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How Top Performers Deal With Pressure

I'm sure you all enjoyed watching Lee Westwood roll back the years by winning the Nedbank Sun City event recently.

Lee managed to shoot 31 on the back 9 under severe pressure with two world class golfers also battling for the lead.

So... what can we learn from this performance??

Many golfers would struggle on the last 9 holes with such pressure but how did Lee not only handle the pressure but actually thrive under it?

The answer lies in a technique used by many top performers is called re-framing.

Re-framing is where the golfer will consider something in a different light and put a positive spin on it.

"I always felt that the majors were easier to win. The extra pressure meant that there was only a dozen players who could win. As a result I only saw that I was competing against a smaller field and so it would be easier to win." Jack Nicklaus

The above statement from Jack Nicklaus is classic re-framing. Many golfers struggle with the pressure of a major championship but Jack managed to completely turn these potentially negative feelings around into a positive statement.

During a round of golf re-framing a negative situation is a tough skill to master as a golfers emotions will be running high in the heat of battle. But, if a golfer can prepare for anticipated situations whilst in a more calm environment then re-framing is much easier.

A golfer who slices their opening tee shot out-of-bounds will find it difficult to turn an angry emotion into a positive one because their blood will be boiling but instead the golfer should make a note of this situation when they leave the course and prepare a re-framed statement for if the situation arises again. The statement may be... "I'm glad I've made a mistake on the 1st because I have plenty of time to recover. Any early mistakes increase my focus and lead to better performances."

What can you, the reader, take away from this?

I'm sure you will have had many occasions on the golf course where a negative thought crept into your mind. It could be that you are having the best round of your life up to the 15th but on the 15th tee you start to think... "Don't mess this up now!" or it could be that a particular hole on the golf course doesn't suit you.

Whatever the situation I suggest you sit at home with a cup of your preferred beverage and think of a re-framed statement that you will tell yourself next time you slice the ball out-of-bounds.

Start by listing 5 negative situations and your 5 positive re-framed statements. The next time you go onto the course you will feel ready for anything this game throws at you and perform just like Lee Westwood under pressure.

Mark Allen is a trained Mind Coach and offers many coaching packages to help his players deal with this side of the game.


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