Negative self talk

July 2, 2022 8:26 am

Is there a tricky hole on your regular course where you tend to say this to yourself: “Every time I play this hole I make a right mess of it”? One thing I have learned in this game is that if you expect failure, you very rarely disappoint yourself. Let’s shift those negative thoughts.

Negative thoughts are self-fulfilling

If you are a member of a golf club and play the same course all the time, you will have bogey holes that seem to go wrong or don’t suit you. But by filling your head with negative thoughts, such as the above, all you are doing is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Almost inevitably you will tighten up in fear of the impending disaster.  You subsequently make a bad swing, and a poor result ensues.  The next time you stand on that tee the cycle repeats itself.

Positive thinking on the golf courseTake control

There are various tactics you can use to avoid this negative chat that is filling your subconscious. Remember, you are very capable of ordering your subconscious to behave itself. It belongs to you, no one else.  One tip is that when you become aware of yourself slipping into this mode, imagine a huge stop sign. You could also try turning that negative into a positive. Say to yourself: “Ok I have made a mess of this hole before but today I feel is the day that I can pull off the best shot I have ever done here”. If you have a recollection of playing the hole well on a previous occasion, then that is another trigger to send that negative thought packing on its way. Once the positive memories of the hole or the shot build up then you can expunge the bad ones for ever.

By Jon Woodroffe – Master Professional, Wold of Golf London

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