Play is a state of mind. Stuart Brown (in his book Play) defines it as an absorbing, apparently purposeless activity that provides enjoyment and a suspension of self-consciousness and sense of time; it is also self-motivating and makes you want to do it again. Incorporating this idea of play in our lives is essential to reach our potential. On the golf course, making time for play will ultimately lower your scores.
As a kid, Tiger Woods would take his ball from a favorable lie, throw it up into a tree, and then have it randomly drop into the thick rough... and then try to make par anyway because, in his mind, it was more fun. At the Stanford driving range, he was known to hit shots with an extreme slice so they would go over the apartments of the left side of the driving range and have them curve back onto the grass. He did it for fun because “sometimes hitting regular golf shots is boring.” The famous Nike commercial featuring Tiger bouncing his golf ball on the end of his nine iron forty or fifty times and then whacking it into the distance all started with fun. During a commercial shoot, Tiger was off to the side messing around and the director happened to see his unique skill. He asked Tiger to do it on camera. Boom! --It became an extremely successful commercial. Tiger’s explanation? He said, “I enjoyed creating. I enjoy creating shots.”
Steve Nash would end his workouts by picking an awkward, sometimes crazy, finish and complete it over and over again. The rationale included 1) he may have to finish in strange ways during a game (which he did), and 2) it was really fun and challenging.
Trick shots in all sports have invaded the Internet and social media. Why? Because it is FUN!
Really, this all comes from having a mentality of “challenge is fun” and you can use this mentality during your next practice round or drills session. Not only will this make you a better golfer, and probably help you smile on the course more, but it will also make you mentally tougher. By creating difficult situations/drills, and having a positive mentality about them, your brain will create a thought habit that will carry over into competition: Challenging Situations are FUN.
Here are a couple of ideas :
The idea of really enjoying challenging situations, and playing in your sport in general, are essential for your growth. Play is essential. Yes, you have to take your sport seriously, and you have to focus on improving, but changing your mindset to include some play will drastically improve your game.
Director of Performance Psychology
Western WI Golf
Your brain doesn’t care if you lie to it.
This is a very important concept to understand when you are beginning to dive into the idea of self-talk. It is completely true: Your brain DOES NOT care if what you tell it is a lie. It simply takes what you tell it and creates your reality. With this idea in mind, it is extremely important to begin to monitor your self-talk and strive to use it to forge the reality you want.
The 5 Different Methods of Self-Talk
There are five different methods in which we can use self-talk to impact our lives: Silent Self-Talk, Self-Speak, Self-Conversation, Self-Write, and Self-Audio.
Silent Self-Talk: Monitor Your Thoughts
The internal thoughts you have on a daily basis is called your silent self-talk.
How can you change negative silent self-talk?
Step 1: The most important step in changing your self-talk is to rid yourself of that little voice telling you that all this “self-talk stuff” is garbage, rubbish, baloney. You need to give yourself permission to buy in.
Step 2: Allow yourself to be aware of the self-talk that is working against you.
Step 3: Immediately turn the negative self-talk around. If you find yourself saying you are always late, instantly tell yourself the opposite: “I am consistently on time!” This turnaround of self-talk will actually change how you feel. If you find your self-talk exclaiming how sad, tired, or upset you feel...change it. Immediately tell yourself you are extremely happy, you are energized, you are calm. Change the signals that are being sent to your brain. Remember, your brain doesn’t care if you are lying to it; it has no moral compass. It will just take what you consistently tell it and create that reality.
Self-Speak: Monitor What You Say Aloud
What you say aloud affects your subconscious, so beginning to monitor your conscious, aloud self-speak is essential. Work to keep your thoughts positive!
Are you complaining?
Complaining is basically negative visualization and it doesn’t change your circumstances: it perpetuates it. When you complain about something going on in your life, you may feel better for a little bit, but it doesn’t change your actual circumstances.
How can you stop?
Try to reframe how you see the problem and find the value. For example, if your boss is sometimes rude and disrespectful, see that as a challenge you can grow from. The situation can be viewed as an opportunity to build patience and kindness in some tough circumstances.
Self-Conversations: Monitor the Conversations You Have With Yourself
The art of talking with yourself aloud and hold multiple sides of a conversation is Self-Conversation. We’ve all done it, so don’t feel like you are crazy. :) Those times when you are making a decision and you say something like, “Well, I think that would be a terrible idea.” And then you say, “You are probably right about that.” ... all aloud…to yourself. Remember, you are NOT crazy.
How can you take advantage of the skill of self-conversation?
One way to utilize self-conversation is to have daily aloud conversations with yourself regarding beneficial topics. For example, begin each day exclaiming, “Good morning! You look like you feel great today! I bet you can handle anything that comes your way!” Then respond, “I feel great and I know today is going to be awesome!” This may seem kind of weird, but I challenge you to try it. Find a private place tomorrow morning, and just try it. You might be amazed how it makes you feel. Why is this effective? It forces you to put thoughts into words, and words have a dramatic impact on how you feel.
Self-Write: The Power of the Written Word
Self-write is the act of creating written or typed messages to read to yourself.
How can you implement Self-Write?
Audio-Talk: Audio Files to Reprogram Your Thoughts
Audio-talk is the act of creating audio files of powerful, positive self-talk statements that you can listen to on a handheld device or computer.
How can you create and utilize Audio-Talk?
HOW TO CREATE AND USE SELF-TALK STATEMENTS
Director of Performance Psychology
Western WI Golf
Echo Visualization (Echoing)
If you are like us in Western Wisconsin, getting on the course this spring has been next to impossible. Mother Nature has been cruel, and this weekend’s snow storm hasn’t helped. If you can’t hit the course, there are still many other ways to improve your game. Golf domes are one option, but mental training can be just as beneficial, so I thought I would share a visualization strategy to give you an edge...particularly how to watch golf and get better.
An "echo" can be defined as a close parallel of a style or event. Echo Visualization means you purposefully view a player watching his or her strategies and techniques. But it goes a step further...you also visualize yourself in that person’s shoes...like you are watching yourself instead of just that player. When that player swings, it is YOU swinging.
The Power of Echo Visualization
When Tiger Woods was an infant, he spent hours watching his dad hit golf balls into a net in their garage. Tiger would sit in a high chair soaking in each strike of the ball. In essence, Tiger was purposefully visualizing. By the time Tiger was nine months old, he was able to hit his own ball into the net. By watching his dad, it was a form of Echo Visualization.
Vonn Miller, linebacker for the Denver Broncos, was once confronted by a reporter: “You play so much like Derek Thomas of the Chiefs. It is amazing!” Miller then explained how honored he was because Thomas was his favorite player. Miller revealed that he spent time every day in college watching film clips of Thomas. Miller’s hours and hours of analyzing his favorite player had allowed many skills and techniques to transfer to his own game. Another success story of Echo Visualization.
How to Echo
Echoing can work for you on the golf course, and here are some steps to success:
Echo Visualization will not only help you through times when you can’t get on the course, but you will improve your game and learn along the way.
Director of Performance Psychology, Western WI Golf