By Craig Sigl

Golfer-1You might be sitting down at your computer at your home or at your office. You may have caught a few minutes of the Golf Channel or a pro tournament on T.V. Your mind starts gearing up for golf! Yes, you haven’t played a round in what, a week has it been already?

Your last round didn’t go so well and you almost vowed to give up the game. You could feel those arm muscles twitching as you walked by the last water hazard and that little voice inside your head said “go ahead, do it, throw ’em in there, you know you want to.”

But, you resisted, and we’re glad you did because you know that those feelings always go away and you’ll be driven like some magnetic force to that great green playground we call a golf course. But wait! You surely don’t want to repeat last week’s fiasco and so you start calculating what you need to do to avoid that embarrassing score again. Your mind immediately comes up with the solution to get your butt down to the range and start hitting some balls and work those problems out there until your hands bleed. Yeah, that’s it! If it worked for Ben Hogan, it’ll work for me. At least that’s what we’re told. But then you start looking through your appointment book or planner to find some time and it’s filled. There just isn’t a free hour anywhere. What to do now? You surely don’t want to go out there and just die again in front of everyone.

The answer is Golf Practice in your head!

When big time pros like Phil Mickelson can come back from an injury and win a tournament when he spent hardly any time practicing before it, you know there’s something to it. Even when they ARE able to practice, they supplement it with golf practice in their head as much or more than on the range. Before we go into this, I need to expound on what you learned in lesson #2 about your unconscious mind.

First off, you may have noticed that I use the terms “unconscious” and “subconscious” interchangeably. Yes, those terms mean exactly the same thing. I prefer “unconscious” but no matter.

Bandler and Grinder, the originators of NLP, said: “the part of your functioning which is responsible for about 95% of your learning and skill is called your unconscious mind. Once the unconscious mind can accept an idea it begins to execute it, good and bad alike, it doesn’t matter what you put into it, if it accepts it, it will act on it and execute what you tell it to do.”

So you have to watch what you think and say especially to yourself. Never use negatives like: “I’m a lousy putter”. Your unconscious mind will believe it and act on it. This is one of the most important ideas on how our unconscious mind works and it’s directly related to golf. Here’s some more:

1. Its prime directive is to preserve the body i.e.: survive and thrive.

2. Stores all memories and organizes them in a time order.

3. It is symbolic. It uses and reacts to symbols.

4. It always chooses the path of least resistance. This usually means, unfortunately for us, that it will choose to do it what it has always done that has given you comfort and no stress. Again, this is not all bad so long as we understand this, we can give our unconscious mind orders where the easiest choice for it to make will benefit us.

5. It needs repetition until a habit is installed.

6. It enjoys serving but must have crystal clear orders to follow.

7. Is the domain of all of our emotions. Wow, can you see the power here in learning how to work with our unconscious mind for golf in controlling our emotions?

8. It runs the body.

9. It contains the ability to transfer learned skills from one part of our body or mind to another. Here’s the big kicker concept for Mental Practice. This idea supports the contention that it is not 100% necessary to practice based on the old model of the brain that we “hard-wire” these abilities in our nervous system. That old model says that we “store” muscle memory and that it is only gained after repetitive learning has caused the proper neural connections to become established between brain cells.

To understand what I’m talking about here, take your non-dominant elbow, if you’re right-handed, use your left and vice versa. And write your first name in the air in front of you with the point of that elbow. You’ve probably never done this before in your entire life but you were able to do this very easily the first time! So it can be with learning how to play good golf in our mind, as we will see.

Ok, we’ll continue with this idea the next time. It was necessary for us to cover this “why” area before getting into some details about the “how.” You see, Belief is the cornerstone of achievement. And that’s a whole section in itself that we’ll save for another article.

Greens and fairways,

C.Ht., NLP

Craig Sigl

Craig Sigl

Craig coached and trained adults for over 20 years in the corporate world. He began his business career at an express transport company at the age of 18 while putting himself through college. Within 5 years he became Southern California regional manager of Trans-Box Systems responsible for 3 buildings, over 60 employees, and $3 million in billing.

After leaving Trans-Box to finish his studies, he graduated with a B.S. in Business Finance and went to work for himself with a partner in electronics.  An avid backpacker, fisherman and outdoorsman, the call of the Pacific Northwest and it’s natural beauty then led him to sell his interest in that company built from scratch and he moved to Seattle.

Craig hired on with Fedex Express in Bellevue, WA and began his 15-year career with the fast-growing Fortune 500 company known for it’s commitment to service excellence. Working in 4 stations in Washington and Oregon, he gained extensive experience in sales, customer service, prioritization, leadership, and face-to-face customer contact. His last 4 years there were in the position of operations manager of the Tri-Cities, WA station. It was this job that Craig credits as his world-class experience and training in Personnel/Legal, Management Principles, Ground and Flight Operations, Budgeting, Payroll, Government Regulations, Recruiting, and just learning how to get things done in a huge, sometimes bureaucratic, organization. Craig was always in the top percentile for reviews from his manager and his employees and is proud of his accomplishments there.

Craig is a Confidence and Self-Esteem expert specializing in helping businesspeople and athletes get in THE ZONE.  This is that state where everything works for you, your performance potential emerges, and you create success effortlessly.