There's nothing like watching a match between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, two of golf's best players. Woods dominated the PGA tour for years, but has recently been unable to win majors. As Woods swooned, McIlory flourished, and the young Irishman now holds the number one ranking.
Woods's recent performance may be a byproduct of the new challenges he faces as no longer golf's best player. Bobby Jones described this perfectly: "Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course—the distance between your ears."
Below are two issues golfers deal with, which they can learn to address with lessons from the mental battles Tiger Woods has been fighting.
Failing to Consistently Win
This can cause major head games for any athlete, but golfers in particular—especially a player like Woods, who was so frequently on the winners' podium and now has to watch others take the top spot.
We recently worked with a young athlete who was tops in the state in his sport. He was so accustomed to winning that when he advanced to the next level and failed, he became frustrated and disappointed. He had forgotten the fun he had playing his sport. We countered this by changing his focus, reminding him about the enjoyment he gets from playing the game. Within a few months, he had won the mental game, accepted the new challenge in his life and returned to his winning ways.
Tiger Woods quickly rose to the top of the PGA, and many considered him the best player ever. It almost seemed too easy. Then the car accident happened, with its ensuing publicity disaster. The distractions in his personal life caused him to lose his laser-like focus on the course and to question his ability to win.
All athletes need to focus on something in the future. The best create mental images of consistently winning. If they don't do this, their minds typically revert to something in the past, like a mistake or a bad performance.
That's why most golfers think consequences vs. success. A perfect example is hitting over water. If you pull out a range ball instead of a good ball, you are already expecting the worst and will be more likely to hit it in the drink. If you focus on the shot you want to hit, you will be more likely to succeed.
At Philly Hypnosis Sports Performance, we help golfers win the mental game of their sport. They succeed by creating core confidence, developing the ability to release mistakes, focusing on the correct thought for the moment, and fostering a winning belief inside to produce "in the zone" results. We have helped hundreds of athletes jack up their game using Sports Hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Psychology.
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