Mental Game Skills Must be Cultivated

What are you doing to cultivate productive mental game skills in your golf game?

Coaches don’t really DO anything. If we are doing our job right, we engage with our clients about what they really want…and then help them to gain the insights and passion necessary to take meaningful action toward their goals.

But that action is up to them. The client. It’s not up to us. If the client doesn’t do anything with this information, nothing changes for them.

Last week’s story from Bob Piatka about winning his club’s opening  tournament is a great reminder that you must be intentional about applying mental game strategies and concepts.That you must have to have an on-purpose strategy and action plan to cultivate these skills…the same the way you build your short-game or putting skills.

In a phone conversation with him earlier this week, Bob told me that he hadn’t really given a lot of thought to building a mental game strategy. Though, he had spent a considerable amount of time working on Single Plane Swing mechanics the past two years – attending a number of schools, working with GGA coaches through video and other programs, and dedicating numerous hours on the driving range.

But that changed for Bob when he watched the webinar that Tim Graves and I did a few weeks ago on the Alert Attitude of Indifference…and it piqued his interest. More than that, it inspired him to act. As a result, he committed to cultivating the key mental game concepts Tim and I talked about…and to making them a part of his playing strategy.

For example, he committed to playing faster. He modified his own pre-shot routine so that he could hit shots inside the “play box” within 5-7 seconds. This would prevent the kind of over-analysis and over-thinking that shows up when we hover over our shots too long. (He believes that he hit a lot more high-quality shots as a result!)

And he decided that, considering the course conditions (very wet) and that they were playing lift, clean and place, he would do whatever it took to be in the fairway. So while other players were bombing it into the rough, Bob played conservatively off the tee and hit lots of shots from the fairway that day. (His discipline to creating a strategy and sticking to it was key.)

He also tuned-in to and monitored is own energy dynamics during his round– and was able to stay positive on the occasions when things didn’t turn out perfect: when he hit it into the rough on the playoff hole, he took notice of the situation, reminded himself that he had the option to stay positive, hit a clean recovery shot into the fairway, and was on the green on the next shot. (His opponent was not able to stay calm and measured when encountering challenges on that hole – and it cost him the tournament.)

It will always be the case that practice and skill development are an important part this game we play. But being intentional about cultivating your mental game skills – how you show up, how you respond to the game as it comes at you –  is also a critical element of lowering your scores.




(If you want to really learn how to cultivate productive mental game skills, join us at our two-day Alert Attitude of Indifference School in Chicago in June!)

Paul Monahan

Paul Monahan

Paul Monahan is an International Coach Federation (ICF) - credentialed coach working in the arena of human potential. Paul’s clients are leaders, executives, athletes and musicians who are serious about transforming how they perform in critical moments. His experiences in leadership and development over a highly-successful 25-year corporate career have created powerful context and understanding for the leaders and executives he coaches. Additionally, his passions and experiences in sports and music have uniquely positioned Paul to profoundly impact his clients in those areas as well.

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