EDITORIAL – LABELS CAN AND DO DEFINE OUR GAMES

By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, USGTF Sports’ Psychologist

Did the No. 1 world ranking help Adam Scott win the Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial in 2014?

A resounding “yes” is the answer!

The labels we give ourselves and events will greatly affect our achievements. When you label yourself as a winner, you will feel like a winner. When you label yourself a great putter, you will feel like a great putter. Unfortunately, labels can work negatively, and in many cases, they can hurt our achievements. My favorite case was when the sub four-minute mile was labeled as unbreakable. Then in 1954, Roger Bannister broke it, and that following year, 18 other runners broke that mark, as well. Once the label was shattered, everyone believed they could run a sub four-minute mile.

This same label procedure greatly affects your golf game. For instance, if you label yourself an “80s” shooter, then you are comfortable shooting in the 80s. But if you are having the round of your life and you are about to break 80 for the first time, you will get very nervous, and most likely, have a few blow-up holes, and ruin your round.

You must believe it to see it. Instead of seeing yourself as an 80s shooter, begin to believe you are a golfer who shoots in the 70s. This principle works at any level. If you have not broken 100 yet, begin to believe you are a 90s shooter. Of course, you must be realistic, and you can’t see yourself as a 70s shooter if you have not broken 100 yet.

Use this same labeling system in all parts of your game. Instead of labeling yourself as a lousy chipper or putter, begin to call yourself names of greatness. Tell yourself you are a great putter and a great chipper. When you label yourself with positives, you will begin to believe it. When that happens, you will see the scores you desire.

The World Golf Coaches Alliance is a division of the USGTF.

 

 

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