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What’s in a Word?
Words Have Power
Many athletes work on their minds. One way to help with focus is to choose words that direct it. Words have power.
Consider these two words: Hope and commitment. These are two words athletes often use and there is a big difference.
Imagine telling yourself some of these things.
I hope I play well today.
I hope I make the shot.
I hope I can finish.
I hope I don’t look stupid.
I am committed to playing my best today.
I am committed to my pre-shot routine.
I am committed to giving it all I have.
I am committed to my focus being on my game, not on others.
Can you feel the difference?
Words Have Emotions Attached to Them
Many years ago Sherrie Steinhauer, former LPGA golfer, was quoted in the paper as saying she learned to take hope out of her mind and game and replace it with commitment. I thought about that for awhile and it makes sense more and more.
Read those sentences again. What emotion do you feel when you read the hope phrases?
What emotion do you feel when you read the committed phrases?
Hope has an element of fear attached to it. It sort of says that you, the athlete, are not too sure of things and with some luck, things might turn out well. Commitment means you are taking more personal ownership and directing your focus on things you control. It means you have two feet in!
There is another aspect to the committed phrases. These are actions you can do. Everyone hopes to win. Everyone might even be committed to winning. But directing your mind to a committed action that you control gives you something to do, a place to put your focus, and more of a present moment mentality. So, when you use the word committed make sure you can actually DO what you are committing to do. Examples are the effort, routines, self-talk, physical actions like follow through.
“I am committed to doing my routine each time.”
Practice this. It is something you can do and be committed to doing!