Confidence Building For Junior Golfers
One of the challenges about being a young person is dealing with what feels like is a constant comparison to other people. This is true at school, in one's social circles, at home, and in the golf arena.
What many young people inevitably do during this time of analysis is begin to feel somewhat insecure about certain aspects of who they are. "I'm shorter than everyone." "I'm taller than everyone." "I'm skinnier than everyone". "I'm heavier than everyone."
This type of thinking leaks into golf, creating insecurities about the game. "I can't hit it as far as most kids." "I don't putt as well as he does." "We don't have as much money so I don't get the instruction that she does."
When this is going on inside one's head, it is very difficult to "play your own game". Instead, junior players often try to be someone they are not, try to keep up with what others are doing, or try to do things that are not in their capacity.
Not only does this emphasis on what others are doing frequently hurt a player's confidence, it also regularly impacts course management decisions. Among the common mistakes:
?Unconsciously pulling the driver out of their bag in order to hit it as far off the tee as possible.
?Automatically pulling 3-wood for the second shot into a Par 5.
?Consistently "under clubbing" by falsely believing certain clubs are hit further than actual results indicate.
?Making high risk/low reward shot selection decisions.
?Swinging the club harder to try to hit it further.
The solution to this is to be honest and objective about what strengths and capabilities you bring to the course as a player. This is what is referred to as "playing within yourself". Once you recognize and acknowledge what works for you, you will begin to play the game in the way that is best for you, rather than playing the game in order to try to do what others are doing or the way you think it should be done.
The truth is, whether judging against others in life or in golf, we will always find someone who is better at something than we are. It is hard to get our ego out of the way and lay up when our competitor can get there in two. It is difficult emotionally to hit 5-iron to a Par-3 hole when our competitor hits a 9-iron. It is a challenge to continue doing what you're doing if you see a competitor who is successful doing something different.
In life, those that are constantly following others lose a sense of who they really are. In golf, those that are distracted by others often get lost in constantly changing their game. Be like the best players in the world. The most successful golfers of any age figure out what they're good at, understand what works for them, and then make a commitment to stick to it.
Be the best player with what you have, rather than trying to be something that you're not.
Jeff served as Director of Mental Training for David Leadbetters Golf Academies, where he was instrumental in assisting in the development of the training programs and methodology that continues to produce golf champions around the world. Jeff works with several touring professionals and amateur players - assisting them in the creation of optimal training plans and developmental strategies. For more inforamtion on mental and physical training for golf, go to http://www.fitnessforgolf.com.
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