"Golf is played mainly on a six-inch course; the space between your ears." -Bobby Jones
It's easy to feel confident when you're playing well, but the real challenge
is to remain confident under adversity. That's the part that is difficult, and
one every golfer must struggle with. Confidence can be learned. It just takes a
commitment to develop this skill. So how can a golfer build unshakable confidence?
It isn't a simple answer, and the solution to your problem isn't either. We all
lose confidence from time to time; the important thing is to minimize the
occurrences and the duration of these self-doubt spells.
1. First, you must use past success memories instead of failure memories.
If you walk up to a hole where you have failed before and start
thinking about past failures on that hole you're already defeated.
That's negative thinking, and that type of thinking will only hurt
your chances of pulling off the good shot. Instead, supplant in your
mind the best shots and replay them regardless of the impending shot
looming ahead. Remember to see it, feel it, hear it and then do it. Have
a success memory for all kinds of shots that you have worked hard on in
practice. You can even use non-golf success memories to assist you. You
have probably excelled at something in your life that you're proud of like
other sports, school, work, etc. Use this information stored up in your brain
to your advantage to remind yourself how competent and successful you are.
2. Next, practice training your body and your mind well.
The key to having success is quality practice with purposeful meaning.
You need to have defined goals on what you're trying to achieve. Banging
balls at the range all day will be a good workout, but more than likely
won't transfer into success on the course. When I hear from people that
they hit thousands of balls each day, but can't seem to make it happen
on the course, I have to question what exactly they practiced. Like the
old saying, "Inefficient management is like straightening the deck
chairs on the Titanic." Practice like you play. I will discuss this
in future articles in depth.
3. Having a good pre-shot routine is critical in building confidence.
This rehearsal will help you to be physically and mentally ready to
pull the trigger on your swing. A good routing will help you put your
game on automatic, and empty your mind of distractions and any self-doubt
that you may be facing under a crucial shot.
4. Remember, you're only human.
The great Ben Hogan said once that he hit the ball exactly the way he
imagined maybe only five to six times a round. Humans make mistakes; we
are not perfect, and we can't be expected to play a perfect round of golf.
Failure is anatural way to learn from our mistakes. "Failure is the
opportunity to begin again more intelligently." The key is to learn
from your mistakes.
Finally, what really matters is how you present things to yourself to
empower you to be your best. To get confidence is to remember the good
shots, and forget the bad ones. When faced with difficulties draw upon
all you have learned and trust your disciplined pre-shot routine. It
means taking every temporary failure as a future steppingstone to
success. Believing in yourself - that's what being confident is all about.