Post Round Assessments | Flow Golf Podcast TV | Rick Sessinghaus & Hallam Morgan | Best Golf Mental Game Coaching Tips

Flow Golf Podcast TV Episode #14 – Post round assessments

Back again for another episode of the Flow Golf Podcast. As always, super excited to talk about more exciting and important topics in the area of golf mental game coaching.

In today’s episode. I wanted to talk a little bit about post tournament assessment processes purely because, as we always say, we won every single player we work with, every single member of the Flow Golf Academy to create sustainable long term success. And a huge part of that is ensuring that you have one of the best learning processes to ensure that every single situation, whether you identify as good or bad, we want to make sure that you learn from that situation.

So Rick, if you don’t mind, could you share a little bit about your post tournament assessment process that you go through with your players and how maybe some of the listeners can apply for themselves? Yeah, definitely. And I think this is very overlooked with all players. Certainly you and I work with a lot of competitive players. And let’s be honest, you know, we have a scorecard there that is one piece of that.

Somebody shoots 75 and you and I both know there’s many ways that would create 75. And so that’s a starting point. Certainly people want to tell us what they shot. Okay. But I think as both a swing coach and a mental coach, there is again, a lot of cause and effect within that 75, you know, did we hit eight Greens in regulation?

Did we hit 14 Greens in regulation? Did we have our make rate with six footers? Did we make 100% of them, six out of six? You know, there’s a lot of things we can dive into yet. I start with some very basic questions first, and this is something that helped me growing up because I was so self-critical of looking at the score as, like you said, a good or bad thing.

And unfortunately I would say it was a lot of bad sometimes and that bad then created a lot of that self-critical voice. That is horrible. I can’t believe how bad you were, Rick. Oh, and there was no learning going on. I’m reinforcing that that is a bad thing. And then do I really want to tee it up tomorrow after beating myself up so much?

So I frame it in some three very basic questions and we can go deeper in each one of them. We’re going to talk about some other stuff, but you know, the first thing is I actually ask people, what did they do well in the round of golf, you know? 99% of people, if you say, how did your round go, are immediately going to tell us what went wrong.

Or maybe they just three putt at 18. That’s fresh in their mind and they want to complain and tell you all the bad things. That’s usually how they’re wired. Right? I want to change that. Where that first question is, what did you do well today? And then sometimes I’ll get to do anything well. And I said, come on, I saw on your scorecard you made two birdies, you did something.

Right, right. And you have to push that sometimes is like, what did you do? Right? And that could be everything from, Hey, I made a birdie, I made a 30 footer, or you and I talk about were there any process goals that they may have met that they did something? Well, hey, Rick, you have been really proud of me.

How my clarity of my visualization was today. Wow. It was just crystal clear. I could see my shot with a lot of clarity. Awesome. To me, that’s something to celebrate, right? So once we go from, hey, what did you do? Well, today, I then pose it as, what did you learn today? Now, instead of saying, what did you do wrong?

Because learning could still be something like, hey, you know, I really did the visualization. Well, I learned that when I visualize the shot to its completion, it really helps grab hold of the target. Awesome. So that could be both. Those answers could be both for what I did well and what I learned. But most of the time, when you say, what did you learn?

They’re going to say, Oh, I learned. I didn’t hit my driver very well, or I learned, Okay, that’s fine. Well, let’s talk about what you learn about your round today? And then the final question is what do we need to work on? Okay, so this is not about positivity. Oh, let’s look at the good stuff. It’s like, no, no, no.

There’s probably some stuff that we definitely want to get better at and then what are we going to do about it? A lot of people want to complain, they want to make excuses. And if those third questions are not answered, I think people are left with that. Well, it’s just a bad day. Okay. But you’re I can do anything about it.

Then you’re going to keep playing the same patterns over and over again. You and I talk about frameworks before or around now. We’re talking about a framework after the round to ask better questions, to learn, make adjustments, apply it again when you apply it you do the post assessment again. Are we getting closer to where we want to go?

So what did you do well? What did you learn? And then finally, what we have to work on is, you know, and there’s a lot of depth in each one of those questions. But those are the things I start with and you have to remember that I’m not just saying mental game stuff here. Remember, I’m a swing coach performance coach.

I want them to be honest with how was their tee shots, how were their approach shots, how were the putting how we have stats for that too. Right. So we keep a lot of stats now and I think people sometimes get lost in the analytics, but they have to ask those deeper questions. Hey, I shot 75 today. I only hit four Greens and regulation, which is the bright side of my short game.

But why did I only hit four Greens in regulation? Is that I put myself not in a position off the tee? Was it because my approach shots were off? Was that because it was execution, which most people are just going to blame for their swing, or was it a decision error? 

Was there doubt involved? So now we’re starting to really get clear on what led to the round of golf, what led to the performance and not many people go down that deeper dove Absolutely.

I think it’s a story of prioritizing mastery over ego, right? Because it will be difficult. It will be a hit on your ego when you maybe haven’t performed the way that you want to. And the easy option is to sweep it under the rug. 

But we know the best in the world, those that develop the quickest, those that develop over the longest time period, they’re the ones that are looking at every single piece of information as critical data to create a better version of themselves.

So if we can now reframe it as, like we always say, curious rather than criticism or critical. Now all of a sudden you open up a whole new world, you start to actually prioritize being the best learner rather than necessarily always the best performer. Because I believe over the long, longest time period, the best learner will often win more so than the best performer in the shorter.

So it’s a really interesting one. And I want to ask because I’m sure the listeners are thinking this and wondering this, Rick, but is the timing of your Post-round assessment important? Because I’ve heard some people say that there’s actually sometimes some value in some emotional reflection when it may be a little bit high. 

You might call that a bit of a reflection, but then ultimately in order to actually think rationally and to make that decision on what the next action is, we want to be kind of a little bit calmer.

We want to be thinking a lot more rationally. So is that timing important? And if so, when should players be looking to implement this Post-round assessment? Yeah, that’s a great question. The simple way I would say it, I think there does need to be a cool, cool down period.

Let’s say somebody shot what we’ll call a good round 68, but they three putted the last hole and you immediately asked how the round went.

I think they’re going to still react to the three putt a little bit more than being able to see the big picture that they shot 68. So what I see with parents with junior golf is they’re immediately doing an assessment. They’re not asking the right questions by the way, but they’re going to say, Hey little Johnny, why did you hit the last hole?

And I can’t believe you missed so many greens today about that. And they’re bombarded off of the course with somebody else’s assessment, which I think is very detrimental. So I call it kind of at least a one hour cooldown period before they can even talk golf. 

But if it’s an individual golfer now going through it, I think there should be a little bit of a reflection that’s non-emotional a little bit for me because I think people are going to reinforce some of the negativity a little bit more than the positivity with that.

So I like at least a one hour cooldown period. I think if we look at both a Post-round post tournament, they do need to maybe crunch the numbers on some of the data they maybe do need to look at really what they’re let’s say they’re putting stats were or something like that before they can really make an accurate assessment if they’re want to call me an hour after they’re around.

I’m certainly going to talk about the golf mental game. I’m going to talk about the percentage of shots fully committed to how clear as the visualization you really stick to your game plan, stuff like that. That at least starts the conversation of did you do the things you intended to do behavior wise and routine wise, and then you can certainly go down patterns.

So I look at patterns of golf shots and I look for patterns of behaviors right? With golf shots, it’s pretty easy. Hey, I missed let’s say I missed ten fairways out of 14 and eight of them were left. I have a pattern that I would have to address. And is that just flat out a swing thing or was it mental?

Was a lack of commitment, right? So I start asking more and more questions. I don’t think us as a coach is to tell people what happened. They need to have a better understanding of what they are experiencing at the moment. That’s why, again, I’m always about both mental and physical. What led to the performance? You and I talk about a performance loop all the time.

That result was certainly because of a swing. Totally get it. But the swing was affected by the state we were in, and we really do have to start looking back and say, Huh, I did miss a lot of fairways left because I was afraid. Right? It’s not a swing thing. 

Everybody that would be mental and there’s other times you might feel great over the ball and you hit a poor golf shot because it was physical.

People need to be honest with their assessing their performance. And you mentioned the thing ego, right? Sometimes it’s going to get rough to look at what happened . All right, let’s go. I mean, you want to get better, then you’re going to have to look yourself in the mirror and figure out what happened. 

So I think post assessments don’t have to take a long time, but I think once people ask the right questions, they can get right to the root of it a lot quicker.

Then just looking at stats. Well, obviously, my approach shots weren’t very good because that needed greens and regulation. But that to me is too simple. I think it’s deeper than that. Yeah, no, I agree. It’s an interesting one. 

And I think I love what you said about focusing, first of all on what you do. Well, because we know obviously when you talk about memory, memory is affected by emotions, right?

So your emotions are heightened, your memory is going to hit, your brain is going to want to remember that situation more because it sees it as a danger. It says something important. 

So that’s why we remember things from when we’re younger and these experiences, ultimately your emotions were heightened. So we have to counteract that somehow because our brain is almost working against us because we know when we’re out on the golf course we hit it to a foot.

Sometimes we expect that we had a good shot in that we hit a Porsche and all of a sudden our emotions are through the roof. So we will and I’ll bring this up to almost guide us to remember those things more. 

So we need to counteract it with that positivity, something that I have actually done with some of my players and it’s a little bit out of the box, kind of thinking, but after around because it can be so difficult to get out of that emotional frame of mind, to get out of that emotional perspective, I actually ask them to write the situation what’s the situation maybe on a piece of paper or you can do this hypothetically. 

I shot 70. I really don’t have a terrible performance. I thought this wasn’t good, this wasn’t good. Cope put it in the middle of the table. Now as you go around the table, you have different chairs around the table. And again, this can be hypothetical or you can. Yes, but you have your coach, you have Rick sitting in one chair.

You have your parents sat in another chair, you have your short game coach sat in another chat. You have anyone you have your one of your mentors sat in another chair, your girlfriend or your partner sat in another chair. And you go round the table when you ask or you sit in the chair and you actually look at the situation and you respond as if you’re from that perspective from there.

And that can be so powerful in getting you out of your own mind, getting you out of getting yourself out of your own emotions and bringing in some more rational perspectives when maybe then always contactable and you can create folks, people, most people that you only listen to on YouTube. I listen a lot to the likes of Tom Video or Tony Robbins or Jim Rome.

I can go around the table. Exactly what would Tom do? I did what was now recommended. All of that stuff can be really powerful and loveable. It was out of all our minds and into the minds of others and brought some more rationale to the situation. So that’s something I don’t love.

And I think, you know, for those listeners out there that don’t have a ton of coaches, you may have had a swing coach.

You take lessons, let’s say every six weeks or something like that. You may be on YouTube and listening to certain people. But I love that from a perspective standpoint because it does get you out of your head and you will come up with different answers from a different framework. Right.

The framework of a swing coach certainly is going to look at what the pattern of shot was, what was mechanically happening.

And you look at and go, oh, dang it, I was coming inside underplaying again. Okay, I got to work on that instead of doubts about swing. Right. And yeah, I love that idea the big time. 

And when you have, you know, when you have somebody you can bounce ideas off of, whether it’s a swing coach or a mental coach and allow them here’s the big thing, allow those coaches to give their honest feedback.

Some people say they want feedback, but they shut down once they hear anything. That sounds somewhat now we call it, you know, being resourceful and having good feedback, but they think it’s critical. My guys are telling me my bad at something it’s like, well, it might be so again, take responsibility for it. And that’s that ego thing that you mentioned before.

So I think assessing is why we want to help our players have honest self-assessments. If they have a team around them and they can bounce ideas off, that’s great. But you have to be open so that they may say something you don’t like. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with them all the time, but you do have to be open to that listening.

Absolutely. And how important do you think it is to keep track of all of these assessments that you do? Because more often than not, what I notice with my players and you might notice the same thing, is it’s actually recurring things, things that keep happening sometimes over and over. It’s another one of those is another one of those, another one of those.

So something that I do personally with my players that helps us process if we go through some past experience is we make a list of new experiences you may have had in the last six months, and we list as many of your experiences as we possibly can think of from each experience we actually discussed. What did you learn from each one of those experiences?

And it could be two or three lessons from each one. And then from those lessons you start to identify some key things they come across. You can bunch them in different areas. And from those things, we create these principles that now you can start to live your life by not just your golfing life, but your whole life as well.

And actually what I tend to notice is when we then reflect on a tournament or a specific situation and we say, Right, what was the experience, what was the lesson, how does that fit into what does that match with one of the principles we already have? Oh yeah, it does actually. 

That’s if I had been living that principle that we spoke about, I wouldn’t have necessarily had that experience and what you maybe would call a negative experience in the short term.

I wouldn’t have had that experience if I’d have been living through my principal. So I think it’s really important to create these principles that you can always go back to refer back to because more often than not it tends to be another one of those, another one of those, another one of those.

And if we caught it before and were aware of it, we may have been able to actually overcome the problem much quicker.

Yeah, no, I completely agree. So again, I use the word patterns all the time. And back when I played competitive golf back in college and a little bit as a professional, my post assessments were more journaling than it was filling out forms. 

And sometimes, honestly, that the journal entry might be three sentences long, sometimes it might be a full page, and back then it was probably more swing related, I’ll be honest, because that was before I really got down to the mental game Rabbit Hole, but I was I remember I was being honest with what happened.

Hey, I shot 75 and eight of my drives went left back. Then again, I would think it was a swing error and that was my pattern. I would come under while playing, flip the hands, close the club, and face the ball that went left. So that’s a pattern that I would now work with my swing coach on as like, Dang it, that’s showing up again.

But I think even deeper, what you’re saying is that my pattern of going left actually showed up more under pressure when I really needed it. When I got this par five, I only got there in two and I gave it a little extra rip and then I’m going, Oh, Rick, you’re still making that same pattern. We’ve got to address that I’m now swinging out of my shoes, which is not what the plan was on.

And I’m reverting now to a swing issue. So that’s the thing that helps me out. But on the flip end there, Almas, I remember I had a stretch of about six months that I played the best golf I’ve ever played. And I’m doing the post assessments, and I’m reminded to myself, Oh, wow, you felt really connected today. That was my word for arms and chest together.

Right. And then, wow, your tempo felt really smooth. And I was so confident at that. Right? The assessment was very positive because I was playing really, really good golf. And then I would look back and go, Wow, I play my best golf when blank happens, right? This, this, and this happened. Why am I getting away from that connection thing?

Well, and so it works both ways, is that people will have patterns certainly of shots they don’t like. And we tend to have the same pattern. But I also want to, of course, reaffirm that you’re good shots, good tournaments, good rounds, are also maybe attitude based and focus based. And so I think we can learn from both of them.

So mine used to be more journal entries, you and I. Know sometimes work off forms of also to help people with one to ten scales and stuff. But I think it’s important for people to write it down of what their experience was and be honest with it definitely. And actually saw the point you mentioned there. 

This isn’t just about identifying the so-called what you might label negative experiences and thinking, well, how could I be better?

I need to improve, I need to make you clearer on what is your ideal state, what is your optimal state of performance. So when you do play well, make a note of that. You’ve got to get that stuff down because there will be a time when you fall off performance slightly and you want to get back to that place.

You’re right, previously. So I think that’s so vital. Something else, Rick, that I really want to mention is important especially for some of the listeners that may not be the elite golfers. 

Playing competitively regularly or playing full time is actually to make sure that with this Post-round assessment, that you make it sustainable, that you make it something that you’re able to do consistently rather than trying to make it overly complex and then something you do for a week and then falls off because I say the same when it comes to I’m not a nutritionist.

So a big disclaimer, but I say the same when it comes to diet. There’s so many successful diets. Are there so many diets that people say are the best in my opinion? The one that’s best is the one that you stick to. So it doesn’t matter if it’s the key time or if it’s the right carb or whatever is is the one that you’re able to stick to.

And more often than that, more often than not comes down to the one that you enjoy the most, the one that you personally enjoy the most that you then can stick to over a long period of time. So I just want to reinforce that and that’s why we have kept it so simple. You provided three questions, but doesn’t need to be more complex than that for the majority of people listening.

Yes. As you get to a higher level, go into the details of the snacks, the data for some, again, not necessarily everyone, but it’s knowing what’s best for you comes all the way back to self awareness. Yeah, definitely. 

And I think it even if it’s literally if 5 minutes of asking those questions, you will find patterns pretty quickly. And as you mentioned, if you look back and go hmm, I’m still that same performance is still creeping up.

I need to change my strategy. Okay. And if you don’t have an option, you then of course hire a coach or you become a member of flow code and you have all these different ways of helping those things. 

It’s like it’s then fine to experiment, but you now are very clear on what the pattern is. Okay. So to me when somebody says, Oh, I just shot 85 and that’s really high for them, oh my God, the world’s going to end.

They catastrophize it and say, Well, it’s one round within. There were not many patterns, it was just a day. Now if you shot 85, five straight days and you normally shoot 75, we have a pattern. We better, we better figure out what’s going on. 

I think people catastrophize are a result of way too much. Instead of asking those questions, you may have looked at that high round and then you see, Oh, that’s right.

I had three triples. I normally have zero triples on my scorecard, but I did hit three balls. I’ll be okay. Right. So that really makes the 85. That number skewed a little bit because it’s three swings that caused six shots. So that’s the thing where if you can be honest with yourself, I don’t think people will blow out of proportion.

The results definitely. Definitely. Just, just one last thing and what an episode it’s been, by the way. But just one last thing I want to ask because we mentioned that it’s important to have a little bit of a cooling down period at the end to allow yourself to move from that emotional state into a little bit more of a rational state.

So as we say, we respond rather than react, which I think is okay. But if people are going to do that and I definitely would be one of these, but when you then try and reflect back, you’re trying to remember, okay, where did I hit that? Or what was I thinking then or what was I? Is it important?

And do any of your players, do they make notes whilst around the golf course just to say like, okay, that was mental were there or physical or technical over there or make a note says when they do reflect back, they’re actually getting the truth of it. Rather than almost a bit of a false memory of the situation. Yeah, that makes it no, no.

It makes a lot of sense. And I’m torn on my answer on this. So I’ll give you both answers. I hope that this will not distract them in the round. I’m making this my disclaimer and they want to write out notes on a side score card or something like that. I am in favor of that. I remember a player that I work with.

This is several years ago and they were in college and we had three mental game goals and we called it the three C’s at the time. It was clear that each visualization was going to be a lot of clarity to that. There was going to be confidence in the pre shot routine and there was going to be commitment.

And so the three C’s were on the scorecard and each shot in a way was being measured on those process goals. And it could be just a checkmark. Yep. Clarity, confidence, commitment. Awesome. Right. So that was helpful for this person because it kept him on task for 18 holes. They were self assessing every shot and it was just a little check mart or a dot on.

Other people say, Rick, I don’t want to be self assessing all the time because it gets me out of being in the present moment and gets me and it’s a distraction. I totally agree with that. So then we have to go after the fact. I know a lot of people with stats. Again, I’m in favor of stats overall.

Some stat programs are asking for very, very detailed information after every single one. You know, I hit my eight iron to six and a half feet to the right of the flag. That’s very valuable information. But the only way you’re going to know that is if you start writing that down and they could take us out of the present moment.

So like I said, I’m going to cop out and say there’s two ways to answer this, is that in a perfect world and it doesn’t distract you having some self assessment, maybe after every hole I think can be valuable, but I know for a lot of players I work with, if I ask them to self-assess throughout the round, it becomes a distraction within itself.

Yeah, absolutely. And it is one of the difficult things about golf, right? Because you look at a lot of different sports, almost every other sport, especially when we talk at the professional level and maybe for four more minutes, all pros and stuff like that, it becomes very tough because basketball, soccer, rugby, American football is all recorded. 

You hear stories of when Kobe used to finish a basketball game, Michael Jordan, first thing I do straight into the video room, that what you look at, all the tiny details, it can become very difficult even for top level pros because every shot to record it.

So actually they can’t reflect without using a little bit of that memory, which can be a little bit slanted sometimes. So it again comes back to we say this so often but understanding yourself. Does that distract you if it does find other tools, find other techniques, maybe utilize obviously a caddie, stuff like that. If it doesn’t distract you, then it can be quite valuable.

So love that quickly along those lines. You know, you and I are big proponents for post shot routines, which we’re not going to get too much into today, but that’s a self assessment within itself, right? Is that why the ball went to X place? 

If it’s something that would have bothered you emotionally, we’ve you and I have talked about we’re going to learn from the shot instead of being critical that in the moment is definitely a self assessment tool to go.

Now, you and I don’t ask where people do push out routines after every shot because if I stay neutral on the emotion, there’s no need to necessarily do it. If I do a great shot, certainly I would want to reinforce it and anchor it. But there are tools that we’ve shared that a post shot routine in and of itself is an assessment tool as we go.

Definitely love that. Rick. One episode I know all of the listeners, but I’ve got huge amounts of value and as always, we try to provide as many actionable tasks as possible so the listeners can really take this information, apply it to not just a golf game, but their life as well to create versions of themselves. So I know they will love that.

Thank you again, Rick, and look forward to the next episode. Sounds great. We’ll play with some flow.

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Learn about golf mental game coaching with FlowCode Golf Academy / Flow Golf Podcast with Rick Sessinghaus & Hallam Morgan
Learn about golf mental game with FlowCode Golf Academy / Flow Golf Podcast with Rick Sessinghaus & Hallam Morgan