Permanent Golf Confidence (Part II)
This is Part II of my series on golf confidence (read part I here). You can read much more about confidence, mental toughness and golf emotions in my new book Golf on Auto Focus: Training Your Brain to Better Your Game.
Permanent Golf Confidence (Part II)
As discussed in Part I of this series, deep confidence is confidence that is sustainable over time and holds up under pressure. It is unshakeable. You want to go to the golf course every day believing you can play your game, and play it well. The question is, how do golfers build and maintain deep confidence? Well, it takes work, but it’s easily doable if you follow the strategies outlined below. Deep confidence comes from carefully building up three interconnected layers to form an overall confidence that is thick and resilient like rubber, not thin and fragile like glass.
The first layer of deep confidence comes from having an honest and realistic perspective of your game. I cannot stress how important this is. Far too many golfers experience fragile confidence because they are constantly trying to play a game that belongs to someone else. You can’t have confidence in a golf game you can only dream about, you can only have confidence in a game you can play on most days. I’m not talking about your best game, I’m talking about your overall average game. For example, having confidence you can hit it 240 off the tee or shoot in the low 90s is far better than dreaming about hitting it 270 and scoring in the low 80s. If you continually aspire to play a game with which you are not familiar, you will always be frustrated and disappointed and you won’t develop any confidence whatsoever. More likely, your confidence will be high when you play well, and will shatter when you play poorly. So, be realistic and honor your own game. Have confidence in it and give it a chance!
The second layer of deep confidence comes from making a conscious decision to work on your game. This will give it the best chance of showing up every time you play. For an even bigger boost, give yourself credit for having the courage to do the work. This approach engrains an extra deep order of confidence that only comes from sincerely knowing you have done your homework. Going to the golf course knowing you are prepared to play generates golf swagger; an unshakeable inner sense of confidence that is with you all the time. This confidence may not be outwardly visible to anyone else, but it is realistic and tangible to you. Furthermore, this deep confidence is not susceptible to performance outcomes!
The final layer of deep confidence complements the first two. It is specifically designed to blend your practice with your on-course game and you are to use it every time you practice or play. To get this kind of confidence, I want you to build and use a Confidence Vault. It’s similar to a bank account except instead of depositing and withdrawing money, you will be depositing and withdrawing great shots. Here’s how it works. To make a deposit into your confidence vault, I want you to visualize an extremely good shot you have played in the past and recall the good emotions you felt when it happened. Let’s say it’s a pured 4-iron from 185 to a tough pin. Once you have visualized that shot, go over to your golf bag and gently tap it with your 4-iron. By tapping the bag, you are “depositing” your positive images of the shot and the great emotions that go with it. I want you to do this every time you hit a great shot, on the course or on the range. Build up deposit after deposit for all sorts of full shots, chips, pitches, putts, bunker shots and even chip-outs from the woods until your golf bag becomes a bulging vault of excellent shots. Now, when faced with a particular shot, such as that pured 4-iron, go over to your golf bag and tap it twice. By doing this you mentally take out that highly successful 4-iron shot. Just before you set up, visualize it and remember the emotional high that goes with it. With deep confidence now in place, play away.
Your confidence vault won’t be of any use if you don’t make regular deposits. Deposit great drives on tree-lined fairways, or superb four-foot downhill left-to-right sliders, or delicate pitch-outs from the gorse. These are powerful and confident images!
My clients see their systematized deposits as multiple layers that earn interest; the more they deposit, the thicker and more resilient their confidence becomes. They say the best thing about constantly depositing layers of confidence is that they have lots of confidence available, even after they use some up. And, if they need more, they just practice and make more deposits.
Read part I of this series here.