10 Steps to Self-Confidence

One of the most researched relationships with the field of sport psychology is the link between sporting performance and self-confidence. Time and time again, links have been drawn between these two factors; with greater levels of self-confidence frequently linked to greater levels of performance.
Like many golfers you are likely to be aware of the impact that your level of self-confidence can have within your game. You may even have had recent first-hand experiences of either (or both) high and low self-confidence, when on the range, out of the course, or approaching a specific shot.

The term self-confidence relates to your belief in your ability to perform/execute/achieve a specified outcome. As such, it is undoubtedly important for golfing performance, given the (often) fine margins that exist within golf. In fact, it can often be the difference between successful and unsuccessful performances, at all levels of the game.

Whilst it is interesting to acknowledge that self-confidence is important, it is useful to be aware that fluctuations in your self-confidence levels are natural, and something that should be expected, not feared.

A challenge faced by many players, is knowing how best to understand their personal (natural) confidence peaks, and how they can support and develop their confidence level to the best benefit of their game.

Armed with a better understanding of how to enhance self-confidence, your awareness of specific factors that fuel your confidence level can become more apparent, and easier to work on.
In this article, Gobinder Gill, lecturer in sport and exercise science and Phd Candidate, provides you with 10 take home tips to further understand how you can build your golf self-confidence.

1. Remember that somebody believes in you. This somebody could be a coach, spouse, friend, member of your support team, or club pro. You may be surprised by those that have belief in your ability. There is no harm in asking for reassurances.

2. Plan to achieve. Embark on developing specific elements of your game by having a clear and defined plan. Achieve your task step by step. Do not take on a big task and expect to complete it quickly. Have patience and believe in yourself.

3. Stay in control of the controllable. Maintaining a view of controllable factors can build your self-confidence. It can provide a sense of focus and directive. Remember that you can never control what others are thinking/doing but you can control what you are achieving. There are a range of variables within golf that can lead to performers losing sight of the controllable factors. External factors/influences are common and can hinder your performance.

4. Engage in mental preparation. Engage your mind on the shot at hand by preparing effectively. Mental preparation can follow many trends like, mindfulness, imagery, reflective thinking, positive self-talk, goal setting, meditation and concentration training amongst others. Spend time to find a strategy that work for you and use this as a means of building a platform to support your self-confidence. Greater levels of self-confidence are more likely to be built on steady foundations.

5. Recall your previous success. A mantra that I use is related to distance travelled. Think about previous successes that you have had. What did that feel like? How were your emotions during this time? Further, how confident did that make you feel? Recall is a positive mechanism to enable one to re-build confidence as it associates with belief.

6. Approach your game in consistent manner. Successful golfers build confidence because they are consistent and appreciate the value of success. Consistency is like a habit that is formed through experience. In other words, the more you do the better you become at the task in hand. What do the worlds best golfers do consistently? What areas of your game require a consistent approach?

7. Be constructive in your own self-evaluation. Through self-evaluation you can become more effective at building self-confidence. Building your own level of evaluation will enable you to become critical. But it also enables you to build on this critique to create higher levels of confidence. This is true of most successful performers as they use defeat/backward steps/rejection to fuel the fire to comeback stronger.

8. Reflect positively following performances. There is no doubt that the more you reflect the better you become. This is true in both practice and competition. Reflective practice relates to becoming aware of your strengths and identifying areas that you can improve. Logically, reflection will lead to higher self-confidence levels. Use your practice and competition settings as opportunities to reflect robustly.

9. Continuously set short-term goals. IF you suffer from low self-confidence, this may because you have allowed an issue(s) to prolong and therefore find yourself failing to deal with a problem head on. To overcome an issue, set short-term goals, to encourage the flow of confidence (no matter how small) to start. Through consistently setting and achieving short-term goals levels of self-confidence start to grow bigger. Short-term goals should be related to specific processes within your game.

10. Respect yourself and don’t be too harsh on yourself. Performance is about trial and error. Use this process to learn from the many challenges you may face. Support your performance by eating well and sleeping well. Respect your mind and body. Through respecting performance influences, you can learn to build (or rebuild) confidence. Be determined to work on yourself and learn about compassion to your mind and body.

There you have it 10 ways to build confidence in your golf game, and there is plenty to reflect on. Thank you to Gobinder for his advice in this article. To get in touch with him, follow @psychedge01 on twitter or email [email protected]

As with all of The Golf Psych articles, the way that you apply this information is paramount. Invest time and effort to develop your game. Need some advice on how best to do this? Get in touch I would love to hear from you with any questions or comments you may have. Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]

Think Clearly by choice, not by chance
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