What is Golf Mental Coaching?
that affect the mental and emotional side of golf and implement strategies that allow golfers to deal with these obstacles.
Why is mental coaching important in golf?
Golf is often considered to be a physical and technical game. But, have you ever been in a situation when you felt that your thoughts or emotions were interfering with your game?
Golfers play against the course and against themselves. Unlike many other sports, golf is a proactive rather than a reactive activity. Tennis players react to a ball that’s coming their way. Golfers hit a stationary ball. They have time to plan and think about the execution of a shot before they swing. This means that when you don’t do a good job, you only have yourself to blame.
This has psychological consequences such as fear of failure, perfectionism, lack of confidence, anxiety, frustration, self-esteem issues, distractions, fear of failing others, and self-sabotage, among others. The key is identifying and developing techniques that enable you to plan, prepare, decide, and commit to each shot while curtailing the mind’s propensity of getting in the way.
What is the difference between a golf instructor and a mental coach?
The golf instructor teaches swing technique. The golf mental coach understands how the player’s beliefs, decision-making process, images, thoughts, and feelings are affected by and affect performance. The mental coach utilizes this expertise to help golfers identify mental and emotional barriers that affect your game, and collaborates with the player to develop a personal strategy that will allow the player to reach his/her goals.
Among other things, a mental coach will help you:
- Put a bad shot behind you and not let it affect your confidence
- Understand and accept that making mistakes are a part of everybody’s golf game
- Deal with the pressure of competition, at all levels
- Become aware of distractions and how to deal with them
- Set process goals and leave unhelpful expectations behind
A mental coach is NOT a ‘shrink’ or a psychologist. Few mental coaches have this expertise. I have been a registered psychologist for over 20 years. As such, I would also be able to help you become aware of -and manage- conscious and unconscious issues that could be impacting your golf game as well as your personal life. My theoretical and clinical approaches draw from Solution-Oriented therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Narrative Therapy, Morita therapy, and Cognitive-Behavior therapy. As a therapist and a coach I truly believe in tailoring interventions to the person’s needs. My goal is to collaborate with you to create a state of mind that helps you utilize your strengths, be aware of the ‘mind traps’ that get in your way, have a plan you can rely on to solve them, and become the best golfer you can be.
How does mental coaching work and how many sessions would I need?
The number of sessions would depend on your goals. Every golfer is different and it is important that your mental coaching program is tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. I believe in flexibility in order to meet golfers’ needs. I put together programs only after discussing what you are looking to change. For example, one way of going about it is by doing a short assessment to identify the issues/barriers that could be interfering with your game. The second step would be to put together a program based on the assessment and a follow-up conversation, where you and I would discuss your strengths, areas of improvement, goals, differences between the times when you play your best and your worst golf, etc. Mainly, I would listen to you and I would come up with questions to help you come up with answers that you could take to the course to try out.
I thought too much about making too many mistakes and that’s too much crap. The solution was simple: I stopped thinking. That’s pretty much the bottom line.Martin Kaymer - US Open Champion 2014
‘Today was great. I would like to keep Victoria on my bag!’ D.L. Handicap 16