October 1, 2012

Winning

As the Fedex Cup ended we got to watch the greatest players in the world battle it out for supremacy and oh, that little side pot of a measly $10,000,000! But at that level the money becomes secondary. Certainly it’s more money than most of us will see in a lfietime or two but when you’re in the golfing moment you’re simply playing to win. No matter what the prize is.

Certainly no-one can ignore that ten million dollars a fairly positive motivator but winning for the top players is paramount. It’s interesting how winning takes care of virtually everything ekse in the game…

And now we begin the 2012 Ryder Cup where there’s no money at stake but I would suggest even more pressure and an equal desire to win. But this insatiable need to win and for things to go perfect have a down side…

The other side of winning is loss. And in golf there will always be more losses than wins. You’ll shoot more average and poor rounds than you will great rounds. You’ll miss more putts than you make. You’ll miss your target almost every time you hit a shot, or at least partially.

With this in mind can you see the insanity in having anything resembling a need for perfection? This perfection virus infects every aspect of the game from your ability to perform to your level and for other important areas: fulfillment and satisfaction.

Lofty Goals with No Expectations

It’s important to have big goals that are inline with your skill level but the key is to remove the burden that relentless expectations place on you and your game. If each shot, each hole and every round begins with a defined expectation or required outcome in order for you to be happy you’re in for a long and bumpy road in golf!

Now although this is a fact that expectations inhibit results almost every golf on the planet runs their golfing life exactly like this. You may be wondering “how the heck can I play without expectations? Am I supposed to play like I don’t care? It matters to me to play to my capabilities. I can’t act as if it doesn’t matter!”

Yes, fellow golfer, yes you can. Once you make this mental shift your scores and, more importantly, your joy will improve measurably. By playing a process focused game free of outcome thinking you will find, almost like magic, that most things in your game improve naturally. It is this outcome based thinking that causes a host of problems for you and your game.

Think about this for a second. If you go for a walk you don’t say at each stage of your walk there must be an outcome met do you? You don’t break down the walk into a series of steps! You simply go for a walk and enjoy the process. The destination is mostly immaterial. And just as in golf, a walk will involve more than 99% of the journey and the destination merely defines the end of the walk!

So if you’re always requiring the destination to be the key focus virtually the entire trip is a waste of time and will lack any enjoyment! Make sense? So enjoy the walk…

Winning & Losing

We here all the time on sports who’s and interviews things like “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Or “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser”. And many more comments and beliefs along these lines. This kind of thinking is the result of many, many things. A lack of distinctions and mental acuity influence this kind of thinking. The enormous, disproportionate benefits of winning vs losing is another obvious reason behind it.

But the problem with these cliched beliefs is how damaging they are, on multiple levels. If you somehow hold any of these beliefs you might want to consider really exposing them to yourself and dismantling them. Then idea winning is all that matters is an insane idea for sports and especially golf. As mentioned above you will definitely – not “maybe”, not “likely” but absolutely will lose more than you win in golf.

You will be perpetually in a state of stress if you always compete with the requirement to win. Notice I said requirement and not desire. Desire is great and it is the fuel to your success. But winning can’t consume you to the point where you leave each round less fulfilled and more frustrated than when you started.

Look at Jack Nicklaus. Statistically the best golfer ever in terms of big time winning. But you might not be aware of how many 2nd and 3rd place finishes he had. Waaaaaay more than his wins! It could be said he almost made a habit of losing, not winning! But his desire and drive to win put him in the position to win more than anybody. Ever. And you can look through the top athletes in sports and likely won’t find a better loser than Jack. in fact I would call him the best loser I’ve ever witnessed in sports. A quality you should consider emulating.

Wade Pearse

Creator of the Whole Mind Golf Mental Game Coaching system that integrates both the left and the right brain hemispheres. His processess and numerous mental exercises dramatically improve the performance and enhances a player’s connection with their natural game and deepest potential. By applying his methods you stop playing half-brained golf and finally unlock your mind and lower your scores. To learn more about Wade’s training program visit him at Golf Mental Game Coach

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