Journey to the Worlds: Mental Toughness and the Lion (pt 1)
Update on the shoulder: After the MRI I met with Dr. Ho again and he showed me the images that confirmed the rotator cuff tear. Good news is that while it’s a full-thickness tear, it is only a partial tear. Bad news is that it will still require surgery. So we set up a time to go under the knife in late November I hope the partial tear will mean a quicker recovery. I have to be ready to play when I take my group to Mexico in February!
I got a cortisone shot in the shoulder that will allow me to compete in the Worlds at the end of October. It’s been 2 weeks since the shot, and already the pain is gone (except for certain positions). I started swinging a club at half-speed, and I’ve put in a couple of practices at full speed. So far so good. I’m testing some equipment to make my final decisions on what to bring to the tee in the competition. I’m easing into the practice schedule, trying not to overdo it. By the time the Worlds roll around and I’m on the tee November 1, I’ll be ready.
In the meantime there are other aspects of competing I continue to work on, particularly my mental game. The same process I used in 2003.
At the highest levels of performance, whether it is on the PGA Tour or in the World Long Drive Championship, it is often mental toughness that means the difference. So when I got a chance to work with Dr. Glen Albaugh on some new techniques he is pioneering I jumped at the chance.
Here’s the essence of what we worked on: psychologists and personal growth gurus believe your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. If this is so – and more and more evidence supports the assertion – then to change or influence the way you perform in the real world, the first place to start is with your inner world.
Dr. Albaugh showed me his new technique that works directly and positively on the inner world. It was intriguing.
The general idea is that a strong, clear, purposeful inner world will reflect itself in confident, purposeful play. A questioning, doubtful, fuzzy inner world will reflect itself in inconsistent play.
That’s why I know it’s so important for my self talk and explanatory style to be positive. It’s easy to beat yourself up on the golf course. We’re natural fault-finders. In a way that’s a good thing because we use fault-finding to tell us where to improve and as a motivator to keep getting better.
But not during play. And for sure not during competition.
Fault-finding when you play leads to a downward performance spiral. It’s the antithesis of playing “in the zone” or in flow. So I’ve learned to save the fault-finding for the range where I can use it constructively. When playing or in competition, I keep my inner world positive and target focused.
The question is “How do I keep it positive?”
That’s what Dr. Glen shared with me – a way to work directly on the subconscious that could have important implications for consistently performing at a high level.
I’ll explain the process of what we did, and then I’ll give my interpretation of what I think may be going on, and how it may work in the next post.