5 Keys To Mental Toughness For Junior Golfers
If you have any interest in seeing first hand the impact that mental toughness has on sport performance, go no further than the PGA or LPGA Qualifying tournaments or "Q-School". Each year for the past several years, I have worked with players on site during this event. A great many of the conversations that the players have are a rehashing of their performance this past year on the PGA, LPGA, Nationwide, or mini-tour circuits. What I have heard frequently are things that could help the junior golfer get a head start in his or her career.
In attempting to describe why they hadn't reached their outcome goals for the season I hear these professional players repeatedly talk to one another about "trying too hard", "not letting it happen out there", "playing tentative" and many other frequently used mental game phrases. The challenge for many of these professionals is not only to sharpen their swings and putting strokes for this critical week, but to sharpen their mental games as well. The players who do well in Q-School are the ones that will follow some basic rules about the mental game. Each of these also has application for the junior golfer:
1. Keep each shot in perspective. This is especially true in a 108-hole tournament. Q-School, of all tournaments, is understood to be a marathon and not a sprint. There is no rational reason to be unnerved by a bad hole or two. Similarly, the junior golfer has years and years of opportunities ahead. There is no particular shot in any tournament that is "life or death".
2. Focus on the task rather than the outcome. This is probably the most difficult of the "basics" for players to follow. It is natural to think about the result and then the consequences of the result. This thinking will not help get the job done. Whenever these thoughts come to mind, replace them with thoughts of the immediate task at hand.
3. Breathe. Even the best in the world get tense in this type of situation. That tension can increase a player's tendency to hold his breath in anticipation of a shot or a putt. This then impacts muscle tension even more, and potentially affects his ability to swing the club smoothly. Deep breaths = slower heart rate and less physiological tension. Creating a habit of doing this as a junior player will be invaluable as your golf career progresses.
4. Remember that you cannot control things. Anyone who plays this game knows that something unexpected happens in nearly every round. A great tee shot lands in a divot, a club you've been hitting well all week suddenly starts getting shaky, or a two-foot putt is missed. The successful players in Q-School and elsewhere will recognize that they have control only over their preparation and reactions, and not over anything else. If they know they've prepared the best they could for each shot, and know that they are capable of controlling their reaction after each shot, they've done all they can possibly do to achieve their goals. Move on to the next one.
5. Play to succeed. Nearly every year there is a player or two held up at the end of Q-School as an example of a late tournament collapse. In nearly all of those instances, the player interviewed will speak of having thoughts of "trying to hold on" or "trying not to make a big number". Many players will have a tendency to play to avoid mistakes and/or prevent something bad from happening. The players who are successful are those who are confident in their abilities to go out and get the job done, and will be playing to succeed rather than to avert failure.
These mental game essentials will help you as a junior player ingrain habits that can help you reach the ultimate golf goals for which you strive!
Jeff Troesch, MA, LMHC is an internationally recognized expert in the mental side of golf. As the former Director of Sport Psychology for the David Leadbetter Golf Academies, Jeff has worked with thousands of golfers nationwide and brings a wealth of experience to seasoned golf professionals as well as the recreational golf lover. You may contact Jeff directly through his website, http://www.fitnessforgolf.com.
Golf Exercise Tip ? How To Warm Up
A useful golf exercise tip to take into consideration is the fact that warming up before your game of golf can dramatically help you improve the quality of your game.The warm up session does not need to be something elaborate or strenuous. You can get creative and take a brisk walk from your car to the course.The idea is to get your muscles warm before you even ...(related: Golf)
What Should I Know About Biomechanics Of The Golf Swing?
If you've read some of my articles in the past, we focused a lot on training the body to help you provide more power, consistency and accuracy to your golf swing.Today,...(related: Golf)
Why Golf Swing Training Aids Have Not Worked For You
Golf swing training aids have a bad reputation with most amateur golfers. Many of them have been victims to aggressive companies selling golf swing training aids.The result is that many of them ended up making purchases without first focusing on the specific weaknesses in their game that they want to correct. Others purchased golf swing training aids without the benefit of expert advice.Many times the appr...(related: Golf)
Golf Humor Poetry:- Ode To The Fanatical Golfer. (part Two)
He's not eager to reveal his handicap;Around the truth he would often tap.They told him his game was taking a nap;That it never showed up; it needed a map!Of his golf apparel he was Oh so proud!But people thought it was just too 'loud'.Often suggesting it needed a shroud;This caused a fight; a rolling dust cloud!To his heart, golf was the key.It was on the green his soul felt free.He could hardly await the time for 'tee';But club dues must be paid; this ride's got a fee.Once in a blue moon he made a birdey;Though he knew much about golf (a little nerdy).About to tee off- his feet stood sturd...(related: Golf)
Perform Better Golf By Training Your Body
What will it take to get you to perform better golf? I'll bet you've tried the gimmicky golf t...(related: Golf)
Golf Swing Technique And How To Improve It
There are two approaches to achieving a better golf swing. There is improving your physical capabilities?and improving your golf swing technique.How many times has your teaching pro recommended a golf swing technique...(related: Golf)
Do You Understand Golf Club Swing Weight
Golf club swing weight. Have you heard that term before?A rather effective method of improving the golf swing is by adding extra weight to the club and then going through the motions of swing...(related: Golf)
Golf Tips ? A Good Thinking Head Makes A Better Golfer
Golf is a wonderful game but we all want to improve a little bit more and for some a lot more. There can be many contributing factors as to why you find that you are not playing consistently every week or the fact that your handicap seems to be going up a notch instead of the reverse. We all need advice and starting with t...(related: Golf)
Understanding The Rotary Nature Of The Golf Swing
The golf swing is really a rotary movement in nature.Actually part of the real secret behind the perfect golf swing has to do with a golfer understanding the rotary motions in the golf swing and being able to perfect and master them.This is of course easier said than done. In the past many golfers have had to struggle for decades trying to get their golf swing right with poor results at best. Most hardly ever achieved a good consistent golf swing, let alone getting to understand the key rotary movements in the golf swing motion.However in recent years a short-cut of sorts has emerged where golf specific exercises which include both strength building and stretch exercises have worked miracles in helping numerous golfers of all ages to dramatically improve on their golf swing. Many have done so by getting the rotary motions in the golf...(related: Golf)
Golf Schools Require Golf Fitness
Are you planning on attending a golf school on your next golf vacation? Don't expect to kick your feet up, relax with a cold beer and nap every couple of hours. Furthermore, don't expect to enjoy your learning experience unless you prepare yourself physically. Golf schools require at least a minimum level of golf fitness.All golf vacation schools are not the same. But most do have one thing in common. You will swing a golf club much more than usual and this will put your body through more stress than a normal round of golf.The last thing you want to do on your golf school vacation is to wake up so sore that you can not enjoy your next day of golf instruction. Also, if your body is sore and tired, chances are your mental capability for learning will suffer.Here are a few quick tips to prepare...(related: Golf)
Get Moving And Save Strokes
Whether you walk the course or ride a cart, a round of golf can leave the aerobically unfit golfer dragging by the late holes. Aerobic training improves lung capacity, circulation, and muscular endurance and leads to better performance and better overall health. The benefits of being aerobically fit aren't limited to physical performance; studies have shown aerobic exercise to improve resistance to mental stress (a major plus for the golfer). A dedicated aerobic training plan will help you save stokes by allowing you to maintain peak physical and mental performance throughout the round.Aerobic conditioning should be performed three to six days per week for at least 20 to 30 min at your target heart rate. Training at the proper intensity is the key to aerobic training. During exercise we physically stress our body and it ...(related: Golf)