Building Confidence in Golf
What’s the one ingredient that affects athletic performance the most?
You are probably rifling through a myriad of factors that affect performance:
- Being healthy enough to compete
- Playing a lot of practice rounds
- Having great technique
- Setting appropriate goals
- Focusing on the current shot or blocking out distractions
- Restraining yourself from hurling your golf clubs in the trees after a bad shot… and the list goes on.
Yes, all these contribute to optimal performance but there is one underlying element that influences these contributing factors… CONFIDENCE!
Here is how confidence works:
- Confidence lessens anxiety, thus reducing muscle tension. Lower levels of muscle tension reduce the risk of injury.
- Confidence gives you a sense of control over your production on the golf course. When you know what you do affects how you play, you are more motivated to practice and work on your technique.
- Confidence helps keep you poised and focused on the current shot instead of beating yourself up over the last shot and worrying about what might be your astronomical score at the end of the round.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello has benefited from improved confidence in his first season on the Tour.
Heading into the 2016 Hong Kong Open, Cabrera-Bello believes he can pull out a victory.
What gives 32 year-old Cabrera-Bello the confidence to believe he can win the Open when he has yet to lock up a Tour victory?
There are a number of reasons: Cabrera-Bello has made the cut in each Major, Cabrera-Bello played his way onto the European Ryder Cup team, Cabrera-Bello finished fifth in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and Cabrera-Bello has steadily moved up the rankings from 144th in the world to his current standing of 33.
These successes, when built upon each other, improve confidence… and, with more confidence, you put yourself in position to further succeed.
Conversely, if you focus on all your shortcomings, mistakes, bad shots and poor rounds, you deconstruct your confidence.
Cabrera-Bello’s focus on confidence building has him optimistic at the Hong Kong Open.
CABRERA-BELLO: “There’s been a lot of work with the mental side of my [game]. I feel like… the hard work is paying off as I become a better all round golfer. I know now how to handle every situation I face far better than I have before. It’s been a process of learning to understand my emotions better and have a better attitude no matter what the circumstances.”
To clarify, success is a matter of seeing the things you do well and there is always something you did well.
Even in your worst round ever, you can find one or two things you did well:
- Sinking a long putt
- Stroking a great recovery shot
- Playing a hole well that you haven’t played well in the past, etc.
Commit to being a strength finder and you will become the confident golfer you’ve always wanted to be, just like Cabrera-Bello.
Top Confidence Building Strategy
Start your personal success journal. Write down your strengths, improvements and successes. No personal win is too small.
After each tournament, find those successes to include in your journal. Make a personal commitment to building your confidence.