We ended last season by posing the question: Is seeing believing, or is believing seeing?
Let me start this golf year in the same vein: If you are serious about improving your game, regardless of your mechanical skills, you must find a way to be comfortable with uncertainty.
The need to get a certain result will always inhibit our ability to perform well. Regardless of whether it is in golf or any other sport, needing to see a good outcome raises anxiety leads to over-thinking and rigid or clunky execution.
Notice how the best players describe performing in the zone. They use terms like smooth, effortless, slow motion, relaxed and comfortable. How do they get there? They are comfortable with uncertainty and, in the moment of truth, believe that their best effort will be good enough. They believe in themselves.
Unfortunately it is in our very nature to need reassurance before we step outside our comfort zone. How does this work and how can you make the shift from being dependent on outcome to trusting your swing?
In the coming months I will share with you the important steps that will help you develop a strong mental game and make 2011 your breakthrough year. In the meantime, experiment with adopting a different mind-set over the ball: Be less concerned with the outcome and more connected to the experience or feeling of a well-hit shot.
If you would like to develop the tools you need to play more consistently, then this regular column is for you.
Doug Hodges developed his expertise as a performance coach at La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif. He now offers his ThinkWorkPlay programs at the Heritage Golf Club in Wake Forest and Grandover Resort in Greensboro. All golfers, from the Tour player to novice, now have the opportunity to develop the tools to unlock their potential, have more fun, and lower their scores. To learn more visit www.thinkworkplay.com.