Eliminate the Static
In my last Wired4Winning piece I discussed the calm mind, calm body relationship. For whatever reason, I received a great deal of feedback on this article. Whether I struck a chord with many folks or just that it happens to be a beautiful spring and more people are cramming down info on golf, I don’t know. But for whatever reason I thank you and because of your interest and encouragement, I have chosen to expand on this subject here.
I’ve seen over and over again, it’s that voice within that holds players back. There seems to be this self created three headed monster – Self-loathing, Fear and Doubt. As a result in competition, the person that we struggle most against is our own opinion of ourselves. In golf this is especially true because you have so much time by yourself, thinking to yourself, you end up thinking about yourself!
Peter Crone, a man known in golf and entertainment circles as The Happiness Guru says, “It’s nuts, you’re thinking about an event you don’t want, which inspires fear, anxiety and doubt. It’s an event that hasn’t happened, yet that the mind perceives. If you understand every moment of your life is brand new, then your only problem is what you’re dragging into each moment.” Many golfers “drag” so much baggage with them that before they know it, they begin attaching their identity to their play – “not only did I hit a bad putt, but I’m a bad putter.” Or, “I hit a bad drive; I’m a bad driver, golfer… person!”
Crone goes on to say, “Whatever has occurred in your past, I’ve yet to meet anybody that can do anything about it. The real differentiator is, can you accept it and consequently let it go? Not just accepting your missed shots but accepting who you are as a human being, what you’ve done and being ok with where you are. If I can get somebody completely content with themselves, then I know they will excel at whatever they do.”
You need look no further than Luke Donald to support Mr. Crone’s assertion. Luke Donald is a relatively short hitter and former fine arts major that chips and putts like an artist. He doesn’t try to overpower golf courses, but uses his artistic inclinations to “paint” a masterful short game. Corey Pavin is another great example of someone that understands, accepts and appreciates his limitations as well as his gifts.
Many golfers take on the persona of Tantalus from Greek mythology. Tantalus was made to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit ever eluding his grasp, and the water always receding before he could take a drink. Like Tantalus, they are always reaching for that elusive fruit, always chasing a fix, playing perfection not golf. Always trying to fix things instead of realizing all they need to do is just go out there and play their own game… play golf!
Sports Psychologist, Dr. Gio Valiante offers, “When you’re having trouble with your game, dumb it down, play caveman golf…see ball, hit ball!” The experts call it taking out the trash. A legendary PGA Tour caddy, Harry C. kept it simple by saying, “turn off the brain and turn on the game!” Remember to play the golf course, not your own concerns or self imposed limitations. Think less, thoughts are only static on an otherwise clear signal. Performance equals potential minus interference.