Putting Self-Talk an Always/All ways Approach
The Always/ All Ways aspect of my training system is geared toward the weekend golfer who doesn’t have much time to practice. Ideally we’ll be able to insert experiences into our daily routines we can transfer to the golf course. One way to trigger all of those proper golf thoughts we need to use during a round is self-talk.
If we watch golf on television or play a lot ourselves we at times see and hear a player talking to themselves. “Why did I aim so far left’” or even “I’m an idiot” (followed by the putter shaft denting his head). Some may refer to this as self talk, not positive, but self talk none the less. I’d like to pursue a more positive way to use it. Self talk during the cognitive phase of learning can help develop ‘how to’ habits and even help accomplish goals. A golfer who needs improvement in aiming skill may have a goal of, “From behind the ball, aim the face of the putter exactly at the intermediate target using the dominant eye 100% of the time.” As the player evaluates the pre-shot environment the self talk may include cues for balance, tempo, and ‘dominant eye’ to trigger accomplishing the the goal to perfect the desired skill.
But let’s get real; how ofter does the average golfer practice or even think like this? We’ve all forgotten something our instructor asked us to do. So let’s use some always/ all ways technique to help get into the self-talk mindset; let’s develop a habit of self-talk for a simple daily routine. A goal of ‘wearing my seatbelt 100% of the time’ isn’t specific enough. Let’s change it to a mindset challenge patterned after our putting example: ‘connecting my seatbelt immediately after the key is in the ignition, and before starting the engine 100% of the time.’ Can you measure that process? Absolutely! The self-talk may be triggered by the car door opening. Say: “door’s open, key in right hand, see the belt, sitting, key-belt-ready to start.” It may sound silly, but as normal weekly golfers we need to develop a routines and triggers mind set to help get rid of as many surprises or distractions during our weekly game as possible.
So when we walk toward any putting green our self-talk mind set triggers us to remember, “to use the dominant eye to align the putter toward the intermediate target.” After you make the putt, review your process to measure your goals: dominant eye, intermediate target, balance, tempo, open the car door, key, seatbelt, and go! Play always/ all ways!