Friday, April 1, 2011

Confidence Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

In 1970, the movie Love Story was very popular and the most famous line from the movie was, "Love means never having to say you're sorry."  Confidence in yourself means the same thing.  How can you get to this point in your game?  You have to have the same unconditional love for your golf game that Oliver had for Jen in the movie.

The easiest way to talk about your confidence on the golf course is to outline the differences between conditional and unconditional love of your golf game.  If the word love makes you uncomfortable, we already have a problem.  You better accept and love what you brought with you to the course today, because you can't improve on it, change it or trade it in at this point.  Can you be confident with something that doesn't always work?  Can you accept a game that comes complete with mistakes, mishits, and missed putts?  Can you shelf your mechanics for the day or the week?  Can your golf game be loved?  YES!

Most of us are conditional with our golf games.  We are happy and smiling when we hit a great shot,  pouty and angry when things don't go our way.  There is drama on shot after shot and our emotions go up and down like a yoyo.  We look for signs of greatness and consistency, but often have to face signs of weakness and inconsistency.  We are not in a loving state of mind, but instead we are uncertain and judgemental.  What if we simply accepted our game for the day and quit judging?  What would happen if we decided to focus completely on only what we could control on the course and let go of the uncertain state we are often in on the course?  Finally, how about waiting until you finish the round to evaluate your performance instead of evaluating it after each shot. 

Now that you see how conditional you are when you approach your game, how do you move to being unconditional?   If you want to love your golf game, you need to treat it right.  You need to prepare for your round with focused practice.  You need to remember the importance of the short game and putting and work on them both.  You need to stay as fit and limber as possible.  You need to have a good game plan for the day.  You need a positive and realistic approach to each shot you face.  If you take care of these needs, you will be able to face your game knowing you gave it all you could.  Your relationship with your golf game is reliant upon your daily approach and discipline.  Much like a relationship with your spouse, you have to pay attention, you have to care and you have to trust. 

What happens when you make a stupid mistake or completely fail to execute a straight forward shot?  We all know this stuff happens, right?  How often do the best touring pros play a bogey free round?  Rarely!  Everyone makes mistakes.  If you can accept your behavior, mistakes and failures during a round and continue to focus on what you want to do, you will be unconditional and remain confident.  If, however, you berate yourself, second guess yourself or become angry with yourself, you will lose the focus needed to make good decisions or execute your next shot.  Remember, once you are on the course, it is too late to make a change in your game. Accept it and love it for what it offers you!

Okay, so I know this is a hokey blog, but true love is hokey!  Give yourself some love on the golf course today and smile!
Pearl Jam had the right idea!  Great song and great state of mind for playing golf.

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