Today, I want to discuss Confidence and whatever that means to you. Recently, I interviewed a 20-year sports psychologist who had taken teams to the NCAA finals in his sport and had coached professionals for years. I asked him about Confidence and how you get it.
I’m not kidding when I tell you he said: “I don’t know any other way to get confidence other than to have success. You get confidence from past successes. Maybe a hypnotist can do some things but that’s been my experience. (he did not know that I do hypnosis…hah!).”
Anyway, I began to think about that on my last round when my golfing partner mentioned that he always putts his best when he has confidence stepping up to the ball. I agreed with him wholeheartedly that it seems that if you have the feeling like a ball is going in the hole, then that is the biggest factor in whether or not it goes in the hole or not, right?
Well, to take this further, I thought, well, I’ve made lots of putts when I DIDN’T have any confidence or I was just feeling nothing or neutral.
My brain always starts checking on my theories by taking them to the nth degree. In other words, a theory must hold up under extreme situations, it has to be taken to it’s logical end.
So, I tested this theory that you get confidence from having success… and it failed miserably. I thought about all the times I’ve had confidence with ever having any success AND, more importantly, I came to the conclusion that you DON’T EVEN NEED CONFIDENCE in order to have success!!!
Yes, confidence is a good thing. It certainly helps things…but it’s the cherry on cake! it’s not the cake!
Follow me here. We were all babies at one time, right? And most of us learned to walk from scratch, right? In other words, we learned to walk (got success) without ever having had any success at walking! Furthermore…we weren’t TAUGHT to walk. We just learned it by trial and error and modeling grownup humans already walking.
Therefore, we created success without ANY previous success! We had no confidence, just a DESIRE to walk and a willingness to get back up after we fall down. (maybe that’s all confidence really is)
I keep hearing from golfers saying that they lack confidence standing up there on the tee box about to hit an important drive. Or that their last miss on the green was because of doubt. Or, that they lacked confidence about to speak or present to their team or boss at their job.
Sooooo, what’s the point of this article? The punchline?
We don’t need confidence to do anything! The sooner you let go of that, the faster you will get confidence!
Really what happens when you do that, is you let go of some FEAR about whether or not you have confidence or not and can make this shot or not. When you let go of the FEAR, that’s when you play to your natural potential.
The formula for success is: Performance = Potential – Interference.
FEAR is the biggest interference in your golf game (and other areas of your life).
I’m going to get into this formula a lot in coming weeks. Stand by….
Greens and fairways,
So why do golfers on the practice green before a round take 2 or 3 balls, drop em and then hit them one after the other toward the same hole without setting up or reading the green?
Some people might answer, well, Craig, they’re working on their stroke.
I’m guessing what they mean by stroke is the ability to send the ball down the chosen target line.
Ok, fair enough, but if that is what they really want to do, that’s got to be the least effective way to accomplish that. If I wanted to accomplish that, I’d go get my putting track out with side guides or just line up a couple clubs as a track to make sure I hit the ball square and follow through square… and I’d do it on a spot on the green where it’s flat and straight so that I could see the results. I would hit 6 or 7 balls in a row and I wouldn’t even be hitting at a hole, I would be aiming at a smaller target than that. I would train my stroke this way. Doesn’t that make sense? Maybe there’s an even better way but certainly hitting 2 balls to various holes is NOT the best way to train your stroke.
But hitting your putt where you are aiming it is only a part of actually making a putt. In fact, I would suggest that speed and break are even more important.
So, I’m going to guess that the true answer as to why golfers hit 2 or 3 balls from the same spot (like I used to do), is because they’re lazy. They don’t want to go through the motions of reading a green and going through a routine like they do on a real putt. That would be REAL practice. I’ve asked and found that they actually think they are being more efficient and getting to hit more balls in the same amount of time which they consider “reps” or “repetitions.”
There’s this religious-like faith in repetitions in the golf world. But, isn’t it totally logical that if you are repeating an action that isn’t useful that you are ingraining poor results into your mind and muscles?
So what’s the truth about lazy practice putting? You’re getting reps and practicing how NOT to read a green and rely on the feedback you got from your first putt (which never happens on the real course). On top of that, those golfers are totally relaxed and at ease on the practice green with no pressure to make a putt. Final result? They are practicing UNFOCUSED golf and when they need to make a putt under pressure, it becomes extremely difficult.
You will not fix playing UNFOCUSED golf by buying more clubs.
You can’t become FOCUSED by hitting more unfocused putts on the practice green
A new putter or putting stroke will do nothing to reduce your score when your normal game is to play unfocused golf.
By the way, there’s nothing wrong with playing UNFOCUSED golf. That’s playing for the pure enjoyment of the game. Go out there and have a beer, I play this way some of the time for the sheer fun of it.
But when I want to go low….FOCUS and INTENTION
So what’s my point here? Whatever you do out there on the practice green or the range or even at home when you want to work on your game, BE INTENTIONAL. What do I mean by this?
I mean, before you hit a ball, have an idea of specifically want you are working on and put your intention on that. Ask yourself if what you’re doing is the best way to achieve my intention here. That’s how you will develop FOCUS for out on the course when it counts. That’s how you will make your warmups (practice) actually pay off for you out on the course.
I’d love to see your INTENTIONAL warmup tips for on the practice green below and why you think it works.
Greens and fairways,