Golf teaches us humility. You miss a lot more shots than you hit. If we can’t accept it, we don’t have access to the final phase of learning: unconscious competence. Explanations.
The architect of the Gulf National, Hubert Chesneau, has dubbed the 8th hole of the Albatross “The Green Keeper”. This goalkeeper is nothing but a round and deep bunker in the axis of the line. Because if in golf it is always necessary to be perfectly aligned (literally), we must accept that despite our best efforts we will still fall, and sometimes cruelly …
Overcome bad blows
In order to be successful on the golf course, English-speaking trainers speak of “mindset before skillset”. The power of attitude, mindset over skill. Knowing that failures far outnumber successes in golf, the big question is how many times can I get up after a bad shot?
In order to be in the right frame of mind when a student finds himself in a difficult situation that scares him, such as “missing the ball”, a coach’s role is to accompany him to the end of his fears by he made the exercise more difficult a priori, but in a benevolent, safe environment.
So the Master Coach Stephane Bachoz challenges his students to bat and bat without looking at the ball! Believe me, it works great!
We advance in golf when we realize that the game of golf judges us primarily on our ability to withstand failure…
Learning to play better means learning to be “balanced” between what our ego urges us to try, our reason tells us and our nerves let us do… And we advance when we realize that the game of golf is ours especially in our valued ability to withstand failure.
Being aligned means being more zen, closer to reality, it’s like preparing a good meal in your kitchen with the products you have on hand. To do this, focus on the ingredients you know are needed to prepare the right dish, the right putt, rather than what might happen after the putt (the millions at stake, the public speech or the eyes of others).
The right mindset allows you to focus on what is essential, closer to immediate action, thanks to ingredients that could be called “invariants” as opposed to the inherent variability of golf, life.
What invariants do you need to introduce to be more stable in the face of variations in reality? What routine do you need to establish to stay on familiar territory in the face of the unknown?
Mind your routine
Following the procedures of a checklist (the automated routine during training) is reassuring, especially in times of crisis. It’s an excellent stress reliever.
The “mental configuration” has a direct effect on our destiny.
Our programming affects our perception of reality, which is our identity, our abilities, our mood, our actions, whatever they are.
Therefore, play as much as possible with the configuration parameters of your state of mind: inner dialogue, the most positive imaginary world possible, green, encouraging…
Our language (our thinking) is performative: it thus constructs our reality and our identity (which is above all cultural).
Therefore, be very careful what you think of yourself and others, of your surroundings, make sure you think “well”, pay attention to your state of mind: all the latest findings in neuroscience point in this direction. Talk to yourself as if you were your best friend and agree to go through the steps necessary to progress.
The four stages of learning
Whatever you learn, you systematically go through these four phases: trial, error, discouragement, success… To remember this, remember your first driving lessons!
1/ Unconscious incompetence. At this point we don’t know how much we don’t know. But we want to try. We are then voluntary, but more or less determined.
2/ Deliberate incompetence. We understand how much we don’t know. The first attempts failed. Is it worth going further? The frustration is great, let’s go within the framework of perseverance… or not.
3/ Conscious competence. We see that we are making progress. These early achievements make us happy, but they require a heavy investment of resources to complete the task and the results remain poor. Does pleasure withstand periods of discouragement? It takes persistence to keep going, but you’re getting closer to success.
As long as we remain blocked, focused on our gesture, our gait, our handwriting, our swing, we cannot be in the flow.
4/ Unconscious competence. In order to do what I have to do, I no longer have to know that I know. I succeed and make the right decisions without thinking about it or even thinking about anything else. I can walk and even run while thinking about my shopping list. Detached from conscious technical mastery, we can then focus on more essential activities: a clear vision, a pure sensation, a simple intention, a relevant action. As long as we remain blocked, focused on our gesture, our gait, our handwriting, our swing, we cannot be in the flow.
To understand how to return from phase 4 to phase 3, ask a person to walk on a large beam eight inches off the ground and they won’t see what the problem is; but place that same beam twenty feet up, and the person goes straight into conscious competent mode…
This regression often happens to us with our driver at the beginning of hole 1: fear also causes us to fall back into phase 3. In fact, you increase the risk of missing your first ride and, not having understood that missing is part of the game, you go down a new box to find yourself in phase 2, with an internal dialogue like: “Ah! No I can’t! i’m really dumbwhich of course doesn’t improve things. And we end up in conscious incompetent mode.
So work with your coach on phases 2 and 3 on the driving range. Drive on the track in phase 4!
happiness if i want
There is a general issue of mental preparation today beyond the practice of sport. We see it in all registers, in the form of diverse and varied coaching: for decision-making, for career development, for life as a couple… Many support methods go through your head. There is much to do. There are real strategies, real techniques that can certainly improve the functioning of the mind.
In golf, it’s not the quality of the good shots that counts, but the quality of the bad shots.
“But I’m a bit suspicious of the side of “hyper-optimization” that has ultimately led to this constant concern for performance without concern for temporality in our society. However, it is something that can make you unhappy‘ says the psychiatrist Raphael Gallard.
He’s right. I personally missed a lot. These failures aren’t necessarily dramatic, but it’s important to recognize them and tell yourself that this is also part of a journey.
My work is based on attention to others, this great common thread now overrides all others.
The challenge is to create well-being by beginning to soak up the universal wisdom of Nick Faldo : “In golf, it’s not the quality of the good shots that counts, but the quality of the bad shots.“.
Your progress depends on your strategic and psychological approach to the course, which is why we invite you to consider each golf course as an initiatory journey. And this trip we recommend you on the mythical course of the National Golf, the Albatross, by finding here the previous episodes:
Episode 1: FORWARD – Get moving
Episode 2: LANDING – Find your mission
Episode 3: LE MÉRANTAIS – Find your element
Episode 4: CHATEAUFORT – Find your strength
Episode 5: FULL GAZ – Find your passion
Episode 6: CORN AND RAPE – Find your roots and find your wings
Episode 7: THE CAMEL – Be happy with your game
This article is an excerpt from the book L’Albatros CV*
Whatever your level (from beginner to professional), do not hesitate to contact Jean-Christophe Buchot, Strategy and Performance Optimization Coach, for specific assistance: email@example.com
©JCH.BUCHOT – 2022