Flow Golf Podcast TV Episode#2 / Golf Mental game
Rick, back again for another episode. Always a pleasure. And I’m excited to discuss a little bit more about your experiences over the last two years or so.
I want to dive into it because it’s a topic I’ve been thinking about in quite a lot of detail recently and having conversations with various players about conserving energy and energy management.
We talk so much about time management in this world and making sure we’re productive, but energy management, in my opinion, is even more important.
So I just wanted to ask what experiences you’ve maybe had with some of your players, with some of your clients and some of these big events where I guess you’re getting there maybe three days, sometimes even earlier before the event starts, then playing four rounds of golf and managing to conserve your energy over that entire period of time?
So what experiences have you had with that and how do you manage to help players conserve their energy?
Yeah, it’s a great question, and it’s under utilized in the sense that we get caught up in our world about time management and so on and so forth. But when we think about performance, you need energy to produce that.
You and I talk about flow states and being in a focused state requires a lot of energy. And if we are looking at a PGA Tour player, they are usually on site on a Monday. They’re playing a practice round or nine holes and then Tuesdays and another practice around Wednesdays, a pro-am.
Oh yeah. And then Thursday you actually start competing for four rounds, playing against the best players in the world on the most challenging golf courses. Do you better manage your energy? And so I mean, I would love to share that I made a major, major mistake early in coaching Collin Morikawa as he was an amateur and he got an invitation to play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational as an amateur at Bay Hill against the PGA Tour players. And so it was a very exciting time. OK? I can. It was exciting for him. It was exciting for me.
And you get there on site and you just want to soak it all in it. Hey, let’s go do 18 holes on Monday and let’s hit some balls. Let’s go putt. Oh, Tuesday, let’s do the same thing. Let’s go up early to get breakfast.
And then before you knew it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, we were there for a long time. Yes, we’re practicing hitting balls, but you’re trying to soak in the environment now. Sounds like a positive thing because it was a wonderful week.
Yet then Thursday happens and Friday happens. And then he spoke to me. After the fact, he played all four rounds, he made the card, which was awesome as an amateur. It’s like, Wow, I was tired. It’s like, Oh, you were tired.
I mean, OK, I get that. But I was tired of energy management, and I did a poor job of that. He was already prepared. Why did we have to overdo it? Why did we have to hit more balls?
Why did we have to do 18 holes instead of nine holes? And I made that mistake and he was excited to be there. Don’t get me wrong. Yet afterwards we go, OK, we have to find a better way to prepare.
So Thursday you’re fresh and Sunday on the 72nd hole when you’re putting out your fresh and you have energy. And so that was something that we learned and then we’ve made refinements along the way. And part of that is what do we do?
When are we actually ready? So that’s an interesting question. Some people are still grinding Wednesday night before the tournament, and they’re working on TrackMan numbers and they’re trying to get perfect instead of. You got to get to a point where you just say, Hey, I’m ready.
I’ve got a game plan. I’ve done my practice. But you also have to recover. Known flow states are also about a recovery phase. Is that what you put in all this time? You better recover, OK? And there’s a lot of players out there who are doing a lot of physical type stretching, and they have their physio working on
them and they’re doing mindfulness meditation and they’re going, they’re doing things to, you know, recover. And that’s energy, right? Yeah, absolutely. It’s actually really interesting, Rick, because it reminds me of exactly what we educate in the Flow Coach Golf Academy, which is these four phases of flow.
So you have the build up phase, which is that kind of the stress, the release of cortisol, the hard work, maybe some frustration in there as well. But then that moves into that flow gain phase, essentially, and the flow gain phase actually requires you to take a step back, actually engage with that parasympathetic nervous system, parasympathetic activity, the mindfulness, the meditation, the breathing exercises.
And then you ultimately allow yourself as you move up that flow game face to hit flow peak. And that flow peak is where we want to be as we step into the Thursday as we step into day one.
And then, as you mentioned, you come back down the other side, the flow transition phase, and that ultimately is where you need to do that recovery. You need to reset. You need to rejuvenate some of the things that you’ve used up and then as you move back into your flow, build up phase again.
So I love that because you’re starting to run, you understand exactly how you can. Some of these flow principles help with optimal performance when you need it most rather than optimal performance, and actually you should still be building up what you should still be preparing or gaining.
So I think it’s really important. I love that story because it’s vital to get that timing right, essentially. It is, and it does. You do have to experiment with it and you have to understand that these elite athletes are traveling and there might be jet lag and there might be other things that are contributing to it.
But even with the player who plays every weekend and really wants to get ready for that Saturday and Sunday, and they’re like trying to cram a test, right? And then on Friday they go, Oh, I better go hit some balls, and it’s more of a frantic ness to get ready instead of, OK, I’m going to hit the balls, but I’m going to have some due diligence of, Hey, I’m going to work on my tempo. I’m going to work on my balance more on simple things instead of. I got to fix my swing and I got to look at the biggest Instagram coach.
And all that said, that’s not only that’s energy very poorly, not not from a physical standpoint, but more of a cognitive standpoint as we’re distracted and we’re not on task as much so part of it’s physical. But most of it is mental.
It’s like, what are we paying attention to? And part of that is also really believing I am ready for this event and we do certain things with preparation. Of course, we want to practice round. Of course, we want to do things like that.
But what I’ve noticed with some players is they overdo it thinking that’s going to help them. And then at the end of the performance for days, they don’t have that same thing on Sunday that they had on Thursday.
And it’s interesting because you know this in 2021, I was very fortunate to go to the Ryder Cup with Collin Morikawa and to see him talk about the ultimate event. And so you would think, right, that you prepare more and you practice more and you do these things more because it’s so important, right?
And everybody throws out that word is important. But I think when I was there, I saw Captain Stricker and the vice captain and there was just more of a vibe of saying, Hey, we trust you and how you prepare.
We don’t need to do anything different. So don’t think you have to be here all day. Don’t think you have to do these other things that are world class for a reason, right? And again, I have never been to another Ryder Cup, so I want to make some other judgments.
But I think in the past, whether it’s an individual tournament or a Ryder Cup, players and coaches think they have to do something special and do something extra interesting. And what ends up happening is that that’s one counter counter to what has worked, and it only adds more things to where we burn up energy both cognitively and physically.
And you are and you’re in the Ryder Cup, potentially you’re playing two matches a day on Friday and Saturday, and then you’ve got to play a singles match on Sunday and the amount of energy that is coming from the crowd and the salary impact who we write.
And so I think part of what I really respected in Captain Stricker at the Ryder Cup is he trusted his golfers to say, Hey, you know, how to do this? Go out and do it. I think from my standpoint of a coach, I had to check in with Colin of, you know, you go out on a
Tuesday practice around three days before the Ryder Cup and the gallery is chanting Your name? Yeah, with Colin’s name and chanting USA. And it is like it’s a Sunday at a major. Even more so, but it’s a Tuesday practice room.
So not getting caught up in that as a player, not getting caught up with that with captains and coaches, it’s like, OK, we’re still here for a reason. We’re preparing, we’re creating a game plan, though so on and so forth.
So I think it was interesting. You know, when I look back at Colin’s experience at Bay Hill, we were excited, certainly as individuals. But then you go to a Ryder Cup where you have excitement for your country and your team and yet we can’t let that get a hold of us too much and trust your preparation. And part of preparation is when you’re at the course, you’re at the course, but you have to allow yourself to be off the course, rejuvenate like we talk about doing the things you’ve already done.
So then Friday, in this case, Ryder Cup, Friday morning, you ready to go knowing that you’re also going to have a singles match on Sunday and conserving energy? And once you’re there, you’re there fully in the present moment? Absolutely. And I want to talk about that, actually, Rick, and and take this one step further into energy conservation and the kind of connection with flow.
So we understand that obviously the conscious mind takes up significantly more energy to process information than actually the subconscious mind does. So I want to dove into some of the different ways that players can almost utilize flow as a principle to help them tap into the subconscious mind act and perform from the subconscious mind, because I think
it’s almost a tool that they can utilize to conserve energy. If you’ve got players, competitors that are spending almost their entire five hours of the round in the thinking part, they’re. Right. They’re using up phenomenal amounts of energy from their conscious mind.
If players can understand and utilize some tools to help tap into the subconscious part, just perform, even if it’s slightly more from the subconscious part of their mind, then they’re saving energy that conserving energy because it requires such little energy to process information.
So what are some of the ways that you would advise, and maybe you do advise your players to help tap into that subconscious thought when they’re on the golf course so as they can actually start to conserve energy and gain that advantage over competitors?
It’s a great question. And you know, what pops in my mind is I’m going to talk opposite. First, I have a lot of players who, when we do some post assessment, they love to use the word grind.
I was grinding out. There I go. Well, that sounds like fun. And the grind is they think that that’s a badge of honor. And I’m saying that grinding is effort. Grinding is thinking grinding is burning up a lot of energy.
You’re not enjoying it. You’re not actually not even being in the present moment. And so that’s how I start with it. People again think that they have to grind, think that it has to be a high effort.
And what you and I know is that conservation of energy is one is trusting your subconscious, trusting your ability, trusting your routines that, hey, I do this 30 seconds before to start to turn down the thinking and starting to get creative and starting to get lost in the shot and remembering great shots that I’ve hit like this before. So now that subconscious can go out and do it. And so I think that’s what I look at is what kind of people want to tell me that they’re trying hard and there’s a lot of effort, I’m saying.
I think that’s nice when things are really, really going bad that you stay focused on that awesome. But really, our goal is, like you mentioned, to trust the subconscious you’ve been training it. It knows how to hit the darn ball over there, let it allow it to happen through a proper pre-show routine through visualization, through recalling past great shots. Those are the things that I utilize to tap back into some of that subconscious.
Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. From a personal standpoint, it’s something that I’ve recognized so much when I do work with my players one on one, especially in person.
It seems more prominent when I’m working with players in person, but I could go into a session and actually my energy levels are quite low. I feel like I’m maybe a bit worn out. I may have had a busy week or something like that, but once I step into that session with the player and we’re engaging and we’re talking about their experiences and we’re finding strategies to improve and develop and gaps that we can have opportunities to work on.
I actually feel once I finish that session, I have higher levels of energy. When I actually started it and it could be a two hour, three hour session, I’m more revitalized.
I’m more energized at the end of the session and the start, and I genuinely believe that’s because I’ve been utilizing my subconscious mind for almost the entire process of that conversation and tapping into flow. So I actually think we’re talking about energy conservation here.
But is there an opportunity or an argument that ultimately there’s energy that we can increase our energy levels by tapping into flow and actually tapping into the subconscious mind? So it’s not just it doesn’t become a conservation, but it becomes an energy, I guess abundance or creating this into your mind and into your physical physicality and everything like that.
So I know it. I’d love what you just said there because I not only do I believe I know when I’m in a flow state through coaching is that let’s say I do six or seven coaching sessions a day.
At the end of the day, I have more energy because I am focusing. I’m in the present moment. There’s passion, I’m connecting, right? There’s a lot of things that now keep feeding the cycle that is not about trying harder, but it’s truly being in the present moment and that energy comes out.
And that’s why you and I talk about passion so much is that there’s a passion behind the performance. There’s a passion in the moment that does feed us more. And it’s not. It’s not effort, not just we’re living what we love to do.
So guess what? It keeps feeding that cycle more and more and more. I’m a big, big proponent of that, so I’m glad you brought that up. Love that. Love that, Rick. What a fantastic conversation. Again, these just seem to keep getting better and better.
I always look forward to them. I’m looking forward to the next conversation. Even more to Josh to dove into even more of your experiences in 2021, 2020 and stuff like that. So, Rick, thanks again. Really appreciate the conversation, and let’s keep bringing value.
You got it. All right. Well, thank you. 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.