I was excited to learn that I was chosen to be on the cover of the July issue of Golf Tips Magazine. I wrote two articles for the issue.
My longtime student Collin Morikawa won the prestigious Western Junior in Indianapolis. He shot four rounds in the 60’s and won by 5 shots. He has worked very hard and has been a pleasure coaching him for 8 years.
To learn more you can click on the link
I am pleased to announce a collaboration with Gregg Olsen and Jeff Nordlie of MZ Coach to create a one of a kind product, MZ Coach. MZ stands for Mental Zone and each golfer is aspires to be in the “zone” while playing. This unique product will revolutionize how you learn golf. For more information visit www.MZCoach.com .
I’m very excited to have started working with the company Athlete Assessments. I have been looking for a tool that would cut down the learning curve of getting to know an athlete and now I found it. Athlete Assessments’ behavioral profiles are all about understanding the drivers of coaches, athletes and sports professionals. The AthleteDISC, CoachDISC and ManagerDISC profiles use proven profiling techniques and based on decades of behavioral research and many years of top level sporting experience. After completing your questionnaire, which takes just 7-10 minutes, you receive an in depth 44-page personalized report. Your report analyzes your personal style, strengths and limitations and gives you tools and strategies you can start using straight away.
No matter what level golfer you are, the importance of profiling in sport cannot be overstated. Profiling can clearly identify the factors that will lift your performance to the next level, such as:
- Your unique motivators
- Your preferred communication style
- Your most effective training environments
- Style of coaching you best respond to
- Your personal strengths
- Areas to focus on for improvement
- Team dynamics
Athlete Assessments’ AthleteDISC profiling will:
- Take the guesswork out of your performance and the behaviors that get your best results.
- Show you how to build on your strengths .
- Identify and address your limiting behaviors.
- Improve your communication with your coach and teammates.
- Provide you the opportunity to get honest feedback from your coach, teammates and others.
- Help you reach your full potential!
For more information on this powerful learning tool email me at Rick@RickSessinghaus.com.
The most challenging part of coaching the mental game is making the skills tangible to the golfer. Now I use the Focus Band to help golfer train to get into the zone. The Focus Band measures brainwave activity and improves focus, reduces tension, and helps a golfer transition from the left side (analytical) of the brain to the right side (subconscious) of the brain. This key area gets the golfer from thinking to doing. What is powerful is that the golfer can wear the Focus Band while hitting golf shots. Contact me to make an appointment to use the Focus Band.
Pressure is defined as a “force that pushes or urges”. From a mental standpoint pressure is usually perceived as a negative force that affects thoughts and behavior. I have heard many elite athletes explain that pressure is self-inflicted. What is pressure for one athlete is not for another. There are methods to reduce the negative affect of pressure and turn pressure into an ally. The first goal is to help the athlete define pressure as something neutral instead of something to fear. Pressure triggers words such as “failure” which can make us feel nervous and anxious. Failure can be switched to “results”. This removes the negative connotation on things if they don’t work out as we might wish. We can then evaluate results and decide how to improve, instead of labeling them as failures which stops many from learning.
The first technique is to define the situation in a different way. This reframing will switch the perceived pressure to clarifying what is in the athlete’s control in the event. The greats in sports look at pressure as a positive and that when they feel pressure that it means this event is important and they are looking forward to the opportunity to show their skills. Rather than think/say, “I am tense and anxious”, say, “I am excited, I am ready!”
The next technique is an If…Then visualization exercise. Most athletes under pressure are worrying about the outcome. Having the athlete visualize different scenarios before the actual event and seeing their desired behavior with each scenario will help the athlete gain control over the “what ifs”. When an athlete keeps focusing on the potential outcomes the focus shifts away from the process and stays on the potential negative outcomes. Actually visualizing potential pressure situations will reduce the anxiety in the future as the athlete imagines ways to perform. This preparation helps the athlete gain confidence that they will be able to handle whatever situation arises.
Athletes need tools for both before performance and during performance. I have addressed the before performance through reframing and “If…Then” visualization. For during performance the athlete can use focus cues and breathing to gain control of their inner world. When the athlete is in the present, pressure doesn’t exist. Pressure only exists as worrying about the future. This is where training with focus cues will bring the athlete back to the present moment. For golfers I ask, “What is the lie of this ball and how will it affect the ball flight?” For a batter in baseball it is watching the release point of the pitcher to pick up the pitch. Going back to process cues in the athlete’s routine is a great way to switch focus. The other affect that pressure can bring is tension. The simplest, yet most powerful tool to combat tension is breathing. Being aware of tension is a skill and then using deep diaphragmatic breathing is the tool to bring the athlete back to a desirable arousal level. Thinking of the breath will also shift focus to the present. By training present state focus and breathing the athlete can get back to what matters most, the present moment.
The summer has now ended and what a summer it has been. I have enjoyed coaching so many wonderful people and seeing great improvement along the way. One area I always preach to my students is learning. You can always expand your learning and this summer I spent some of my off time learning some new tools to help my coaching. I became certified in a mental game coaching system called Mind Factor which was created by Dr. Karl Morris the leading mental game coach in Europe you has worked with many champions and Major winners. I also became a Habit Factor Professional which is based on the best selling book The Habit Factor. Finally I began working with a great new device called the Focus Band which measures brainwave activity and trains the peak performance state of the zone. I will be sharing these new learnings in future articles and with my students. Learning never stops!
To play your best you need to have a pre-shot routine that gets you mentally focused, emotionally confident, and physically relaxed before you execute a shots. Watch this video on the steps of an effective pre-shot routine.
This is the second year I will be speaking at the Southern California Golf Association Junior Summit. These three events focus on what it takes to play college golf. Many juniors and parents don’t know all the aspects of playing at the college level. I will be speaking on the mental side of college golf. Many juniors think it is just about the scores and even though that is important, the college experience will challenge the junior on and off the course. I have seen many talented juniors who were not prepared for the academic challenges and the time management issues that college golf presents. The potential pressure increases and some fold under the pressure of playing at that level. Preparing for college golf mentally requires confidence, focus, and emotional control. Staying confident in one’s ability needs to be the foundation for the junior golfer. Improving confidence is about positive self-talk, proper preparation/practice, and seeing success beforehand. The skill of focus is about training one’s attention on what is relevant. In college there are potentially more distractions that get in the way of focusing on golf. Those that can compartmentalize will be more successful than those that bring outside issues onto the golf course. Finally emotional control is crucial. The ability to stay calm and minimize frustration will help with the long-term development at the college level. The college season is long and there are a lot of ups and downs throughout the year. Bouncing back from poor shots/rounds is a skill. Learning from experience instead of being critical is the key distinction. I loved playing college golf and wish I had been more focused, confident, and emotionally in control.