It has been said by many professional golfers, that the most important distance in golf is the six inches between your ears. I agree completely. Training or changing the way you think about yourself and your golf game, could be the door opener to take your game to the next threshold.
There is a lot of talk about sports psycholog these days. Is it worth it? Is it important? Is it a waste of time? It is my belief that it is terribly important. In life and certainly in golf, self deprecation can become normal and comfortable. It becomes a safety blanket from success. When you give yourself negative self talk you train yourself to fail. When you tell yourself you can’t, you won’t! Our minds are extremely powerful. But also very fragile. That being said, it is important to be mindful of what we tell ourselves about ourselves.
Obviously you can not simply cheerlead yourself to victory in golf and in life. You have to do the work. In golf that means many things. It means you must practice your swing. You must work on your strength and flexibility. Your putting, your chipping, bunker play, and so on…. But the best of the best separate themselves from the rest by mastering the gray matter between their ears. Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus are masters of this. As are countless other athletes in many other sports.
As stated before, sports psychology and positive self talk will not make you a winner all by itself. There is no substitute for hard work on your craft. But, it is part of your craft. Some people are very good at training their minds all by themselves. Some people need the help of a professional. But whether a person is mentally strong all by themselves, or with the help and experience of others… Make no mistake, the cream of the crop are strong mentally.
The good news is anyone can get better between the ears. Much like we can all be better physically. The first thing that needs to be done is to personally asses your own ability to control your “golf attitude”. How good are you at not beating yourself up? How much do you self deprecate? How long do you hold on to the feelings of a poor shot?? There is nothing wrong with expecting a lot of one’s self. But there is a fine line between what is helping you get better and what is causing you to get worse. So give yourself a check-up. Then attempt to make some changes on your own. Just like working on yourself from a physical standpoint or golf swing standpoint, you may need the help of a professional. You may not. But either way, if you are truly trying to get better at this amazing game, you better pay attention to the six inches between your ears.