he term mindset is very popular these days, but you may be wondering exactly what it is, never mind what a golf mindset is; And why does it have anything to do with your score? So, let’s start there. Mindset is your set of beliefs about what you are or are not capable of and how you view your ability to learn. What are the stories you’re telling yourself related to your game? Do you ever hear yourself making statements such as: I’ll never break 80 or I’m just not a long ball hitter? It is these stories that indicate your mindset, or your beliefs about your golf game. It is these beliefs that will dictate the actions you take, and it is those actions that directly impact your score.
Without getting too deep in the rough, there are two types of mindset: a growth and fixed mindset. Individuals with a fixed mindset tend to believe that ability is fixed. You either have it or don’t. These individuals tend to focus on their results and their ego is often tied to those results. In contrast, individuals with a growth mindset believe that ability comes with effort. They embrace challenge as they know it will make them better and focus on the process of improving rather than just the score at the end of the round. Research has shown us that individuals with a growth mindset learn, grow, and achieve more over time than those with a fixed mindset.
The good and the bad news is that we do not have 100% growth or 100% fixed mindsets. So, there’s always room for improvement, and we’re not destined to be fixed forever. If you want to adopt a more growth mindset with your golf game, here are 5 simple strategies.
- Increase your self-awareness
A higher levels of self-awareness is step one for any performance improvement. What are the stories that you’re telling yourself about your game? What do you believe about your ability to perform in a given situation or the type of player you are? These belief systems impact the actions that you take which will then impact your level of performance, so it’s important to first recognize what those belief systems are.
- Eliminate expectations
The expectations that we have are based on what we believe we should be able to do on any given shot, or round. (ie. I expect to make all short putts < 3’) These expectations are focused on the results, or the outcome, and tend to cause increased feelings of pressure which only increases the likelihood that we will not perform optimally. When we do perform below our expectations, our emotional state is negatively impacted resulting in even further levels of decreased performance.
- View challenges as opportunities to learn and improve
In any given round, it is likely that we are faced with a tough shot. The ball may be just in the rough, but behind a tree, or on a steep incline in a bunker, but there will be one that challenges us. In this situation, you have two choices: to get mad about the location of the ball or you can view the shot as a challenge which you can learn from. Just as your muscles need challenges to grow, so does your mind.
- Compare yourself with yourself
Comparing your current abilities with the abilities of others is the quickest way to get yourself feeling bad about your golf game. There will always be someone who hits the ball longer or can hit 14 greens per round or signs a lower scorecard than you do. Even the best golfers in the world are not the best at every aspect of the game in every tournament. Instead of comparing your game to others, focus on competing with yourself and adopting a mindset of continuous improvement. This is the path to mastery.
- Embrace the power of “Yet”
It’s true that you may not be a scratch golfer or be able to drive the ball 300 yards, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible. When you first started playing golf, think about how uncomfortable it was to grip the club properly, or how you weren’t able to consistently break 90, or any other number of obstacles we are faced with when we decide to take up this wonderfully challenging game. And now look at where your game is. When you hear yourself saying that you’re not able to (insert skill), end the statement with the word “yet”. You may not be a scratch golfer “yet”, but with enough practice and the right tools you can be. The word “yet” provides you with possibility rather than a fixed ability.
Are you curious to know what your golf mindset is? Take the What is My Golf Mindset quiz and answer 10 easy questions to get your score.
Comment below for your most commonly used fixed mindset statements. Mine is “I hate par 3s”.
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