Improving Your Self-Talk in Golf
Communication is a necessary skill to succeed in any endeavor in this world. In order to get what you want, you must be able to communicate in positive terms.
Imagine walking into a coffee shop to get your morning caffeine fix and yelling at the barista, “Make my darn coffee now, you worthless piece of humanity.”
Chances are, if you do get your coffee, it will be thrown at you.
You will always fall short in getting what you want if your language is negative and demeaning.
I guess you are thinking, “How does this apply to golf ? I don’t need coffee to golf.”
Correct, coffee is not necessary to play your best golf, but positive self-talk is essential. When your internal dialogue is negative, you start to focus on the worst that can happen. Negative self-talk leads to anxiety, negative images and strong negative emotions. No golfer can play a productive round of golf when their internal voice is constantly berating them.
No. 5 ranked golfer Jordan Spieth admitted he can get mentally trapped by negative thoughts and points to negative self-talk as the reason for his performance dip in 2016.
Spieth stated that he tends to over-analyze and over-think his shots and acknowledges that he is too self-critical.
Heading into 2017, Spieth is focused on improving his performance by not buying into the negative mental chatter.
SPIETH: “I told (caddie) Michael (Greller) before the round [at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational] that I’m going to start for the rest of the year to be a lot stronger mentally than I’ve been and not dwell in conversation on each shot.”
Spieth’s strategy to combat his negative self-talk is to speed up his play.
SPIETH: “The quicker part actually helps me because then I just get up there and fire away. The more I can do that, actually I think the better off kind of gun slinging mentality, just to go up and hit the way I always have played.”
Spieth’s conscious attempt to improve his self-talk provides evidence that you can direct your inner dialogue to enhance your play on the golf course. And that’s not all… Your positive self-talk will seep into other areas in your life. What an added bonus!
Try these 4 proven strategies to improve YOUR self-talk:
Strategy #1: Challenge your self-talk through reality testing. Ask yourself, “What is my evidence for and against my thinking?” By consciously challenging your negative thoughts, you can expose those thoughts as being irrational.
Strategy #2: Find the positive. Is there another way to look at this situation? Can I rebound from this or use this situation as a learning experience for the future?
Strategy #3: Be a friend. What advice would you give your friend who is in a similar situation? How can you apply that advice to your experience?
Strategy #4: Flip the script. Instead of fretting over worst-case scenarios, ask yourself, “What is the best thing that can happen?” This positive approach will squelch the negative voices and allow you to focus on your current shot.
Recognizing that you have the power to change you self-talk can motivate you to look at things from a different perspective.