The Performance Triangle
Have you ever noticed how your performance dips when you least want it to? For most golfers the most obvious case is when we get a ‘Medal’ card in our hands.
Is it playing from a slightly longer course that makes the difference?
Have you often played well leading up to the medal only to find that your game deserts you on the day?
We have already discussed the fact that tension is the biggest wrecker of a golf swing and come medal day I have no doubt this plays a part. However, I also believe there is another force at work and it is to do with your focus of attention.
The Performance Triangle (below left) shows Performance (Score or shot outcome), Learning and Enjoyment. You will play your best golf when you have equal amounts of focus on each of the three parts. In other words, when you reside dead centre of the triangle where the green dot is.
Come medal day we naturally focus more on our score and very often golfers lose sight, albeit temporarily, of the enjoyment factor. A good score becomes the sole focus and the perception is that “if I score well, I will enjoy it”.
Golf by its very nature is a game focused on score – after all, the objective of the game is to play the course in as few shots as possible.
Further focus on score is created by the golfers themselves – after nearly every competitive round the first question I hear golfers ask each other is, “What have you shot today?”
My advice is to focus on what you can enjoy today. Stay present by playing one shot at a time and after the round reflect upon what you have learned.
Johnny Miller, who won The Open in 1976 once said, “I would have been a fool not to have been a good golfer. After every game of golf my father asked me only two questions – what have your learned today son? And, what have you enjoyed?”
Here are a couple of practical exercises you can do…
1.Three Shot Diary
After every round of golf write up, in detail, the three best shots you have played that day. Make each description as vivid as you can including details such as weather, the distance, club used, your thoughts, how it felt etc.
It should be written in such a way that the reader can experience the shot too.
There are numerous benefits to this exercise;
- You finish the round reflecting on the positives – certainly more enjoyable than talking about all the negatives!
- During a round, no matter what your score or shot you have just played – the next shot becomes an opportunity to be one for your diary.
- If your game ever enters a slump or before a particularly important game of golf simply reading back through all your successes will set you in a better frame of mind.
The final point helps to create a positive affirmation. An affirmation is a declaration that something is true. Many golfers create negative affirmations such as, “I’m a bad driver of the golf ball.”
The three shot diary will help you to create an affirmation but one that is positive and therefore much more beneficial to your golf game.
2.Good Shot Tally
Simply write down on a piece of paper or the side of a scorecard a tally mark for every good shot you hit. Just count how many there were each game. Don’t worry too much about the number of good shots, just aim to get a tally mark for every shot you hit, including putts!
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