There’s always a mad dash this time of year to arm onesself with the latest and greatest Ping, Callaway, or Titltist , or to hit the range and shake off the rust from the months of inactivity. How about spending some of that time preparing your mental game? Here’s how:
1.) COME TO TERMS WITH THE FACT THAT YOU DO HAVE A MENTAL GAME.
(eg. you’re generally an optimistic player, out for fun and nothing really gets to you; or you’re a highly competitive player whose game gets shakey as the pressure mounts; or when things are going great you’re great to be with, but when it’s not going your way you’re miserable; you’re a thoughtful, strategic player; or your decisions become questionable at different times in the round).
2.) ACCEPT THAT THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. ( e.g., self-confidence, attitude control, motivation level, negative energy, positive energy, attention control, and imagery control).
3.) MAKE A COMMITMENT THIS YEAR TO MAKE A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER. ( it’s always best to make that commitment known to another person. It helps with the accountability).
4.) SPEND SOME TIME THINKING ABOUT AND VISUALIZING YOUR BEST AND MOST DISAPPOINTING PERFORMANCES OF LAST SEASON.
5.) WHAT WAS PARTICULARLY NOTICEABLE ABOUT YOUR THINKING/FEELING IN BOTH THOSE PERFORMANCES? BE VERY SPECIFIC AND WRITE IT DOWN!
6.) IDENTIFY ONE OR TWO POSITIVES FROM THESE SCENES THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO REINFORCE FOR THE UPCOMING SEASON AND WRITE IT DOWN!
7.) IDENTIFY ONE OR TWO NEGATIVES FROM THESE SCENES THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO ELIMINATE FOR THE UPCOMING SEASON AND WRITE IT DOWN!
8.) BE VERY SPECIFIC IN YOUR DESCRIPTIONS OF THE THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS (i.e., the content of the thinking and/or the quality of the feeling, or the way you carried yourself).
9.) BE VERY SPECIFIC IN YOUR DESCRIPTIONS OF THE SITUATIONS (e.g., What was the context? Was it an important competition; were people watching; were you about to shoot a career round; were you trying to qualify for an important tournament?). WRITE IT DOWN!
10.) IDENTIFY SPECIFIC CUES THAT TELL YOU WHERE YOUR MENTAL GAME IS OR WHERE IT’S HEADED (e.g., you’re noticing more self- doubt than usual, you’re breathing is getting more shallow, things are moving too fast, it’s hard to visualize what you want to do).
11.) NOW SET SOME GOALS THAT ADDRESS EACH OF THESE POINTS. ( e.g., “increase my of level of composure at critical points in competition;” or “staying positive and focused even after a bad start.”).
12.) WRITE DOWN SPECIFIC THINGS YOU WILL DO IN THOSE SITUATIONS NOTED IN #9 TO COUNTER THE NEGATIVES OR TO REINFORCE THE POSITIVES ( e.g.,” when I notice myself reacting too quickly and feeling panicky I’ll take a few moments to focus on my breathing and consciously slow down my pace of play.”).
13.) AFTER EACH ROUND RATE YOURSELF ON HOW WELL YOU DID ( 1= almost never did what I planned; 2= seldom; 3= sometimes; 4= often; and 5= almost always).
14.) CONTINUE TO DO THIS EVERYTIME YOU PLAY. MAKE ADJUSTMENTS ALONG THE WAY AS THINGS COME UP AND NEW IDEAS COME TO YOU ABOUT BETTER WAYS TO KEEP YOU HEADED THE RIGHT WAY.
15.) ENJOY THE IMPROVEMENT IN YOURSELF AND YOUR GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!