Improve your athletic performance with Mental Toughness
SportsMechanics.com welcomes Protex Sports Psychology Consulting! New to the SportsMechanics.com content library will be featured articles from John Ellsworth, founder of Protex Sports. These articles will provide a sound fundamental approach to mental toughness for athletes, coaches and teams. In addition to learning the proper mechanics and instruction with our video library, we will enhance the entire sports coaching experience with tips from Protex Sports.
10 Steps to Being the Best Putter – Period
May 3rd 2012
The last time you and I talked you were concerned about not being able to get the lag putts close enough to two putt the hole. You even mentioned that you are expecting the lag putts to go in the hole and when they don’t you get frustrated. You often say, “I should be making the 15 and 20 footers.”
“Your performance has a way of living up to your expectations.” - (Arnold Palmer) The #1 mental game challenge for all athletes is high expectations because expectations affect everything including confidence.
I've helped golfers get to a higher level of success with their putting by implementing a strategy, following the strategy verbatim, and trusting in the process that success will indeed happen. Without this mindset approach the golfer will almost always ask the, "what if" questions. It's the "what if" self-talk that kills the success you've achieved by discounting the positive in favor of what you haven't achieved.
My Secret to Winning at Putting:
The secret to winning with putting is to be the absolute best at putts under 6 feet, and to improve the quality of your misses on lag putts. You can't totally eliminate the misses, but you can put together a strategy to limit your misses and by doing so improve the overall percentage of success with lag putts. First things first!
The very first thing in my book is to get extremely good at the under 6 foot putts. We have talked about the drills, and I have espoused the fact that you must be as close to 100% confident in the shorter putts first because they make up a higher percentage of the total putts in a round. These are the putts you can’t afford to miss.
The second thing in my book that affects “all golfers” is the tendency toward over thinking. Excessive thinking clouds the mind with unnecessary chatter and handicaps the mind’s eye from seeing clearly. If you are a perfectionist you over think, and it has to do with the pressure and demands you place on yourself to be successful.
“There’s a very fine line between perseverance and constantly striving for improvement, and the debilitating form perfectionism.” -- Bob Rotella.
Here are 10 steps I strongly recommend for putting:
- Accept the fact that you aren’t perfect, and will not reach perfection with your putting. You will get close, but you will not be perfect with all putts.
- Accept the notion that you can get close to perfect on all putts within 6 feet. This is achievable! It’s an objective, but not a demand. It’s about getting really confident, and trusting in the fact you can make 80% of these putts 100% of the time, but is also accepting there is a 10-20% chance of error.
- Believe you can get 80% of your lag putts within 5-6 feet of the cup 80-100% of the time. It’s tough to be perfect, but you can get close. The probability of making lag putts from 15 feet is pretty good, but the further from 15 feet the lower the probability of success because more variables come into play.
- Set a goal to become the BEST putter on the tour from within 6 feet. I am serious about this. As you develop this skill your subconscious mind will feed your conscious mind with feedback supporting the fact that you can execute these putts with total confidence.
- Set a second goal to be the best lag putter from 20-30 feet to within 5-6 feet of the cup 80-100% of the time. After you master this, then enhance the goal to within 3-5 feet. It’s really important you establish goals and objectives that are reasonably achievable so you establish a solid base of confidence before moving to more challenging goals.
- Write down your goals in your journal. You are 10 times more likely to achieve goals when you write them down.
- Reduce the pressure on yourself. I know what you are trying to achieve and I want you to achieve it, but the more you press the less energy you have to use on the things you can contro.
- Incorporate positive self-talk into your daily routine. Train your subconscious mind to think first about the good things that are happening and will continue to happen.
- Start to visualize success and achieving your goals. This is really important because it helps your mood, confidence, trust, and overall belief you can and will do this. You must begin to prepare for success in advance of success. The act of preparing for success will train your subconscious to send success oriented messages to your conscious mind.
- Implement a daily practice plan focused on your weaknesses. It’s the weaknesses that will keep you from success, both technical and mental, and not the skills you have mastered.
“Gee, when I'm concentrating and playing real good, I can’t think.” --Yogi Berra
Check out John's ProtexSports.com home page for a free mental toughness assesment and to schedule an appointment!