This newsletter is about performance. What it takes to get the ball in the hole. That means were going to talk about putting yourself in position to make solid golf shots and play consistent golf – particularly under pressure.
I’m really excited about this next series of newsletters because I’ll bring in specific real-world examples of the techniques I used to win the 2012 Remax World Long Drive Championship. (ESPN will broadcast the competition on Sunday, December 23rd, at 11:30 am Pacific). These are performance skills that don’t get talked about much, but should. Because they’ll help you play better golf.
For instance, in the finals it came down to my 6th and final ball. I was trailing. I had to hit my best shot.
What do you think about when everything is on the line?
Where do you focus under pressure?
How do you summon confidence and the trust you need to come through in the clutch?
I’ll answer those questions in a moment (hint: it’s NOT mechanics!)
First I need to set the context. That’s what this video is about.
After my win I was invited to speak on the main stage at the Bay Area Golf Show. I shared with the audience the Performance Pyramid. You’ll be hearing more about the pyramid shortly.
The Performance Pyramid is just a way to put into context the skills that come into play at progressively higher levels of performance. These are the skills I practiced to prepare for the championship.
At the highest level of performance you are “in the Zone.” But just below that is a level we’ll call “Peak Performance. That’s your highest level of performance without necessarily being in the zone. It’s still pretty darn good.
And there are specific skills that come into play for peak performance. Skills you can learn. Skills we’ll be discussing over the course of the next several newsletters.
Watch the video to see where “mechanics” fit in the Performance Pyramid. It may help you understand – perhaps for the first time – why you might be frustrated with your golf game or why you feel like you aren’t improving the way you think you should. This is particularly important if you think about your mechanics when you swing.
As you see in the video there are three “High Performance” skills:
I’ll be discussing each in more detail in the next few newsletters. I’ll also provide examples of when and how the skills are used so you can find a way to apply them to your own game when you are on the course.
TARGET: It’s all about picking a specific target, and then developing the skill of knowing where the target is located even when you look away from it and focus on the ball. I used a wind-sock at the end of the grid for my target. My image of that target was so clear I could picture it’s exact location no matter where I was in the entire facility.
CONFIDENCE: Confidence comes from practicing and preparing correctly. I talked about how and what I practiced in my “Journey to the Worlds” series leading up to the competition. There’s a time and place for working on mechanics and a time and place for working on performance skills. The closer I got to the competition the less I focused on mechanics and the more I focused on higher level performance skills. When it came down to crunch time I knew I could hit the shot – because I’d already practiced it.
CENTEREDNESS: One of the keys to performing well under pressure is being in the moment. That means focused exclusively on the task at hand (hitting the golf ball to the target) and not worrying about the past or the future outcome. I used breathing, visualizing, and positive self talk to help me get mentally centered in the moment. The key is to incorporate them into a pre-shot routine to make everything as automatic as possible.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m looking forward to sharing more detail on the specific skills with you because I know you’ll figure out how to apply it to your own game. You’ll have a lot more fun and gain a lot more control over your game.
Please leave a comment or question.
Journey to the Worlds 2012 (see the whole process)