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Logical or Emotional - Which one are you?

Golf is a game that requires patience, perseverance, and a logical approach to improvement. As a golf coach, I have had the opportunity to work with many students over the years. Through my experience, I have noticed that there are generally two types of students in my program: those who approach the game with a logical mindset, and those who approach it with an emotional mindset.

Logical Mindset

Students who approach the game with a logical mindset tend to take ownership of their progress and have a clearer understanding of the necessary steps for improvement. They show a good understanding of our 3 phases of improvement (Builidng, Maintenance and Performance) and what is expected/required at each phase. They are more focused on the process of improvement rather than the outcome, and are therefore able to stay patient and consistent in their approach to the game. These students are often less reliant on the coach for their success but are able to take on board information very well and apply it systematically. They understand there will be ups and downs along the way, but tend to see the bigger picture and focus on long term improvement.

Emotional Mindset

On the other hand, students who approach the game with an emotional mindset tend to be more reliant on the coach for their success. They may struggle to stay patient and consistent in their approach, and may become frustrated easily if they don't see immediate results. These students often judge themselves on things that are unrelated to the necessary steps for improvement, which can lead to impatience and a lack of progress over time.

How would you deal with this?

Here’s an example of a scenario which can occur during the improvement process, and how the two different student types will deal with it.

A student has been asked to work on a stronger grip to close the club face. Their only focus for 1 week is to get used to the grip and practice closing the face. While they are working on it, they hit a few fat and thin shots.

What does the logical student do?

The odd bad strike doesn’t faze the logical student. This is because they understand they have 1 task for that week, which is to strengthen the grip and close the club face, and they are only judging themselves on that alone. They stick to the task at hand, improve their ability to close the club face and allow themselves and their coach to move on to the next progression for next week.

What does the emotional student do?

The fat and thin shots frustrate them because they want to strike the ball perfectly every time. They hit balls quickly at the driving range with no slow practice swings in between. They message the coach saying “HELP!!! Why am I thinning and fatting the ball? I’m close to giving up, it’s too hard!” They may even trawl through youtube to find videos on how to stop thinning and fatting the ball, getting distracted from the original task. The coach then has to remind them that their only task for that week was to change the grip and close the club face.

Do the right type of practice and manage expectations

The other scenario I often see with the emotional student is doing the wrong type of practice for the phase of the program they’re in. For example, if you have technique stuff to work on in a building phase, it’s probably not a good idea to try it out for the first time in a Saturday Medal round. If you do try this, don’t expect a good result! The idea in the building phase is to build your technique through block practice on the driving range or indoor facility, ingrain the new movement and don’t focus on scores yet.

See my blog on the 3 stages of learning:

Everyone is different

As a coach, I understand that each student is different and has their own unique approach to the game. However, I have seen first hand that being a logical student is the key to success in the G60 program. Logical students are able to stay focused and confident, even when things aren't going so well. They also tend to have more fun while playing and practicing because they have a clear understanding of the process and can see progress over time.

Are you an emotional student? What can you do?

So, what can you do if you tend to approach the game with an emotional mindset? The first step is to take ownership of your progress. Understand that your coach is there to guide you, but ultimately it is up to you to make the necessary changes to improve your game. This means being patient, consistent, and logical in your approach to the game.

Be Process Driven

Another key step is to stay focused on the process, rather than the outcome. This means understanding that improvement takes time and that there will be ups and downs along the way. By staying focused on the process and trusting in the guidance provided by your coach, you can make steady progress towards your goals.

I have been known to be fairly blunt and straight forward with my coaching style over the years. I carefully pick appropriate people / times but an example of this is using the phrase "don't be a child" with a talented 21 year old golfer when he showed too many signs of being an emotional student. Turns out this advice was listened to, understood and taken on board. It ended up being highly effective too. He massively improved his technique, became a much better golfer and was a lot less frustrated on the golf course.

In conclusion, approaching the game with a logical mindset is the key to long term improvement in the G60 program. By taking ownership of your progress, staying focused on the process, and trusting in the guidance provided by your coach, you can make steady improvements in your game. Over time, these small changes become significant ones.

But whether you tend to approach the game with a logical or emotional mindset, remember that success in golf is achievable with patience, perseverance, and a logical approach to improvement.

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