Mentally Rehearse For Competition GolfCopyright © 1999 - 2035 Craig Townsend
One of the most common stories in golf has to be the player who plays absolutely brilliantly in practice, only to bomb out badly on competition day.
This can happen due to many factors, but the main one is simply the stress of competition. And one of the main reasons for stress is simply that no-one plays competition as regularly as they practice. If a golfer played five times in a week, the odds are that only one of those times would be actual competition, and the other 4 would be practice rounds. This is absolutely fine, except that in a way, it also means that they might be getting more practice at practicing than they are getting at competition!
The way around this is to practice your 'competition golf' during practice as well - both physically and mentally.
For instance, many golfers relax so much in practice during the week that they often practice shots that they would never, ever try in a competition situation. Whilst it's good to do this at certain times for the purpose of experimentation and further development, it also makes sense to practice the shots that you will truly need (and honestly use) under the true heat of competition play.
Practice the shots that you would normally choose to hit if you were playing competition,and you will find that these shots will become stronger, more consistent and more reliable when you actually play competition. Of course, feel free to practice your more daring shots as well, but take care not to ignore the shots you would realistically use in competition.
Many players practice shots that they simply are never willing to try in the heat of competition, and so much of their practice time is actually wasted - as they are not practicing the shots they really need on the big day.
It's also important to mentally rehearse for competition as well, and the practice course is also a great place to do this during the week.
Here's how you do this. Throughout various times in your practice rounds, mentally imagine that you are actually playing a competition shot instead. Regularly remind yourself that the practice shot you are about to hit is actually a vital competition shot, as this allows you, even just for a moment, to build a small level of performance anxiety before the shot - and yes, this is good!
Doing this allows you to become more acclimatized to competition pressure, and you will progressively become more adept at handling stress, even in real competition. I know what you're thinking - "There's no way I can pretend it's competition when it's not!" - but yes, you actually can. I call this bending reality a bit. You have the world's most powerful imagination that can conjur up absolutely any scenario you choose to command it.
So from now on, always keep your comp in mind while you are practicing - it will make you a much more effective competition player on the weekends.
"The Mind controls the body, and the Mind is Unlimited"
The best of success, Craig Townsend
Mind Training for
Golf Mental Training Program