Five Mental Training Tips for Golfers
Mind management is important for all golfers. As you will see later in this article, some of the mental skills necessary for mind management are common sense. But even simple mental skills can become game changers when you incorporate them into your practice and play. We checked in with PGA member and the director of Golf Revolution, Sue Shapcott, and she helped us customize the golf tips for this article.
TIP 1. Commit to having mental goals! I like what Jim Afremow says about goals: “Think it then ink it.” When you write it you are more likely to achieve it. For more information on why writing your goals down is so effective, look at the book, Write It Down Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. The following TIPS 2-5 below are great examples of what to write down.
TIP 2. Have a transition routine. Develop a short transition routine as you move from work or school to the golf course. Too many people get out of their car after a really hectic day and only practice their putting and then compete. Keep a small notebook in your car or bag and write down one or two things on your mind not related to golf that you want to remember for when the game is done. Then mentally shift and think about your round ahead. Consider doing TIP 3 after this.
TIP 3. On a piece of paper write one or two goals you have for your game that day. Take this piece of paper with you and put it in your pocket or bag. Keep the goals simple and action-oriented. For example, Sue Shapcott suggests a simple tip: I will follow through with my swing on all tee shots. Write it down. Visualize it. Say it to yourself. Now you are ready to play. Having one or two goals is good. Too many, and you can start to over think. So, be specific, concise and remember to have some fun. If you need, take a look at the note to help yourself focus.
TIP 4. Seriously commit to having mind management and use helpful self-talk in your mind. Engage more in instructional talk than critical talk. As Willie Mays says: “What you’re thinking, what shape your mind is in, is what makes the biggest difference of all.” Talk yourself through motions rather than analyze too much. Have a key phrase you write every day to help set your mind. Try this one: “Stay focused, stay strong.” Then practice it, see training tip 3.
TIP 5. Knowledge Empowers You (KEY)! This is the KEY to your success. Keep notes about your training and competition. What is happening when you are successful or in the flow? Learn if you are thinking or bringing certain images to mind to help. Be your own little scientist and apply your findings!