In James Siekmann’s excellent new book, Your Short Game Solution, he has a chapter specifically about how to think like a champion.
He should know. He works with PGA pros like, Ben Crane, Charlie Wi, Cameron Triangle and Jeff Overton among others. He has also been a Tour player himself, knew Seve Ballesteros and has studied, in depth, all the best short game players who have ever played the game.
This chapter was a real eye-opener for me. He showed me how important our thinking really is on the course.
I asked him, point blank, “Can our thinking REALLY change our game?” Sorry to keep you in suspense but you’ll have to wait until our new GolfDash Show podcast is launched to hear this vital insight!
What I will tell you is he discusses working directly with Dr. Bruce Wilson, who created a distinctive method for controlling your emotions and also with mental-game coach Lanny Bassham, a world-class rifle shooter with numerous Olympic medals who is one of the most sought after performance experts in the business.
These brilliant folks helped James formulate a plan to think (and therefore play) like a champion. Of particular importance is: How you act and self-evaluate your performance immediately after you hit a excellent or poor shot is critical to optimize your performance as that important time period you are most conducive to change.
That’s why it’s critical to develop a “Post-Shot” routine, according to Mr. Siekmann.
Here’s how to do that,
1. When You Hit a Good Shot – take that moment to internalize it, to feel it with some emotion (“emotion cements memory”). Try to remember the “feel” of the shot, the sound of it. Say, “Yes, that the real me.”
Most golfers never do this but it’s vital to start building those new neural patterns and memories. Keep at it.
Ever noticed the distinctive Tiger “Twirl” after Woods stripes a shot? Woods once said. “Every time I hit a good shot I give the club a twirl.” He is ‘tagging’ the shot, attaching significance to it.
This helps him recall it when he needs to draw on positive imagery for a similar shot. So take heed if you haven’t ‘tagged’ a shot in the last 3 rounds 😉 there is always a good one around the corner!
2. When You Hit a Bad Shot – Immediately objectify it. As James suggests, Think, “If I had a do-over, what would I do differently?”
For example, if you top a shot, simply say to yourself, “Yes, I topped that one and next time I’ll stay more level so I won’t be changing my spine angle.”
It’s all about controlling your emotional state. Now this DOES take discipline but you only need to do it once. Just that one time will begin a new pattern.
Another helpful thing to do is to just stay quiet after you hit a not-so-good shot. When your quiet and relatively unemotional you can better objectify the experience rather than just automatically reacting to the heat of the situation.
There you have it. 2 relatively simple things to accelerate your golf performance. If they are good enough for the top Tour players in the world they probably might help you, too.
Get the book here: Your Short Game Solution: Mastering the Finesse Game from 120 Yards and In