Gave an hour long seminar last nite on Mental Toughness…. After the talk, someone came up to me and said, “but how do I get the really bad thoughts out?”
You see, I spent an hour talking about building talent to combat anxiety, fear and doubt; controlling your thoughts and images to build confidence, and finished the talk with a mental pre-shot routine….
In general, I answered the question very well: You get the bad thoughts out by remembering good shots, preparing for good shots, visualizing good shots, and trusting your swing….
Specifically, I need to go a little further in my answers.
This is a desperate question (I know, I’ve been there myself). Most likely, if after an hour discussion on mental toughness this question still comes up, the person asking has had a prolonged period of really bad shots (bunkers shots, in this case)
All he sees is bad bunker shots. He’s tried dozens of different things to get better, but bad shots still dominate. Yippie skippie happy thoughts just won’t do it.
Here’s someone who really needs an intervention. To get the bad thoughts out by this point, most likely a major supervised overhaul is needed in a person’s technique. In addition, someone this deep in the well of negative feelings also needs supervised practice. They need constant feedback to guide their thinking and their technique. It’s usually a 6-12 week deal (minimum).
*occasionally, it’s a simple technique issue based on a bad perception. One lesson and some systematic and consistent practice makes a world of difference…
In the past 5 years, I’ve seen several golfers make complete turn arounds in their putting, chipping and bunker shots. It takes a significant effort, so it’s very, very rewarding for everyone involved!
In the end, it still comes down to building your talent, and controlling your thoughts…. The task is just a little more demanding.
Summary: “How does someone get rid of the ‘really’ bad thoughts?”
-Supervised change in technique by a highly qualified professional golf coach
-Supervised practice to receive feedback on both their thinking and their technique
-Conscious build up of positive thoughts and images
-Belief in the new method
-Patience and Trust