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All golfers want to get better. You want to acquire a higher skill level and play consistently better golf. The very first step on that journey is to become more aware of yourself as a golfer.
Let me put on my golf-psychologist cap and help you along that path. Through years of playing, teaching and writing golf, I’ve compiled hundreds of self-analytical personal questions that are aimed at helping an individual uncover potential problem areas that may be holding him or her back. Once you become aware, then you can do something about it. So, read and ponder this list and write down some notes of things you need to work on. And be honest with yourself.
How willing and ready are you to learn new things and to change habits? How coachable are you? Do you tend to resist, or even dismiss expert advice? What are some of your basic beliefs about golf? [Examples: “Golf should be fair.” “Course conditions must be fine.”] Is your self-concept mostly positive or negative?
When things don’t go so well, do you typically get down on yourself? Do you believe that you can influence the outcome (by your own efforts) of almost anything you attempt to do? How strong is your work ethic when it comes to things you want very much to succeed at? When you practice, do you make your practice specific, smart and efficient?
Do you see yourself as truly a “student” of the game? Are you prone to get really upset when you get bad breaks, or lose your temper on the golf course? How do you tend to react to different forms of adversity, such as your own poor play?
Would you describe yourself as generally pessimistic or generally optimistic? Do you often mentally replay and regret previous bad shots when playing?
At those times when you feel “pressure” how do you tend to react? Do you often choke? How do you usually feel when you notice people watching you play? Do onlookers increase your tension? Have you developed and practiced a solid mental routine that you use before every shot? Are you often too hard on yourself? Do you criticize yourself too harshly? Is perfectionism sometimes a problem for you?
These are personal, analytical questions that only you can respond to internally. They should stimulate your thinking about ways you might change your approach.
How much more tense do you feel when you are playing in competition? Do you continually struggle with self-confidence? When it comes to personal performance, do you tend to worry a lot about what will happen? Would you say you’re fully aware of your own behavior and attitudes? Would your friends say the same thing about you?
Does your sense of self – your perception of who you are – depend on how you perform in public? Are you extremely fearful of looking bad or inept? Is this just in golf? Would you describe your thinking skills – thinking clearly and rationally at all times – as superior? Do you feel that you always must win or look good? When you mess up or make awful mistakes, can you quickly let go of the disappointment?
Do you set personal goals in writing for achievement in golf? Are you persistent in accomplishing them? Are you willing to risk temporary failure or setbacks in order to achieve your goals? Do you feel capable of making a total commitment to success in something you try? Are you frequently willing to venture outside your comfort zone?
Do you think of yourself as mentally tough and emotionally disciplined? Have you put golf in its proper perspective in your life? Are you likely to complain excessively when things don’t go so well? If you were to rate your confidence in your game would it be above or below average? What’s holding you back?
Was that self-analysis thought-provoking? Some golfers find that the mental and emotional shortcomings are more than they realized. The good news is that there is an antidote and solution to every area that is lacking
Dr. Charlie Blanchard is a licensed psychologist specializing in sports and leadership. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.