Learning From Losing
Managing loss is one of the more important skills a champion must learn. Let’s face it – everyone loses. That includes Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, and all the rest. They must all learn how to manage losses over their career. No one wins every tournament. The ‘healthy’ champion knows how to digest loss and not let it damage his confidence or mood. The loss does not define who they are.
Problems occur when the loss causes the player to make inappropriate and unnecessary swing changes in the stroke. After a defeat, a golfer often becomes more swing-focused rather than game-focused. And that can lead to a tight swing, which can quickly turn into a slump.
To manage loss, you need a way to ventilate the feelings you have about it so that it can be put behind you. A support system is helpful, such as a swing coach, a parent or sport psychologist. Find someone you trust and let yourself air out all of your feelings about the loss. Talking it out allows you to work through the shame and disappointment that is an inevitable part of all sports. It will also help you to relax and once again return to your ‘target awareness.’
Loss is a part of golf just as it is a part of life. You need to accept it as part of the game, and then you will be able to carry on with your chin up.