Is negative self talk hurting your game?
If you are talking to yourself after a poor shot and saying things like, “You stink,” “Why do you play this game,” “What is wrong with you,” or “All you do is three putt,” then your game is not going to get better very soon. All players- no matter how good or bad- need to remember that negative self talk leads to poor play. Just like in life, if you tell yourself you are no good, you will begin to believe it. Pretty soon those words you continue to utter will come true. Then it will be even harder to get your game in a place where you want it to be.
If we look at some of the greatest players, when they hit a poor shot they use positive self talk to recover. They will say things like, “That’s okay we can still make par. That was just a miss read. You’re better than that, you can hit the next shot right in the hole.” What we must remember is that during a round or a range session, we need to stay positive and let go of poor shots. They happen to even the best players. But those players let it go, rather than beat themselves up over it and then hit another poor shot because of negative self talk.
You are your own best friend out on the course and the range. If you were talking to someone else who you truly cared about, would you tell them they stunk when they hit a poor shot and should quite the game? No, you would tell them that it is okay and that bad shots happen. You would tell them that there are plenty of shots left in the round and that there are plenty of birdie chances coming before the round is over. This is the way you need to talk to yourself if you want to get better. Be positive even when the shots are not there. I know it is hard to do. What we all have to remember is that it happens to every person who ever picked up a club and played this game.
Even Ben Hogan hit some poor shots but did not engage in negative self talk. He thought that he would learn from this poor shot and work on not letting it happen again. He stayed positive and worked hard at becoming a better player than he was the day before. If you really want to improve and become a better player, then you need to be your own best friend and coach out on the range and during play. You need to stay positive and when you hit a poor shot, tell yourself that poor shots happen to even the best of players. That you will get it back and if not today, then the next day. Golf is just like life. It is a journey, and it takes time and effort to get to where you want to be. Make the journey as enjoyable as you can. Be your own best cheerleader, not your own worst critic.