So often when I start working with a golfer the statement I inevitably hear is, “I just don’t trust my swing.” Have those words ever crossed your lips? This common lack of trust in one’s swing is usually not the result of poor swing mechanics but of poor thinking habits. And golfers waste a lot of time waiting to hit enough good shots before they decide their swing is trustworthy.
But this isn’t how trust works. If you want to play with a trustworthy swing, you must first believe that you have a swing you can trust.
I realize this may sound confusing, so allow me to explain…
Trust is a firm belief that you (the operator) and your swing (your ability) are reliable, strong, and effective. Although trust occurs on both an emotional (feeling) and logical (thought-driven) level you must consciously decide that you have reason to trust your swing in order to feel a sense of trust in it.
There’s no doubt that golf is a mental game. For that reason you must learn how to invest in the mental side as much as you invest in the physical side to get the most out of your rounds.
Gary Player said ~
“A player has no greater asset on the golf course than the power of his mind. The decisions are made in the mind first; only then do the body, club and ball follow.”
When you believe in your ability to swing the club and hit the ball well your mindset actually unlocks your physical ability to swing with more freedom. And that’s the goal. The more mentally free you are, the better your delivery of the swing mechanics you’ve worked hard to develop.
What Kills Trust?
Doubt is the biggest trust killer. You minimize your ability to trust your swing every time you:
• question what type of shot is going to come out next,
• worry about messing up your next shot, or
• hope you don’t repeat a past poor shot
Since your mind operates as the navigation system for your body, negative thoughts like self-doubt will be expressed physically through your swing and can alter your swing tempo, swing plane, or cause other changes to your mechanics.
Close the Trust Gap in Your Game
Self-doubt is a form of fear, and fear is simply lack of information. When you aren’t playing with a mental pre-shot routine that enables you to create a shot in your mind that you believe with absolute certainty you can execute, you create gaps that your imagination loves to fill in with “what if’s” and worst-case scenarios. But you can systematically develop thought habits that close the door to trust gaps as you play.
1. Before Your Shot - Focus on the Shot You Want to Hit
One of the most common mistakes golfers make is to contemplate more than one shot at a time. Have you ever thought about the shot you wanted to hit, as well as the shot or two you hoped you wouldn’t? To play with trust you must focus on thinking about a shot you actually want to and believe that you can hit.
2. After Your Shot - Gather the Right Feedback
Another issue arises when after you hit a shot you don’t particularly like you try to figure out what you did wrong. This becomes a feeder for your self-doubt, not your trust. After every shot, no matter what the outcome, you need to train yourself to identify what you did right. By gathering feedback around the things that are worth repeating you increase the likelihood that you will repeat those good things, thus increasing your trust level.
3. Between Holes - Recount Your Highlight Moments
Did you know that the time you have between holes can be highly beneficial to building trust in your game? One of easiest things you can do to after completing a hole is to let go of the number you wrote on your scorecard and instead, tally up how many good things you can recall from tee to green. Tracking your “wins” rather than your losses on every hole will improve your perspective of yourself as a golfer and your ability to meet the challenges of the game. That’s building trust.
If you’ve been struggling with sporadic trust in your swing, start to consistently manage your thoughts better by applying the three strategies above. This will help you build solid trust, not only in your swing, but also your ability to execute it on command.
In what part of your game do you struggle with trust the most? Please leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time…PLAY GREAT
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