I came across this article recently and I just had to share it with you. It's from our friend and former guest LPGA National Teacher of the Year, Alison Curdt. Here she discusses how we can short circuit the process that causes our negative thoughts and emotions on the golf course. Or check out my podcast version of the article below!
In the article Alison brings up a great point about how as golfers we will count every missed putt, penalty, or fairway we couldn't hit but we don't pay any attention to the fact that our emotional reaction is just as important. We will often dwell on a bad swing that happened for several holes after the fact, but when it comes down to looking at how we can improve as golfers, we rarely take the time to get introspective about how we reacted to different circumstances on the course.
This can lead us to developing bad habits that lie just under the surface waiting to spoil our rounds. It can also build mental blocks that we stumble over time and time again. Alison cites a great example about how people will often have a "cursed club" where the club above it and below it work fine, but for whatever reason, that one never goes where we want it to. This seed of doubt is usually planted when we ignore that emotional response after a bad swing.
This is why it's important for us to track how many times per round this happens. Simply add a tally or check mark on your card every time you have a negative emotional reaction. This will tell you exactly how big of an issue it is in your game.
That's great, but how do I fix it?
Like a lot of other things, the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one! Once you know the frequency Alison points out that we should be replacing that negative thought with a positive one like "I know I can hit it better next time".
One of my favorite things to do in these circumstances is to have students access their memory banks about the different times they have hit that club well and have them describe how that shot felt out loud. There's something really unique about actually verbalizing something, it's like the special sauce on the Big Mac of good visualization.
When you do this exercise it's important to describe everything from when you were assessing the shot, to what the swing felt like, to the result, and most importantly how it made you feel. This will help you chip away at the "curse" that might be haunting one of your clubs and get you going on a positive track again.
If you'd like to check out Alison's article you can do so by clicking here.