Positive Thinking

blogEntryTopperThe theory:
There are many references in golf literature extolling the benefits of positive thinking. The belief is that you can combat your negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. This serves to reduce anxiety, promote higher levels of self-confidence and therefore improve performance levels.

The situation:
You are standing on the tee with a driver in hand, the fairway ahead of you seems narrow and far away. You need to win this hole in order to have a chance of winning your match. Not to worry, you have been doing your positive thinking exercises and you are now ready to tee off.

The shot outcome:
Unfortunately you slice your drive into the trees and there is a good chance you won’t be able to find the ball, let alone play a recovery shot to put yourself back in position.

What happened:
Your mind is now presented with a contradiction between your expected result and your actual result. Your mind knows that you weren’t being honest with your positive assessment. You could visualise driving off that hole in the most vivid detail 100 times and never fail to hit a good tee shot but your belief would not be grounded in reality. You need evidence that you are able to achieve something successfully before you can think about it positively. This means you must have a solid foundation of core skills that enable you to complete the required task. As the saying goes, competence breeds confidence, not vice-versa.

What next:
It is counter productive to keep telling yourself you excel at something when all evidence you have is to the contrary. If you are keen to improve, ask yourself:
“What must I change and work on in order to improve my results?”