You are your own worst enemy
Golf will beat you up, you don’t need to add to the beating!
Sometimes we forget why we play this beautiful game. I frequently see golfers on the course berating themselves for playing a bad a shot. Without realising it, they are actually doing more harm and wrecking any chance of performing at their best.
I’ve spoken in previous blogs about the importance of letting go, holding on to your frustration and anger is a recipe for disaster. I’ve been delving deeper into the effects of negative self-talk and thought you would be interested with some of my latest findings.
Memories are extremely important to us, we use them to encode, store and recall important information.
Whenever we do something in life, the experience we have will create a memory, whether it be good (positive) or bad (negative). The experience becomes imprinted and internally represented in specific areas in our brain, so that we can use them as reference points to help us face similar situations again or adapt to new ones. Our memories were created originally, to keep us safe and help us to survive from predators.
Now of course we don’t have to worry about being eaten alive by dinosaurs today, but our memories are there to still keep us safe.
Let me give you an example of how this works – As a small child if we touched something hot – say the oven door, we would experience both the physical feeling and emotional pain. To add to this drama it would no doubt be so traumatic, that it would make us cry too. Our brains would then store the association – hot oven door = pain as a memory.
The more emotionally charged the event or experience, the stronger the memory. What you may not be aware of is that bad (negative) memories are stored far quicker than good (positive) memories and they are 3X stronger!!!!
So lets relate this to our game of golf – when we hit a bad shot and go on to berate ourselves – the more stronger that emotion, the more powerful that memory is hot-wired into our brains. As we curse, kick our bag or throw our clubs around we are without knowing reinforcing that memory. So much so, that when we replay that hole or a hole similar to it, our body remembers what happened previously and reacts in the same way, and before we know it we’ve hit the same bad shot again – and so the circle continues!
So what should you do?
Well its impossible to tell yourself – don’t have negative thoughts – they are hardwired into our being. But what you can do, is when you have a negative thought don’t attach any emotion to it. Instead you have 2 options – you either attach a positive emotion or your remain objective.
So next time you hit a bad shot instead of cursing and throwing a tantrum, tell yourself that shot wasn’t good enough because (e.g. my swing was too quick, or my balance wasn’t where it needed to be). This will improve your performance for the rest of the game and will prevent that bad memory from surfacing next time you play that hole or one similar to it.
We are looking at running a workshop on emotions in November if you are interested please contact me for details by clicking here
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