By: Patrick Cohn and Michael Edger
Golf is a mental game, especially at the higher levels. This is why it’s important for golfer’s to develop a strong inner game or mental toughness. You see players all the time who have “great talent”, but rarely play up to their potential. The problem is that golfers are not educated about the mental game mostly because their instructors or coaches didn’t stress the importance of mental toughness when their student’s were learning to play.
In Golf your decisions, thoughts, images, and feelings set up each swing. Mental training helps players develop key mental skills to compliment the mechanics or physical aspects of their game. What most people do not know is that mental training isn’t just for players who have challenges with their game, but also for players who want to improve their overall performance. Coaches and players have used mental training for years to gain a competitive edge in golf. Confidence, trust, focus, and composure are the everyday lessons I teach my students. Understanding these components allows players to become mentally tough and improve their performance.
To develop mental toughness in golf there are several mental skills that you can learn. From my work and research in golf, I have discovered that golfers who are playing in the zone are composed, in control, confident, and focused. Most golfers have experienced the zone, if only for a short time. And every golfer can learn to develop a mindset that helps them enter the zone more frequently by learning how to be confident, focused, and in control of game.
Mentally tough golfers are at an advantage in competition because they have…
- An awareness of the zone and the feelings associated with playing in the zone.
- High self-confidence or a strong belief in their skills or ability to play well.
- The ability to fully immersed in the task or totally concentrate in the present.
- A narrow focus of attention or the ability to focus on one specific thought without distraction.
- The ability to swing effortlessly or let it happen when it counts.
- Emotional control or the ability to remain calm under pressure.
- Clear and decisive mind or not over thinking and doubting their decisions.
- The ability to refocus or collect themselves after mistakes or a bad shot.
- Fun, whether they are 10 over par or two under par.
A strong mental game is crucial for all golfers. To develop a strong mental game it takes commitment to working on your mental toughness daily over weeks, months, and even years. To be successful with mental toughness training, golfers must learn how to apply it to games and practice. It’s easy to pick up a book on mental training and then forget about the strategies you learned one week later. The key is to find a mental game system to apply to practice and competition on a daily basis.