Flow Golf Podcast TV Episode#6 / Golf mental game
I’m so excited to chat again in today’s episode, I want to dive into the growth mindset because it’s such an important part of progression, especially in a golf career, but also in life.
I mean, golf is a wonderful sport where if we do it right, we can be at the top level of the game or even at any level of the game for 30, 40 years, potentially if done correctly. So a growth mindset is going to be so important to ensure that we have continued improvement across all of those years.
So could you share just some of your stories or some of the lessons that you’ve learned from your growth mindset over your years of coaching? Sure. And again, I love the word mindset, right? We’re putting growth in front of it or fixed in front of it.
But mindset overall is how we view the world. And it’s interesting that in golf, because it’s an individual sport, we have a score. The score for some sometimes defines us, which we’ll talk about in another podcast.
But this idea that how do you now interpret that score, I think, is very important. And some people, they’re very fixed in that, Oh, I shot this. See, I can’t get better. My putting is never going to get better.
I’ve tried everything. No, it’s just not. And they’re very much looking at the result. It almost reinforces their belief system, and they really believe, honestly, that they can’t get better and right. There’s a fixed rate if they don’t look at other options.
They’re not curious about how to solve the problem. And it unfortunately becomes their mindset, becomes part of their identity. Then you kind of look at the other way where one of my favorite stories about Collin Morikawa was, he was 16 years old.
He came back from a junior tournament in Florida. Now he grew up in the Los Angeles area. So this was a little bit of a different environment. He came back and I already knew what he had shot in.
He had one of his highest scores ever in this particular tournament. And yet he came back and before I could even ask him some of the basic questions I always ask, which is, Hey, what did you do? Well, what did you learn?
What do we need to work on before I could even ask those questions? He’s like Rick. I need to learn how to flight my irons better in the wind. And I thought that was a very unique way to start our lesson.
And I go, Oh, please explain. He goes, Well, this is what happened. I did not have control over my ball flight. The wind in Florida beat it down. I did it. And so what he was doing was taking responsibility for what he had shot.
He then looked specifically at why, and then his question was, I can do something about it. Let’s fix it. Instead, I shot bad because of the wind. And then you just leave it at that. So he was always looking at the result as a feedback loop?
That’s not exactly what I wanted. That’s not the performance. I wonder. I wonder why. What can I do about it? Me as his coach, we now could come together and say, OK, wonderful. We have a wonderful opportunity to learn how to fly dance.
So it doesn’t matter where you play, you can control your ball flight. And that really, to me, showed that I already knew this about Colin, but that it wasn’t a failure, even though the round of golf was a high score or it was an opportunity to go, Oh, wow.
I think part of my game has been exposed and I have a blind spot. And guess what? Rick, I can’t wait to get it better. And then you fast forward, and I’ve had some calls with him before a PGA Tour event where he’s hoping it gets windy.
He wants it to blow as much as possible because it’s now a skill. He is developed because it was about a growth mindset. It’s about learning, it’s about curiosity, it’s about taking on a problem as a challenge. And that’s a mindset, right?
What’s my model of the world? And he does a great job with it. So we see it all the time that people get stuck in one of those. Absolutely. There’s so many things you’ve mentioned there that I want to dove into, but I want to ask, first of all, because the listeners are probably asking the same question
and may actually be in a fixed mindset for even this question. But how did Colin develop that growth mindset? Because some may be sat listening or driving listening, and they might be thinking, well, so when I go? Collin Morikawa, world number two, currently, he has a growth mindset.
I’m never going to be able to develop a growth mindset, which is a fixed mindset. Oh, sure. Did Colin develop? Where do you think they stemmed from? Was it partly obviously the work that you did from a young age with Colin?
Was it external input from his family, from what allowed him to develop that? Yeah, I think it’s two things. I think the first one would be his parents were very accepting of whatever would just going to happen in a tournament and there was no definition of you shot this.
That means you’re bad at this. And oh my gosh, what’s wrong? It was basically, did you enjoy yourself? And you know, he was never. Colin was never forced to go practice. He wasn’t? His identity was never tied into a score card because his parents really wanted him to enjoy the game.
So that’s what I appreciated as a coach just to see that these parents were doing everything they could to support a love of a game that had really nothing to do with what he shot. So I think he already came up in what I would call a safe environment to perform again.
The second part with my coaching is I encourage and I’ll use the word failure, but I encourage people to experiment. I encourage them to get different results. And when I say different results, maybe it matches what you want.
Maybe it did it. I don’t necessarily call it a failure, but we look at it as a feedback loop of the heart that we all want there. I wonder why. Great. Instead of that ball went there. See, I always hit it left.
I think that added up. And so I was always framing every result as something to learn from instead of maybe creating a limiting belief which some people do, right? So I think it’s a combination of a very, very healthy environment with his parents and then with the coaching relationship him and I had, he was open to learning.
He was open to being curious. And that’s something I know you and I are going to talk more about is curiosity, I think is one of the most powerful ways to look at life. I’m curious as to why it all went left.
Hmm. To me, I want to take that on. I want to learn from it. I want to adapt. It doesn’t mean I have the immediate answer, by the way. But now I can try this. Oh, that didn’t work, huh?
I’m curious why that didn’t work. That’s a totally different mindset that see that ball went left. I always hit it left. I can’t do anything about it. Woop, you’re limiting yourself big time. Definitely. Yeah. I think it’s so important to be curious, not critical.
And we spoke about that in previous episodes. We spoke about the importance of that across the board, both on the golf course and off the golf course actually to step into this curious individual. So, so OK. Really interesting.
And I think another thing you mentioned that it’s so important is taking ownership because once you take ownership of the problem, you also are then able to take ownership of the solution or ownership of the result. You then can take ownership of the solution.
So really, really key that as soon as you pass the blame, the responsibility over some over to something or someone else, you ultimately can’t do anything about it. So if you want to live in that growth mindset, if you want to progress, if you want to get better, if you want to move towards mastery rather than always trying to move towards ego, which I think is so important, then you have to take ownership of everything that happens in your life and then sit down and ask the questions, be curious and say, How can I improve?
How can I get better? Another thing I want to talk about because for me, it relates so strongly and so closely to growth. Mindset is about fragility and actually being anti fragile. So, so many people talk about being robust or being resilient.
I’m really pushing through the barriers. But ultimately, both of those things have a breaking point. Whereas being antifragile, actually, the more stuff that’s thrown at you, the more obstacles, the more the more kind of setbacks. Everything like that, the stronger you become.
And if we can be in the antifragile mindset, then it’s really, really key. And for me, the way you do, the way you do that is by taking on the identity of the learner being the learner, not actually going out there and saying, right.
Yes, of course I want to win. I’m going out. It’s a win. I’m sure there’s not one single time Colin goes out there and says, I don’t want to win, but actually going out there and saying, what? I’m the best learner out here.
Then I know over a long enough time period I will be better than every single person that’s in this field and that I think is really, really important. So I’d love to hear your stories with anti fragility or your mindset on anti fragility and whether you like that concept or not.
Oh, very much so. I think, like you said, you can try to be mentally tough and work through it. But like you mentioned, there becomes a breaking point and it’s looking at it as anything that happens to me.
I’m going to use it to make myself stronger. And, you know, we’ve mentioned this before in one of our first episodes about, you know, calling, going from playing in the Scottish Open and not getting what would be considered a good result.
OK. A barely makes the cut. I think he finished 17th or 71st or whatever. And yet, one or two days later, he’s figuring out what happened to make him better, and he doesn’t take it on as again, like a limiting belief.
Oh, I can’t play links golf. I can’t play. But he’s like, Huh, I can figure this out. He just happened to figure it out in three days and then won the open championship. So it’s but it’s having that as that, like you say, in an identity already, I’m the type of person that is going to figure things
out. I’m the type of person that loves to learn. I’m the type of person that will look at a problem as a challenge. And I love taking on challenges, right? And I think when we start that as an identity, then anything that comes our way is not looked upon as negative or a failure.
It’s like, Oh, great, this is going to be another piece of the puzzle or great. Now I’ll be able to to be able to deal with this in the future if this occurs again. So that’s how I look at it.
A little bit more is again, we talk about learning curiosity, but now guess what? And I’m going to define it now in the wrong way, but that things are going to happen. OK, let’s not try to get around it.
But like you said, there’s ownership about how am I going to deal with this? How am I going to respond and react to this? That’s really what you and I are training with these players is having some of these mindsets to say, Hey, I am going to make a double, but I am going to have a bad balance.
I am going to have slow play on this, you know, all these things are going to happen. And yet if I look at it as blaming and I can’t believe that happened and this is unfair, you’re not really embracing like saying, Hey, I don’t care what happens to me, I am still going to be the type of person that’s going to commit to my shots. Do my processes enjoy this right? That’s powerful, great, great. I think what’s key here, Rick, is everything we’re talking about is just their skills is a skill that can be learned.
It’s a skill that can be taught. It’s a skill that can be developed. And I think that’s really, really key. Whenever I talk to any of my clients I always say the only gap between who you are now and where you want to be is your skills.
It’s just acquisition of skills that have utility and moving you closer towards where you want to be. So calling comes back from that tournament when he’s, I think you said, 16 years of age and he says, You know what?
Well, I can hit the shots under the wind. I can control my ball flight into the winner. Couldn’t do well, actually. All he needs to do is go away and acquire the skill that allows him to do that later on down the line.
So then you reverse engineer and you say, Okay, perfect, let’s focus on that skill for a period of time. Now, if someone listening to the podcast thinks that their emotional control is letting them down, their ability or how they respond to shots is letting them down.
Guess what? It’s a skill. It can be trained, it can be developed. So whenever you look at where you want to be and you set your goes out and then you look at where you are, and we spoke about this recently in an episode, I think the important thing then to define is the gap between the two is what skills are you going to need if you want to be a major champion?
If you want to play on the PGA Tour or if you just want to win your club championship? Ask yourself the question: What skills does that kind of person have and then go and go to work on training and developing those skills and find the people that can help you do exactly those things? I think that’s really important. Definitely. And I think the other part is where when we look at the mindsets is that people think that it’s automatically just, oh, I have a growth mindset.
It’s going to get better tomorrow. And it’s like, that’s not the point. The point is that it may take a long time and those that can push off the immediate gratification and actually look at it. This journey is going to be much, much, much more successful in life.
Definitely, Rick, I want to just just to finish up one thing, just as a little checkpoint, I guess, and to make sure that we’re clear on what we’re saying here. I think it’s also very important. If you are, you do want to develop a growth mindset.
It’s very important to actually track your progress to measure your progress because otherwise and obviously, this is Carol Dweck. She talks a lot about this, but you fall into the trap of the false growth mindset. We’re actually you may feel like you’re doing all the right things.
You may feel like you’re showing up. You may feel like you’re putting in the work. You may feel like you’re grinding, which is what a lot of people like to use; that you’re not actually progressing, you’re not actually moving in the right direction.
So I think it’s really important with these folks with this growth mindset to ensure that you’re tracking your progress, that you have those metrics that you’re looking at. Do you have those KPIs you’re looking at to ensure that you don’t slip into this false growth mindset?
Did you agree on that? What’s your thoughts on that? That’s a great point. I look at it from a couple of different ways, like if I go work out in the gym. And I do the bench press thing, and I put £100 on there.
I could say, Hey, I, I worked out and I could put that as a positive. Yet the issue is that I already can bench press £200. So why do 100? Why was that even useful? Right? But oh, I worked out like, I guess, but I’m not sure there’s going to be a benefit in golf.
It happens all the time. People say, Hey, I practiced. I grind it and I go, OK. You told me, you’re putting needs improvement. You were open to that. But we also saw that you needed to improve the specific part of the clubface at impact being square.
And we talked about doing right hand only drills, something like that. Did you do that? Well, no, Rick. I worked on this other thing for putting. I go, OK, so you think you’re working on your putting, but you’re working on the exact wrong skill to do that.
So I get that a lot with golfers who fall back into old habits because that’s how they used to practice or that’s what they call practice. And they’re not identifying what you said, identifying what the skill is. And then as coaches, we are now helping them by saying, these are the things you need to do to improve that skill. Are you doing it? And then you say a key thing. I then do my right hand only drills, let’s say, did the ball go straight or did I get the club based control? I want it. That’s about immediate feedback.
If the answer is yes, great, I can reinforce that if it’s no, huh? Hey, coach Rick, that really didn’t help the club do what I thought it would do. You have another option, or maybe we need to do it now.
To me, that’s a good feedback loop of journalism or getting the feedback after the practice session is that get me closer to improving that skill or not. So I think that’s a great way to look at it, as you do have to see, is this getting better or not?
Definitely. Definitely such an important part. Rick, another fantastic episode, really enjoyed that one. And speaking about growth mindset, I know there’s so much more we can talk about and so many things that we barely scratched the surface on in this conversation.
So I’m looking forward to discussing all of them in more detail. Otherwise, listeners hope you enjoy all the information we provided and can’t wait for the next one. Thank you for listening to today’s episode. I know you’ve received some incredible information, and if you would like to hear more, please subscribe.