How many times have you approached a shot while still considering your exploits on the previous hole or even your previous round? Or, perhaps, allowed your thoughts to drift to dropping just one shot in the next six holes to break your handicap? Forecasting can be as dangerous as reminiscing.
Actioning the elements you have direct control over is a key step to peak performance. Basically, you have control over you in the present. You can’t change what has happened in the past, so why waste energy reliving it?
You can’t guarantee what will happen in the future. If you hit the perfect drive, do you always find a great lie? Again, you have no control over the bounce of the ball, so why fret?
It is natural to have a discussion with yourself as your conscience decides on the best route to take. The difference between those that perform and those that don’t is their ability to lead that conversation.
Using the following process will give you the best chance of delivering.
Andrew Jowett's mental game tips
Possible: The way in which you frame your internal questions is paramount to your success. Thinking of negatives will generally lead to negative results. Don’t think of a pink elephant! What happens? On the flip side, being too positive can lead to disappointment.
“I will hole this putt! I will hole this putt!” doesn’t guarantee success and eventually leads to self doubt should you always miss. There is, however, a third option: neutral thinking. “Is it possible...” Your new three favourite words. Is it possible I can hole this putt? Yes. Does it definitely go in? No. Does it definitely miss? No. Framing your questions in this way allows for internal honesty and leads to clarity...
Clarity: Now you’ve accepted a result is possible, you must gain clarity through analysing shot choice. What will influence the shot: lie, weather, course conditions? Have you ever played a similar shot with success? Can you recall that experience and apply it to your pre-shot routine? The memories of previous success can often aid the introduction of a calm mental state.
"Give this structured thought process a try and see how thinking differently can successfully influence your game." - Andrew Jowett
Action: Once you’ve decided on your shot choice, let it happen. Execute with confidence in the decisions you’ve made.
Result: There will be a result.
Deal with it: Now for the tough test. Whatever has happened has happened. Good or bad. You have no further control. Go back to the top of the process and start again for the next shot.
Give this structured thought process a try and see how thinking differently can successfully influence your game.