After a particularly bad hole I know many golfers, myself included, will walk to the next tee and think about where it all went wrong…from a sliced tee shot to a chunked iron shot, to a putt that was never going to reach, I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of beginning the following hole with the memories of the last fresh in our mind.
Now, if you were to speak to any sports psychologist or professional golfer, they would tell you that reflection is an art, and timing is key. If you approach your next hole filled with thoughts then you will naturally afford less focus towards the shot at hand, and as a result, will perform to a lower level.
With this in mind, how can you implement reflection into your game without having a detrimental effect on your following holes and even rounds?
When to reflect?
Instead of reflecting during your round, make a conscious effort to take time after your round for reflection. In the immediate aftermath, these thoughts can often be full of emotion so start your reflections once home, or away from the course. Although often difficult due to the emotions throughout your time on the course, try to limit the reflections and focus on the following shot as opposed to thinking back to what has already passed.
How to reflect?
Don’t just think about what went on throughout your round, write a physical memoir of your round, focusing either on a hole by hole basis, or a more broad basis such as tee shots. We often get drawn into only remembering the negative events throughout our round but all that can serve to do is reduce our confidence for the future. As a result, be sure to reflect on both positive and negative experiences throughout the duration of the round, this will maintain your confidence, and also give you scope to practice come your next range session.
Reflection is an art and won’t be a quick fix for your performances, but as a technique readily available to everybody, and relied upon heavily by a wide range of world-class athletes this is something that can not only help maintain your confidence and focus but also increase your enjoyment of the game.
Use the reflection as a building point for your next practice or performance and always remember to not be too harsh on yourself, everyone has a bad day, but it’s how you react that determines your character!