Fear of a shot going wrong and costing you a price you don’t want to pay is fear of failure. If you are afraid of the outcome of a shot then you are inventing a negative future, one that actually has not happened yet but is more likely to occur because you are thinking it.
Think about this for a while. What on earth is the point of creating a negative future? Well, in human psychology terms it’s because your mind is trying to protect you from repeating a negative event by giving you a warning but from a golfing perspective it’s a disaster.
What this fear is also telling you, in a far less obvious way, is that you are playing in the wrong time zone. There is only one place to be if you are going to play your best golf. (most amateurs actually underestimate the quality of golf they are capable of) You have to be in the present. Now before you go getting uppity and saying that you are in the present know that golfers rarely are in the true present and any time you have a thought about a shot or an outcome, you are NOT in the present.
To be in the present moment is to have no thought of past performance and no thought of the consequences of outcomes of the shot you are playing. You are so fully absorbed in the moment that past or future thoughts have no room to emerge. This is a wonderful place where you play on instinct, calm and confident with no concerns.
When ever I am asked what it is like to be completely focussed in the present I use this little analogy. If I were to take a hammer and smash your thumb I guarantee that not a lot else will be on your mind in that moment. You will be very focussed and your attention will be fully in your thumb. This is proof that you can move your attention and fixate it on something, while being fully absorbed in the present.
If you can fully fixate your attention on the ball, with no concern for outcomes (Be the ball) and just let your swing happen instinctively, you are getting into the ZONE and playing in the present. Peak performance comes from playing in the zone so it’s well worth developing the skill to focus on the present and remain there while your mind swings your body.
Fear of the result of a shot cannot exist in the present, it’s just not possible, so you will swing free and confident. To fear a shot you need to leave the present time and go forward and imagine a poor outcome and the consequences of it. (Lose hole or match etc.)
Why do we have fear of failure? Because we have a history of bad shots and outcomes which we are recalling from a negative past. Again this is playing from the wrong time zone. If you remember a past poor shot you are in the negative past time zone and not in the present.
So we could say that the only reason you worry about the future is because you are living from a negative past and concerned about getting another poor result. Would you worry about the outcome of a shot if you had never hit a bad one? No.
Determine to forget your bad shots and make a habit of recalling only your good shots. This will start to help you build a much more positive oriented golf history.
Stare at an object like a pen top and see how long you can remain focussed and thinking only of the pen. When any other thought pops into your mind you have lost present focus. Practice this daily and the length of time you can remain focussed in the present will improve.
Determine to not care about results and just to work on “being the ball.” If you are starting to worry about a result ask yourself if the rest of the world really cares? Ask yourself if there are more important things in life? Dull down your investment in the outcome and then keep focussed on the present.
You will get better and better at this as time goes by so be patient and results will improve for you. Ironically it’s when you stop worrying about performance that best performance is achieved.
Wishing you FIR’s, GIR’s & Blue Skies.
Remember to go now to the Golf Mind Shop website and get your copy of the FREE golf ebook, “Bring Your Golf Scores To Life.”
If this article has been of interest to you, you can find out more on the mental side of golf and how it can dramatically improve anyone’s game when you apply some easy techniques by going to my website at http://www.golfmindshop.com