The 5 Biggest Mental Mistakes made by Junior Golfers

Sep 30th, 2010No Comments

The 5 Biggest Mental Mistakes made by Junior Golfers:

Mistake #1 Distracted Easily-  Mental Skill needed=FOCUS 

The lack of consistent focus is the number one mistake junior golfers make on the golf course. When I give playing lessons the first thing I notice is the lack of concentration throughout a round by a junior. I see juniors that are distracted by playing partners, noises, squirrels, wind, you name it I have heard it. The issue for juniors is that very few of them are ever taught what they should focus on. This is where developing a consistent, effective pre-shot routine is vital. In my book, Golf: The Ultimate Mind Game I spell out in detail the proper preshot routine. For this audio I want you to remember a few basics.

  1. Be clear on what shot you have in front of you. What kind of lie do you have, what is your target, which club are you going to use, and what shot are you going to play.
  2. Next, rehearse the shot with a practice swing exactly how you want to perform the shot.
  3. Finally, look at your target and commit to the shot. Stay focused in your mind on the target you are planning.

If you do get distracted use a refocus word like target to get you back on focusing on the present shot. 

Mistake #2- Too hard on self- Mental Skill needed Confidence

 The second mental mistake I see junior golfers make has to do with being too hard on themselves. Unfortunately I know this far to well. I lived and died with everyshot. If I hit a good shot I felt fine, however if I hit a poor shot I felt horrible. It was difficult to bounce back for the next shot. I would call myself names, throw clubs, and basically become a jerk to play with. My wake up call was when I was 18 years old my friend and instructor Paula Olsen told me she would not play with me again until I controlled my temper. She always supported me and said that I was good enough to play at the highest level except I didn’t have a good attitude on the course and couldn’t play well after hitting poor shots. I worked on my attitude and because of the improvement I earned a college scholarship because my mental attitude was now as good as my physical skills.

Please if you get anything from this audio is to develop a mental toughness that even when you hit poor shots you can stay positive and are able to refocus on the next shot. Nobody wants to play with a poor sport and your game will suffer if you let your temper take over.

I teach a post shot routine to my students that allows them to learn from the shot they hit without letting it emotionally affect their ability to be at their best for the next shot.

Nobody is perfect and you should strive to enjoy golf. I know it is easier to enjoy golf when you are playing well, however golf is like life you must keep going with the ups and downs.

 Mistake #3 Score Focused- Mental Skill needed Process Focus

The third mental mistake I see junior make is being too score conscious during a round of golf. I know that golf is about which player scores the lowest; however when it becomes your only focus you will actually play worse. Golf involves two steps: process and outcome. This means that how you swing the club will result in a certain outcome of shot. Basically this is a cause and effect. If your only focus is the outcome of the shot you will forget to focus on the best process to achieve better results.

What happens is that juniors begin to think too far ahead in a round of what they should shoot on certain holes and forget to focus on the shot that is right in front of them. 

Mistake #4 Poor Practice Habits- Mental Skills needed Focused Practice

Don’t know how to practice- waste time and seem to only gradually get a little better instead of making big strides.

            * Juniors tend to mess around and just hit balls- don’t focus, don’t have a plan

            * Juniors need to know in advance what they are going to practice with the help of their instructor

            My students get a card after each lesson that highlights where improvement is needed and what should be practiced with drills to make changes

            Have a plan- what are my priorities that I need to practice today.

            What drills and practice games can I use to keep my focus on my priorities

            Journalize your sessions to track your progress

 Mistake #5 Not Tournament Ready- Prepare to Be at your best

  • This sometimes is a mistake made by an overzealous parent who wants their child to play in a tournament.
    • Outside comfort zone
    • Not knowing how to prepare for tournament.
      • Practice round
      • Pre round routine

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