Keep Your Game Insulated From Your Playing PartnerCopyright © 1999 - 2035 Craig Townsend
Even though golf is mostly a game where you generally compete with yourself, it is surprisingly easy to be affected by your playing partner and their game - if you are not vigilant.
Believe it or not, just a few chosen words uttered by your playing partner, and even the simple act of watching them play a bad shot can surprisingly have - if you are not careful - a negative impact upon your game (but luckily not now that you are reading this article!). Let me explain.
If your playing partner is having a particularly bad day, they can often make some rather negative or self-demeaning comments about how bad their game is today, or possibly even how difficult the conditions are, etc. Whilst it does not matter quite so much what you say to these comments in response, it is absolutely crucial as to what your mental response to this is.
For instance, if you find yourself mentally agreeing with these negative comments, you may open yourself up to a possible and classic case of mental sabotage. This is where you find yourself suddenly focusing upon some of the negative conditions of the game or the course, instead of playing with the positively-focused mind you had been up until that point of the found. It is no mystery that focusing upon 'negatives' - no matter how subtle, is one of the quickest ways to sabotage an excellent round, even if you have just played some fabulous holes.
This may sound a little melodramatic, but it actually takes exceedingly little to change your mental environment whilst on the course, especially if you are unsuspecting - and this should be guarded against very closely every time you play competition, or even a practice round for that matter. Needless to say, this is not to say that your playing partner would be trying in any way to de-rail your game - most mental sabotage is usually done quite easily by oneself!
So if you are thinking negatively about your shot before you start, walk away from the shot and silently recite a positive mantra that can quickly change your mental attitude around (eg. possibly something like "I'm getting better and better").
Amazingly, this sabotage can even occur by the simple act of watching your playing partner miss a shot. By now, having read from my golftips just how important mental images are to your next shot, you would realise how disastrous it would be to hit your tee shot with the fresh image in your mind of the terrible slice that your playing partner just hit!
If you do not cancel this mental image from your mind before you set up for your shot, you can often find that you replicate that very shot you were just watching your playing partner hit. This is simply caused by the predominant mental image which is in your mind before you hit the shot - so it is very important to delete any previous negative images from your mind before you move up for your next shot. Even better, run some positive images of your next shot through your mind before you set up for it.
If you find it difficult to mentally erase the image of your playing partner's last shot (and some images can be more difficult to forget than others!), mentally replace their shot with another shot instead - by simply conjuring up images of them making a brilliant shot instead!
Regardless of what you do, never ever begin your shot in a negative frame of mind.Even though you play golf with a playing partner, in the crucial moments before each and every shot, you must mentally become an island, totally unaffected by the outside world and focused purely upon the positive outcome of your own shots, not anyone else's.
As long as you are watchful of your mental state directly before each shot, you can be as relaxed with your playing partner as you wish to be - as mental sabotage only generally occurs to the unsuspecting.
So be aware of your mental state before each shot, and ensure that you have only the best expectations. Remember, we don't get what we deserve, we get what we expect!
"The Mind controls the body, and the Mind is Unlimited"
The best of success, Craig Townsend
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