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Keep the C-word to yourself

The start of the month bought a trip to Turkey for some coaching and some golf. Really nice to see some sun and it was a cracking trip. We got back just before the mayhem started. I decided after two days what this months article was going to be about as I moved around the 20 golfers listening to every excuse in the book. I even heard four Germans trying to outdo each other on the first tee with the worst injury as their excuse. The sauna one won but thankfully he didn’t elaborate or my German did not stretch to it. It does not seem to matter where you play you hear a similar conversation among amateur golfers. Once you have served your apprenticeship you join in and start to trot out the same old cliches as your playing partners have been doing for years. It’s a way of fitting in so it’s a natural thing to do. The trouble is a number of these are really holding back your game. Some set the tone even before you have hit a shot. “I feel stiff”. “Anything could happen today I have not hit a shot for two weeks”. “ I hate the first tee”. You have not even hit a ball yet and my bet is you aren’t going to start well with this mindset. A couple of these are easily fixed and you don’t really need me to say loosen up and then warm-up. This will give your confidence a boost when your playing partners start with the excuses. They are already reinforcing that you have put yourself in a good position. Stood on the first tee last week and a playing partner said I hate the first tee I’m too nervous. My response was I love it. I think it sharpens my focus and gets my attention where it needs to be. He gave me a look of disbelief because I think all he was expecting was a ‘me too’. But why shouldn’t that be the case? It’s only another way of looking at the same event (reframing), the opening tee shot. The list of these cliches or excuses is seemingly endless but below are just a few reframed with a positive perspective. ‘I knew I was going to do that’. Another often-heard phrase or anguished cry. Well done! Sounds like you have perfectly executed what you were visualising. You just need to change what you see. It really is no surprise that if that was what you thought was going happen, it did. Again you are using the power of the mind against you rather than for you. Jack Nicklaus never hit a shot until he could see the successful shot in his mind. Then he was ready to execute. Be realistic, in line with your ability, and make sure you have a good visual before you step in. ‘Three putting the first, that’s set the tone for the rest of the round’. If you are a believer in this then in effect what you are telling yourself on the way to the second tee is I am going to have a bad putting day. Lo and behold you probably will. You have fulfilled your own prophecy. If only I could predict the lottery with the same certainty. Why would you not look at it another way? I usually average 32 putts. My statistics say I usually have one three putt per round and it can come at anytime, therefore, I have had it and the rest of the round I should putt well. ‘I played great yesterday so that will never happen today’. Hopefully, if you have got the gist of the article you can see where this is going. You can be certain you won’t repeat your form today as you have already set the expectation and created a ceiling for yourself. Why would you not be saying to yourself I am in great form but even that can be better as there were still areas yesterday that I could have done better. Today is that opportunity. Think twice before you use these cliches. Even if initially you are just using the language to ‘fit in’, it sticks. You choose your own mindset. Don’t let yours be set by others or tradition.

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