Chug, Chug, Chug
by Michael Riggs
We all remember the childhood story of the Little Train that said, “I think I can, I think I can,” as he chugged his way up the daunting mountain. It is such a simple story, but it effectively illustrates the essence of success with each chug, chug, chug.
As the typical player stands over an intimidating shot — be it a scary carry over water, a tee shot through a tunnel opening of grabbing tree branches, or a scoring wedge to a tight pin with trouble back and side, his mind may be drawn to thoughts of failure and demise. These thoughts seem to flash into the mind faster than you can say double-bogey. Eying the shot, contemplating the potential hazardous outcomes, the wisdom of from Little Train is nowhere to be found. “I think I can” has been firmly replaced by “Oh no, here we go again.”
One of the simplest, and most manageable, mental skills for players of all levels is the skill of positive self talk. Our bodies take the suggestion of our minds. Our minds take the suggestion of our words. So, be keenly aware of the words that you choose to use in challenging situations and be sure that they are phrases of compliment, encouragement, and congratulation.
After all, what is about to happen — unless you stop playing and just walk off the course — is going to happen, right? So, it makes all the sense in the world to give yourself an “I think I can” just like the Little Train. You may not always hit a superior shot, but the alternative is certainly much less desirable.
After all, whether you think you can or not – you’re probably right.
Before every shot, tell yourself in clear and uncertain terms, that you will make a smooth swing and hit a very good shot.
In Another’s Words…
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”
— Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Author