Developing A Winning Mindset
In my capacity as a Sports Performance Specialist I recently spent time supporting one of my clients at the Ladies European Qualifying Tour Golf School in Morocco.
We had spent time in England developing her mental approach to playing golf under pressure and this would be the ultimate test for her.
Qualifying school is brutal: 150 professional golfers battling it out over nine rounds of golf for 40 places on the European Tour; all wanting it badly because getting on to the European Tour is so important in terms of being able to compete at a high level and also a chance to earn a decent living to fund their desire and passion to win.
Most of them have already proved themselves in their own country; they all have amazing swings and they can get up and down from anywhere; and yet, after three rounds, scores varied from 12 under par to 25 over par. How to explain the difference?
It all comes down to their mental approach: how they step from the practice tee to the course; how they deal with the huge expectation levels; and the knowledge that they must shoot low, or they have no chance of qualifying!
Before coming out to Qualifying School, the essential belief system needs to be in place: of knowing that, whatever happens, they can post a good score. This is built through consistent practice, building an evidence base of good shots and developing a pre-shot routine that focuses on the process and the ‘here and now’.
Most importantly, they will be definitely concentrating on:
- Remembering the good shots rather than the bad ones (how many times have I seen a golfer hit fantastic shots, only to bemoan a three-putt when asked about the round!)
- Being clear about what needs to happen rather than what doesn’t (Telling yourself ‘I don’t want to go into that bunker’ is like telling yourself not to think of a pink elephant, which then immediately becomes your focus!)
- Watching their body language and making sure that they are sending positive messages to their brains even when they feel frustrated!
- Developing a mind-set that concentrates on what you need to do ‘right now’ is one of the most powerful ways to encourage consistent, focused play which is going to get what you want = RESULTS!