The turn of the year has no doubt given you time to reflect and commit to achieving your golfing goals in 2011! But why is this year going to be any different? You could commit to finally taking those much needed lessons; you may even forgo the Full English Breakfast for 30 minutes practice before the medal… but is that the answer?
Although technique, strategy and now even fitness are recognised as vital components of successful performance; underpinning their success are factors of a more psychological nature (I guess I would say that!). You may know why you are prone to the odd slice or hook, or that shot selection lets you down at the critical moment. You may accept that your tiredness at the end of round contributes to a loss of concentration, but at the heart of these dips in performance are issues such as learning style, performing under pressure and decision making, all of which are challenges of the mind!
On too many occasions I have gone to the practice ground or putting green with players after such performances only for the ability to execute the skill to miraculously return! My wish for you in 2011 is not to take on more information, not to add more swing thoughts and to make a move away from constant correction and towards understanding the barriers to your performance!
If I could wave a magic wand to break down your personal barrier which would you chose? Now is the perfect time for some pre season training! Next time you play I want you to make a note of any thoughts and feelings associated with poor shots or playing situations so that you can determine whether poor technique is holding you back or if something else is triggering those well learnt skills to break down.
Do not be afraid! There will be no time spent on the couch, just strategies and techniques that will enable you to overcome the barriers to your potential. Make 2011 the year. I look forward to working with you.
Karl Steptoe BSc, MSc, works with club golfers and European Tour professionals through his Sport psychology consultancy, a mind to perform ltd, amtp.co.uk. He is also a PGA Advanced Professional and is involved in doctoral research looking at performance under pressure in golf.