When getting ready for a tournament a player can be so focused on skill and technique that mental preparation is easily overlooked. It’s something that really only stands out to others when a player is extremely well prepared or extremely underprepared. The reality is that mental preparation is a staple to tournament training in the same way that putting on shoes before leaving your house is a staple before going into public spaces.
Imagine reliving your first day of school, is this exciting or nerve-racking? Now imagine that you were so focused on how you wanted this day to go that you forgot to put on your shoes. This may seem like a silly analogy because shoes are so obvious and necessary to navigate throughout your day, but how often do you really notice your shoes? Unless your shoes are insanely comfortable or massively uncomfortable, they simply serve a purpose and you don’t think much about them, but going without the proper shoes for your day would completely throw you off.
You wouldn’t step onto the golf course without your shoes and you shouldn’t without your mental preparation either. Work on having the mindset of an M.V.P. with the following tips…
Approach every tournament with a growth mindset. Adaptability is one of the first things people notice in a golfer. Having a growth mindset allows a player to naturally adapt to the challenges of the day and respond with better action. Alternatively, a weak mindset often means baring the inability to adapt. Try using an affirmation such as, “Challenge Accepted!” to address unexpected challenges.
In the days leading up to a tournament visualize how you want it to go. It’s okay to imagine the things you hope to NOT happen and decide ahead of time how you’d like to react to those situations, determining what will be most productive and help increase resilience. However, don’t let that be your focus, spend time focusing on and visualizing yourself as an athlete, shaping your shots in your mind and imagining your game overall.
SET & USE PROCESS GOALS!! Process goals are based on actions or concepts that you have 100% control over and can be certain of the outcome. This could be something as simple as always having the same starting point for each shot. Directing your energy into the things you can control helps to build better confidence and overall commitment.