Flow Golf Podcast TV Episode#4 / Golf Mental Game Coaching
Rick, back again for another episode. I’m so excited to discuss more concepts, more strategies that our listeners can implement and benefit from today.
What I want to discuss is self-awareness as a tool and as a skill. So I want to ask you first, what are some of the tools or strategies you’ve used with your players, your clients to help them gain more self-awareness and tackle the golf mental game strategy?
Sure. And I think when people are listening to this thinking that is self-awareness really a performance strategy, and the answer is yes. And you and I definitely know that it may not be as cool as visualization or those types of things, but I think it’s at the heart of it is self-awareness and really being clear on where I might act, what am I feeling? What am I thinking? What am I doing? It seems like a very basic question, but I don’t think people ask that question enough throughout their actual performance on the golf course.
But then afterwards. So part of self-awareness for me is having people. I call it a reality check if some people are delusional. Some people let their ego get in the way of understanding where their performance really is.
You and I have talked about blind spots before. We’ve talked about goal setting in order to get better. I think you need to be very clear where we’re at now. And so self-awareness is going to go all over the place, and I know you and I are going to have discussions, both general and specific.
But I guess I would first pose the question because I use questions a lot for self-awareness of, you know, where are you? And people are going to be like, What do you mean? Well, as a golfer, where are you?
What are your skills? What’s positive? What are some things you need to work on, opportunities to work on, and you start asking these open ended questions. And if you’re really honest with yourself, I think you get an idea of really, where is my game at?
So that’s part of self-awareness. And the other part of it is the post performance assessments, what just happened that I can learn from? And again, we can certainly shoot a 75. And as you know, there’s a lot of ways to shoot 75, and I want somebody to really be able to take a look at it, not only statistically, but you and I talk about mindsets. You and I talk about commitment to shot and our behaviors and our state of mind out there. Are we actually asking those questions of how my mental state is out there?
And I don’t think many people are. So when I look at self-awareness, I start with the big picture. I start with some questions to help people go, Hmm, I wonder what’s going on there? So I’ve learned plenty from you.
How about how do you kind of put in self-awareness as a strategy for your golfers? If what you said there, Rick, is so important? And I think a really nice analogy that I speak to a lot of my clients on this topic is that if you were to put your phone onto your map and you wanted to get to a certain place or a certain destination, the only way you could map that route is if you had two things. one, your current location, which is your self-awareness and then to the destination and exactly where you’re going.
So yes, goals are important, and we’ve obviously spoken about that in previous episodes. But knowing your current location and having that self-awareness is key. So some of the things that I use with my clients to help them gain that self-awareness is things like journaling just actually and sometimes not necessarily structured journaling, but just allow them to freely write in a journal, maybe have some specific questions that, as you say, directs their focus down a certain avenue, but also mindfulness of meditation, taking some time out from the chaotic lives that we live and actually just spending some time with your own thoughts and actually spending some time just focusing on your breathing that can be really powerful to help you gain that self-awareness.
So that’s some of the strategies that I use. But what I would actually suggest for a lot of people as well to take it that step further and to start to identify some of those blind spots that you mentioned is also leveraging some some trusted mentors as well, Rick, because it’s very difficult sometimes to spot the things you can’t see. So actually having some of those trusted people in your team that can help you identify them can be really, really powerful. So I’m not sure what you call them in the US, but over here we say the essentially mentors are a bit like wing mirrors, the mirrors on the side of your body because they help you identify your blind spots. So I think that’s a really powerful quote that I heard previously to help you remember the value that other people can bring to gaining self-awareness as well.
No question. And these mentors, you know, usually have been doing what you want to do four or five, six, ten years ahead of you, right? And they can shorten your learning curve a lot. Yet they are going to look at it from a more kind of just objective way of just saying, OK, this is what I’m seeing you do. And you’re like, Really? I do that. You know, it’s funny when I video people. On the golf course, and they see their reactions to shots. Right? And they go, That’s not me, I go, That’s you.
It’s right there, right? And so sometimes we’re so in our own head and we’re so, you know, creating our own little story. We don’t realize that this is how we’re behaving and how we’re acting. So I think a mentor certainly helps give a different perspective.
You trust that mentor, so you know that they’re to help you and to really mentor could be a coach, but well worth taking is somebody who really believes in you, who wants to help you. That’s how I look as a mentor.
But I loved your idea with the blind spots in the mirrors and stuff like that, we all, well have our own stories, and sometimes those stories get in the way of really, truly getting better. You mentioned, you know, with mindfulness or meditation, which is something that I’ve done for years now.
And again, people, I think, get in, get in their head that they’re supposed to be perfect at it or they’re supposed to never get distracted. No, it’s an actual tool to help you refocus. But the first thing is, what am I focusing on and whether it’s a breath, whether it’s counting the breaths, whether it’s a mantra, whether
it’s a visualization or guided visualization if we’re using that time to actually train the focus. Muscle and self-awareness awareness is a form of focus. And so that’s what I’ve really enjoyed sharing with students is it could be just one minute of smooth breaths and counting them and having people become aware of where their attention goes?
How quickly can they bring it back and such? So when you think about training it, you know, and I love the idea of journaling what would be a very small training that you would give a golfer to help them with self-awareness?
Yeah, it’s really interesting that you mention that actually, because I remember reading recently and I think this was a US stat, but the average US citizen picks up their phone about 100 times per day. So actually, what we’re doing there is we’re training ourselves for distraction rather than training ourselves for awareness or for focus.
So something that could be really interesting is actually trying to reduce the number of times you do that by actually trying to then increase just the number of times that you bring a focus to anything. It can be like you said your breath.
It can be doing a body scan and actually becoming aware of your body that can be really powerful. Becoming aware of the feeling that your feet has on the ground or becoming aware. There’s a lot of different things and you can choose your focal point.
I actually don’t think the focal point matters too much. It’s choosing your own focal point that makes the most sense to you and then training your ability to bring your awareness onto that focal point. And you made a really important point, and that’s actually that you shouldn’t get frustrated if you find yourself getting distracted, losing focus.
Because actually, when you lose that focus and you bring it back to the focal point, that’s you training that muscle. That’s you doing that dumbbell curl. And I think that’s actually a really important part of the training method is to actually do that quite frequently.
So if you are getting distracted and you do so, find yourself losing focus during the mindfulness practice, you’re actually in a really good spot. You’re training the muscle. You’re actually doing that bicep curl the equivalent of. If you find yourself almost not getting distracted, then I would say, actually increase the intensity or increase the so-called difficulty or length of your mindfulness training. It’s really, really important that exactly and in many of you golfers out there listening say, OK, that sounds great. But how do I apply that to the golf course, right?
We’re about, you know, performing better on the golf course, and self-awareness is again the first most important skill you can bring to every golf shot. And you know, my favorite tool we want to call it, that is using present based questions, right? Sometimes, as golfers get ahead of ourselves, right, we’re already thinking about, you know, we’ve shot a certain score and we’re rolling on the 11th hole or we’re still beating ourselves up for the three putt.
We had two holes ago and we’re not in the present moment. So self-awareness is am I paying attention to the present moment period? OK. And if the answer is no, I have drifted to the future of the past.
To me, using present based questions is crucial. You know, how is this lie going to affect the ball fly? Where is the wind coming from? How firm is this green? When you start asking those questions, you are cognitively now thinking about different things that are in the present moment.
You mentioned body scan before, which I think is a wonderful way to get in touch with our literally. Our body is where I am feeling tension? Am I being relaxed? Do I feel the breath going in and out of my nose?
Those things can really help recenter us and ground us again into the present moment. What other tools do you use to now bring that self-awareness out on the golf course? So I actually want to take this. So there are many, many tools.
In that area, but Connor, we’re talking now on a micro scale, but I want to then take it on to a more of a macro scale into your golf game as well, but actually to a bigger picture kind of conversation.
And one of the questions that I ask a lot of my golfers is Who am I without golf? Who are you without? And actually a really important question to ask yourself because so many players must speak about identity in a later conversation, but their entire identity tied into themselves being a golfer.
So when you gain that self-awareness and you ask that question of who am I without golf, you can actually have a huge impact on your self-esteem and where you get your self-esteem from. So I think that the process of gaining self-awareness through that question is really, really important and can help your performance, your mindset, the way you perceive your golf, the way you in your career when you step out. It’s a really, really key that I also think of golf. And there’s two things that we always strive for. That’s success and fulfillment, in my opinion, because success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.
So self-awareness for me is so vital in actually benefiting both of those components, helping you make better decisions that ultimately moves you closer towards success. Because in my, in my opinion, the way you reach success is by making slightly better decisions every single day is the accumulation of these decisions that you make.
So then also on the fulfillment side, if you understand your values, your beliefs, your life principles and you manage to live in alignment with those on a consistent basis. That’s when you move towards this fulfillment. The art of fulfillment.
The science of success and the art of fulfillment and self-awareness is kind of the connector between the two of them that the foundation of both of those things totally agree. And you know, we certainly have talked habits and we’ll continue to talk habits and the little things that add up and being clear who you are on and off the golf course is a part of that. But how do we now, you know, figure out if those habits are moving us closer or not is about self-awareness and and you know, we look at self-awareness as both.
What am I thinking, right? What am I feeling and what am I doing? Right? Those questions? You know, some people don’t want to ask those questions and they want to be in denial and they want to keep thinking, I’ll just keep doing this.
Or maybe I’ll play better next year or something like that. It’s like, No, it’s not how it works. It’s like you said before in our destinations, let’s get clear where we’re going yet. Right now, let’s get clear on, you know, is my car even working?
Can I get get? Can I even get it going down the highway, right? And we need gas Adobe. We need to have the energy. We need to have the focus. And when those things can actually be identified and say, Hey, I, I know where they’re at and I can do something about it becomes more empowering.
And I loved your word fulfillment. I think that’s a shift. I’m a lot older than you. And if we start just going down the success road, sometimes it feels empty at the end. Yet the fulfillment of, you know, you and I get to do what we love every single day and we get to help people and.
And I want all those golfers out there to play golf. This is fulfilling. This nourishes their soul. They love, hit these shots and love being around people, right? Is that that’s really what I believe kind of life is about is the fulfillment end of it.
And when do we have the self-awareness of this moment bringing me closer to that or not? I think that’s very powerful. Absolutely. Absolutely. In my opinion, anyway. And other people may agree, disagree. But it starts with that fulfillment element, and I believe that the success will actually be a direct output more frequently of the fulfillment than the reverse. Success doesn’t necessarily equal fulfillment. But more often than not, fulfillment will equal that success as well. When we’re doing what we love. We bring that energy to it. We bring that enthusiasm to it, and we ultimately get better results.
We get higher performance when we start with that energy and that enthusiasm and ultimately that fulfillment. Exactly. And so I mean, today’s episode is, you know, it’s about self-awareness and awareness is a form of focus. And you and I have talked both in micro and in very general terms.
But guess what? Self-awareness is the threat of everything. And so if we can be very clear on where we want to go and where we’re at now, if we can get clear in this moment of how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking and I can do training through meditation and journaling, there’s a lot of avenues out there for us to improve our self-awareness.
And I think it’s you and I who are both excited because we know these tools can help people play better golf, and we also know that’s going to help them in life. So I really encourage everybody who’s listening is, you know, you all take a little time out there and become more self-aware throughout the day. And like Alan says, it’s every time you pick up your phone. Maybe you take a smooth breath and use that as a trigger. Now to become more self-aware of why am I picking this phone up again and.
Well, we started doing those little things then when I’m getting ready to hit a golf shot, am I clear on my target? Am I clear on my intention for the shot? All those questions are going to help us master that present moment, and part of that is self-awareness.
So I really appreciate all that you shared with us today is, you know, let’s become more self-aware. Let’s get closer to that person. We want to be on and off the golf course. But let’s, you know, let’s be in the present moment as much as possible.
Definitely. Definitely love it, Rick. Thanks again, Rick. Well, an episode. I look forward to the next one and we’ll catch 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.