If you are like most players, your thoughts will tend to raise your tension and trigger emotions. You probably think about outcome and score and other things you cannot control like slow play or the weather. These thoughts will have you reacting emotionally to poor outcomes and scores. They will create fear and anxiety. They will raise your arousal level which reduces your physical skills.
You cannot just stop thinking those damaging thoughts. “Don’t think about score!” doesn’t work very well. Don’t think about a Pink Elephant. What comes to mind? That’s right, some kind of Pink Elephant.
Removing bad thoughts is much easier said than done, and most coaches have no idea how to help other than saying “don’t think about it.”
The key here is to occupy your mind with thoughts that are helpful to your play, to keeping you in an optimum state for golf and conserving energy. If your mind is in control of those good thoughts then you can not be thinking about the problematic thoughts.
The first step is to identify the problem thoughts and recognize when you are thinking them at that moment.
The second step is to get rid of the problem thought and replace it with the helpful thoughts.
We have several Thought Control Techniques that will help you do this during competition as well as in the days leading up to the competition: the “Champion Circle/Bubble”; “Regulating Your Thoughts”; “Cues”. All of these and more need to be customized to work well for you.
Without the ability to Control Your Thoughts, you will probably be on the Outcome and Score roller coaster of thoughts and emotions when you play. This is the well-trod path to mediocre or average and disappointing golf performance.