If you are wondering why PGA and LPGA Tour players are so good, it is because they are willing to challenge themselves on each shot to perform their best. This sounds easy, but for most of us it is extremely hard. The reason it is so hard is commonly due to the fear of failure.
Great athletes do not think the way that average athletes think. They are not worrying about the consequence of failure but they understand that it is a likely outcome when they challenge themselves. What do I mean by this? First and foremost, it is not that they like or understand failure any more than you or I do. They understand that to be the best at something it is almost a requirement to fail. They are willing to push themselves to the limit, right to the edge, to the point of failure so that they can be comfortable with their ability to perform under the most stressful situations. This is a skill!
We often hear that golf is about 90% mental. I do not believe it is 90% mental, but I do believe that it is important to understand how the mind can inhibit our ability to perform better. I believe that golfers do not understand their true skill sets nor do they understand how to play the game by changing the perception of the challenge.
Scenario: Golfer A comes to the 18th hole and looks out at the layout. It’s a dog leg left, water to the left, out of bounds right, bunker guarding the water at the corner of dogleg, 30 yard wide fairway most of the way, all of which makes a challenging hole. 418 yards to personal best glory! It is windy so they would normally hit a “fade” or slice cut. They are worried that aiming down the right side of the fairway may take the shot out of bounds right, and if he aims left towards the water, he may also hit the dreaded straight ball into the water. Golfer A can only think what if I don’t hit it well? What should I do?
Golfer B comes to the same hole, sees the challenge and says to himself; this is why I practice. I have seen this challenge many times on the driving range, plenty of fairway to hit as long as I commit to the shot. My tendency is to leak it to the right and I am confident that if I aim down the left side slightly over the water it will peel back into the fairway and I will “win”, the self- challenge building confidence for future challenges.
In this scenario, Golfer B makes it a priority to challenge his skills and Golfer A is quick to question his skills. You have to be willing to fail to gain. Don’t back down from the challenge, remember every shot you hit is a new challenge, you have never hit “that” shot before. We never have the same shot twice! Believe in the challenge, not the consequences. Be committed to your abilities and you will be more successful on each of your shot challenges. A great way to improve your ability to pull off shots under pressure is to have a practice plan designed to challenge your skills.
If you are not sure how to do that, give me a call or email, set up a Coach Guided Player Development Assessment (CG PDI) and feel what it is like to challenge your skills. By doing a CG PDI Assessment on a regular basis, it will help you to understand your strengths and weaknesses and develop a more purposeful practice program for your continued improvement and helping you hit the shots you need, when you need them!
Enjoy Your Journey!