Many times, I hear golfers talk about confidence but yet so many lack it – Why is that?
If we look to the definition of confidence it can help clarify things a little more:
- the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something
- a feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities
Naturally, there are personalities who have more confidence than others, who will always back themselves in any situation despite the odds, but these people are the minority in my experience on the lesson tee.
For me, many golfers struggle for confidence due to previous experiences resulting in a negative outcome. The list of which is endless, it could be driver off the tee, fairway wood shots, iron shots, wedge shots, pitching over a bunker, coming out of bunker, a short putt, poor course management, a lack of routine – it can go on!
In my opinion, a lack of confidence is usually caused by a breakdown in technique causing a poor outcome and after a while of experiencing poor outcomes, it becomes a mental barrier to overcome.
Improve the process and we can improve the outcome. Ultimately, we want to be in a place where we can only recall successful outcomes!
But how can we develop confidence?
In my experience there are 4 main sources to influence confidence (these operate in hierarchy)
- Performance Accomplishments
- Vicarious Experience
- Verbal Persuasion
- Emotional Arousal
- Performance Accomplishments is the most effective way of creating a strong sense of confidence. This could be through past results, statistics or carefully structured goals. In short its “I’ve done it before, I can do it again”.
- Vicarious Experience is seeing players similar in ability to yourself succeed by sustained effort. It raises your belief that you to possess the skills to be successful. Even the best players have role models and use others success to feed their own confidence.
- Verbal Persuasion is a player’s ability to use positive self-talk to improve performance/confidence. Learn how to re-frame things to help your confidence. Having a positive coach, family and friends around you can help greatly with this skill.
- Emotional Arousal is creating a positive mood to enhance perceived confidence – body language plays a large part in this.
When we read through the above, there will be a certain player that springs to mind for each source. That could be someone you know personally or someone you have observed (PGA Tour players).
So, it leads to me to some final questions:
- Are you using practice to build your performance accomplishments?
- Do you practice body language and positive self-talk to help your mood when on the course? – For many of us we practice technique or fitness but rarely our mindsets – we just assume they happen.
If you find this resonates with you, try the above and let me know how you get on.