The aim of mental golf coaching is to help you control your emotions. If you can control your emotions on the golf course then you are at a big advantage.
In golf we have too much time to think – this can affect our emotional state
I’m sure you’ve felt some or all of these emotions on the golf course:
and probably many more…
The ‘problem’ with golf is that you have a lot of time to think about things between shots (which can make you even angrier) and your emotional state can have a huge effect on your golf swing. This is especially true when putting – the smallest change to your normal stroke can be the difference between holing a putt and missing a putt.
Take control of your emotions – test yourself now!
I have a quick test for you to prove that you can control your emotions. Simply SMILE for a few seconds and concentrate on how you feel. I’m not talking about a weedy little grimace – think of something that makes you really happy and REALLY SMILE.
How do you feel?
I’m sure you feel happy inside. The physical act of smiling releases endorphins that make you feel happy. In a similar way by thinking of the right things you can of course make yourself feel sad or worse still for golf – angry.
Outside factors can affect your emotions in golf such as what your competitors have done or getting an unlucky bounce, but I hope this simple test has proven how easy it is to control your own emotions.
The fundamental aim of mental golf coaching is to help you control your emotions
Hitting certain golf shots and thinking about them can affect your emotions. If you’ve just missed a short putt you are more likely to arrive at the next tee feeling frustrated or angry than happy! Having said that, positive emotions can have a bad impact on your golf too. If you’ve just made a birdie you often start thinking about winning the match. And this emotional state can of course have an impact on your next shot.
What should your emotional state be when you hit a golf shot?
The answer is simple – EMOTIONLESS. But it’s a difficult emotional state to achieve!
There is more than one way to breathe
You’re probably thinking ‘What does this have to do with controlling your emotional state?’ Stay with me and I will reveal all…
When you are born you naturally breathe with your belly. Most (or even all) of us transition to breathing with our chests as we grow. I say most… Some cultures in the Far East encourage children to continue belly breathing and for a good reason…
How do YOU breathe?
Here is another easy test to see how you normally breathe:
- Sit upright on a chair
- Place one hand on your stomach
- Close your eyes
- Breathe normally focusing on your hand
Does your hand go in and out as you breathe or up and down?
If it’s going in and out you are using your belly muscles to breathe – this is called ‘belly breathing. If it’s going a little up and down then you are breathing through your chest – this is called ‘chest breathing’. If you are chest breathing it’s also likely that your shoulders are going up and down a little – far from ideal when trying to hole a crucial short putt.
If you’re still not sure how you breathe try standing in front of a mirror and breathe normally. If you see your shoulders going up and down a little then you are chest breathing.
Focusing on belly breathing to control your emotions
Focusing (and I mean REALLY FOCUS) on belly breathing will benefit you on the golf course in two important ways:
- Your emotional state will become neutral or ‘emotionless’
- Your shoulders will stop going up and down
Not only does this help when putting, but in all your golf shots when you need to control your emotions. Focus on your belly breathing just before you are about to start the stroke and keep focusing on it until you’ve completed your swing – including putts of course!
As you’ll know if you’ve read some of my other mental golf coaching tips, the aim is to control your conscious mind and let your subconscious mind take over. To do this you need to focus on something other than the actual task at hand – such as swinging a golf hamburg!
Focusing on your breathing will really help you achieve this and at the same time help you control your emotions.
I really hope this will help you perform better in all situations, but especially when emotions are running high or low. Let me know how you are getting on by leaving your comments below.
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