By Skylar Jewell, Mental Coach
Not everyone can finesse their way around a golf course like Jordan Speith.
Even less can unleash an aerial assault like Bubba Watson or Dustin Johnson. I would even venture to say that there are not too many people who can remain as methodically cool and collected as Jason Day or Freddie Couples.
This unprecedented group of golfers stand with others on the PGA TOUR before the golfing world as those who make it look “easy” or “effortless”. As Winston Churchill once said, “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” So for the weekend warrior or the vivacious vacationing player, there’s hope! However, before I tell you the secret to tapping into your potential, there are three things that need to be recognized: 1) Good shots do not mean good scoring! 2) Perfection isn’t a process. 3) Your current ability will not ever help you get better by itself.
Do one of these facts stick out to you? If so, it is probably the one you struggle with the most. By understanding that “good shots do not mean good scoring”, it’s then possible to play well without having the round of your life. All too often golfers of all levels will relate poor shots with poor performance, but this is inaccurate. While poor performance creates a different challenge, it does not hinder your ability to score.
Many golfers, of all levels, strive for perfection in the golf swing or on the course. The imperfection of golf is what actually compels most people to play. In golf, one can always strive for perfection in what they do. However, when that becomes the process, it promotes undue frustration and unrealistic expectations. Embracing the imperfections of golf and matching each situation with an open mind and an accepting attitude goes a long way.
As you work on improving, and you become a master of understanding and living by the first two facts, the third is often the toughest to understand and manage. To better understand, take for example, a golfer that makes a plan to hit a bucket of golf balls per day. More often than not, unless the golfer has a purpose of learning for each ball, they more than likely will not achieve the goal of improving their score. Beyond your current ability, it takes knowledge, a plan, and heart to help break into your potential.
At the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, we promote holistic training to increase awareness and promote a better understanding of the process for improvement.
So, what is the big secret to begin tapping into your potential? It is as simple as replacing a negative behavior with a positive one and successful behavior of your choosing. Once one thing is bad, it can often seem like everything is bad, like you’re trying but just spinning your wheels. This is the failure cycle as depicted on the left.
Each portion of the cycle feeds into the other and manifests the cycle. To break this, you must first find an attribute from the success cycle (on the right) that you are already good at and replace it into the failure cycle to begin a new cycle. It’s like putting a chain on a bike. Once it begins spinning again, it will put itself back on track. An example of this may be that you believe in your ability to always hit your next shot better than your last: a positive self-image. You then maintain that positive self-image and continue to take action as your attitudes, expectations, and behaviors improve to promote better performance and leave the door open to tap into your potential.
If you continue repeating similar behaviors and practices, you will inevitably find the same or similar results. Change the way you look at success to change your success.