The Mental Game – The Power of Positive Thinking
By Anthony Broussard
When trying to figure out what my first ever golf instruction article was going to be about, I went back to my recent playing days and thought about the most important thing in golf, the mind. Why is the mind so important? Why do you have to have a good mind to play your best? What does having a good mind have to do with hitting good golf shots?
The short answer is a confident mind has more power than a negative one. A confident mind relaxes the body while a negative mind makes the body tense. Good technique with a negative mindset will still hit bad shots, whereas bad technique, to a certain extent, with a positive mindset will hit more good shots than you would imagine. The times in my career where I was able to shoot scores in the low 60s dramatically increased when I was confident versus when I was not. No change in technique and only a change in mindset gave me the power to pull off the shot.
The long answer has to do with the conscious mind, subconscious mind, and self-image. The conscious mind possesses golf knowledge. It knows what to do in certain situations, like bad lies, club selection, how to make the ball curve a certain direction, how to hit the ball low, high, etc. The subconscious mind is how talented you are, your ability to hit certain shots. A guy that can hit a 3-wood from 260 and make it stop on the green, would have a larger subconscious mind than a person that can’t consistently get the ball in the air. The self-image is how you view yourself, how much confidence you have in your ability to hit a good golf shot. Let’s say you have a conscious mind the size of a beach ball, a subconscious mind the same size and your self-image the same size, then you would have a mental game that would allow you to get the maximum out of your ability. 2000 Tiger Woods is a prime example. So, if your conscious and subconscious mind are the size of beach balls and your self-image is the size of a soccer ball you can only get, hypothetically about 30 percent efficiency out of your subconscious (your talent).
Since your ability to play your best golf has to do directly with how confident you are, let’s talk about how to cradle your confidence. First and foremost, we must do away with labeling shots good or bad and realize that all “bad” shots are opportunities to learn and “good” shots are opportunities to gain confidence and grow the self-image. So, after every shot that does not turn out like you want, you should identify what went wrong, i.e. did you select the wrong club, misjudge the wind, get distracted, or not perform the swing correctly. Then rehearse the shot visualizing yourself do the correct thing and see the shot going where you want it to go. The self-image does not know the difference between a real shot and one that is rehearsed. This is also true with how you talk to yourself, people that have lots of negative self-talk are the ones who have the least amount of confidence and vise-versa.
Overachievers do this sort of thing. They have positive self-talk and always learn from their mistakes. Be an overachiever! Golf is a lot more fun when you overachieve. The next time you find yourself on the course or practicing build your confidence by talking positively to yourself about your game and learn from the shots that don’t turn out how you want them to.
Anthony Broussard is the founder of Pure Swing Golf, an indoor golf training facility, in Dallas, Texas. Anthony played collegiate golf at The University of North Texas and has over eight years of high level professional playing experience including playing in the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, winning the 2014 Texas State Open, and winning three other professional tournaments. Follow Anthony on Instagram @psgdallas and visit his website www.pureswinggolf.com to learn more.