that you failed but also that you are an untalented golfer who will never finish in the Top-10 of any tournament. How do you think those words would affect your game?
Those are harsh words that no golfer should accept. You work hard on your golf game. You do not need someone putting you down and hurting your performance.
In reality, all golfers walk from hole to hole with a voice called “self-talk.” Self-talk can be a critical caddie that chops away at your confidence or a calming influence that keeps you focused at the moment.
Fortunately, you choose the voice that walks with you from hole to hole. You have the power to change the tone and content of your self-talk.
The messages you hear consistently have a powerful impact on the results you achieve.
Take, for example, LPGA golfer Sofia Schubert. Prior to the 2022 Evian Championship, Sofia Schubert never finished in the top 50 at a major championship.
Schubert finished 1-stroke behind Brooke Henderson, who won by sinking a 12-footer for birdie on the final hole. Still, Schubert was ecstatic with her breakthrough runner-up finish.
SCHUBERT: “I was kind of nervous all day, a little more than yesterday, and Brittany [Sofia’s caddie] just kept saying, ‘Hey, take a deep breath. It’s OK. Just keep doing what you’re doing. I think the last few holes coming in, I just had the sense of peace, so I just hit every shot and kept going.”
In this example, Schubert’s caddie was the positive, influential voice. However, you can feed yourself the same positive messages.
Instead of waiting for an outside influence, you can tell yourself, “Stay calm and breathe,” when you feel nervous. You can remind yourself, “Take a moment and refocus,” when you become distracted. When you have doubts, you can say to yourself, “I got this.”
Your words have tremendous power on your focus, approach to each shot, and overall performance.
The more frequently you have positive inner messages, the more significant impact those messages will have on your performance. Feeding yourself positive messages early and often in a round will lead to confident play and lower scores.
What encouragement would you want to hear from your caddie? Before playing a round of golf, craft three positive messages you can tell yourself that will feed your confidence.
Throughout the round, repeat those messages to yourself especially after a bad shot or hole.
You have the free will to choose your self-talk. Be aware of the content of your self-talk so you can make the right choice.
Do you suffer from fragile self-confidence after missed hitting shots or making mistakes, playing with strict or high expectations that undermine confidence, or the inability to play freely and relaxed on the course?
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