Practicing Great, But Struggling In Competition?Copyright © 1999 - 2035 Craig Townsend
Playing your best golf in practice but coming up short in competition must be the most common problem I hear from golfers.
The pressure of competition often psychologically affects golfers into either being too careful with their shots, or otherwise being to controlled or tight in their swing, rather than swinging freely and easily as they do during practice. Thus there often remains a major gulf between the standard of performance for players between their practice and competition.
There are several things you can do about this. The most effective method is to actively use some mental projection during your practice. This means to imagine before each and every shot during practice that you are actually playing in a competition, rather than being in the risk-free situation of practice.
Before you hit each shot, mentally project yourself forward in time into a competition situation - and this slowly de-sensitizes you to the big occasion of competition - which reduces it's impact when you actually DO play in competition. Your subsconscious mind will eventually feel that you are playing competition golf each time you walk onto the course - even for practice! When this happens, competition golf will become 'normal' to it, and you will virtually play your competitions as if you were playing practice.
Sure, at first this may actually decrease the standard of your practices! But eventually, your mind will acclimatize and you will become more relaxed playing in your 'competition' situation - and you will begin to notice the difference in your actual competition rounds. If you play competition each time you walk on the course (which your mind will believe you are!) then it stands to reason that it will adapt and relax to this situation eventually, no matter how long it takes.
What if your mind knows it's not a real competition? Of course, your conscious mind will always know this - however it is the powerful subconscious (which is basically a non-thinking computer), which can be fooled into believing what you tell it. And as this is the particular mind which controls all your movement, this is the important one we wish to contact!
Using this technique is not to say that you must be in 'competition mode' every single moment during your practice rounds - it's only before each and every shot that is important. In between shots, you can either relax and enjoy yourself, or if you wish, you can choose to remain in 'competition mode' the entire round.
Last of all, when you do your regular visualization session at home, ensure you always visualize yourself playing great golf during competition, rather than practice - to reinforce the fact that you play well under the pressure situation of competition. This is a powerful supplement which can make a great difference.
So if your competion golf is not as good as your practice, de-sensitize yourself to competition using these golf psychology methods - and the results will change for you in the long-run.
"The Mind controls the body, and the Mind is Unlimited"
The best of success, Craig Townsend
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