by Matt Cuccaro, Ed.M.
The Players Amateur will take place this week at the beautiful and challenging Berkeley Hall Club in Bluffton, SC. The following article was written for the members of the club and will be published in an upcoming edition of the Berkeley Hall Experience newsletter. Although many who read this will be unable to attend the tremendous annual golf event, hopefully the message will prove useful nonetheless…
The mental game can be a mystery since it’s safely hidden within the mind of every competitor. Without the opportunity to engage in personal and revealing conversations with those competitors, one might never know what it takes to become a champion from the inside out. Actions reveal part of the story, so spectators of the Players Amateur at Berkeley Hall can gain some valuable insight into the mental game of the world’s top amateurs.
The three main components of a strong mental game include…
- Engage in Every Shot: Although golf is known to be a difficult sport from a mental perspective, it can be handled much more successfully by managing attention for spurts of 10 – 15 seconds at a time. Unlike other sports which demand consistent attention throughout the entire contest, golf can be a far less taxing endeavor by establishing priorities of picking a target or shot shape and keeping that image in mind for a few seconds leading up to execution.
- Accept the Result: Once the club has impacted the ball, the golfer gives up all control over the result. Players who appreciate and understand the art of acceptance tend to manage themselves and their emotions more effectively than those who brood over lost strokes and missed opportunities.
- Relax/Recharge Between Action: Effort, energy and attention is a limited resource. It’s not possible to stay completely engaged in any activity for 4+ hours, much less an activity as complicated as golf. Just the same as a smart-phone requires a recharge after consistent use, the human mind and body needs balance as well. Finding this balance over the course of a 72-hole competition can assist in the pressure-packed closing stretch of a competition.
Gain some valuable insight into your own mental game by watching this year’s Players Amateur contestants compete for a spot in the 2014 Verizon Heritage. Watch (and ask if the opportunity arises) your favorite players how they manage these 3 key components to a strong mental game.
If you have any questions about this topic or other areas of the mental game, please feel free to reach out to Matt…