Brain Power

By Neil Connolly, in Sport · 11-09-2020 01:00:00 · 0 Comments
Brain Power

If you say something enough times, you’ll start believing it. It’s one of the biggest marketing and advertising mantras that exists. So last week, when we hosted our short game bootcamp the people present, as well as the person to whom I’m referring, will rarely see a better example of the above saying.

At the start of every bootcamp we have a sit down and chat about what we want to achieve during the four hours of coaching; each player gets a chance to say what they particularly want to have covered that morning. The players talked about how chipping was a problem, bunkers horrible, that sort of thing. Then the player in question said the words, “if you could only sort my brain out everything would be okay!” Whenever I hear somebody say something along those lines, I wonder who is taking responsibility for the brain in question. Because that statement infers that the brain is a separate entity outside of the body and certainly something that the player is unable to control.

I asked what the particular problem is and was told that from 4 feet to the hole he had a real problem, sometimes capable of missing a 6 inch putt. The issue was duly noted, but I could almost sense that he wanted to prove that he was really bad from those distances. This was confirmed when I said, “I’m sure I’ve seen worse”, he responded, “You haven’t.” Challenge accepted we went down to the putting green.

We started with long putts, where he showed the attendees a very solid putting stroke with excellent touch. But consistently stating that the problem wasn’t here it was around the hole.

The moment then arrived where we were doing close quarter putting around the hole within 6 feet. I had set up a series of gates made by two tee pegs along a passing line where you have to get the ball through the 1st gate then the second gate and then the ball will go in the hole. The main purpose of the drill is to create a process of concentration and dexterity which is very achievable and very simple. After all, if you do get the ball through the two gates the ball will go in the hole.

Up steps the player nobody really knowing what to expect, especially me. His first stroke was really solid the ball went beautifully between the two gates and straight into the hole, nothing close to yips or involuntary twitching. Nothing was present apart from his words saying he “stabbed” that. The next ball goes in and he says that his head came up. He holed four out of five 6 foot putts and each of them had a criticism which was far from constructive.

I certainly didn’t see anything wrong with the putting stroke, and I can safely say that the playing attendees didn’t see anything either. What we were actually seeing, was somebody trying to find fault in his stroke, where no fault existed.

And this became the theme for the player for the morning, whenever he hit a solid putt, a good chip or a well-executed bunker shot, there was a fault. We didn’t hear an acknowledgement that one shot was good, even though he was delivering very competent movements alongside desirable results.

I honestly believe that this individual had talked himself into a horrible state of mind. From there the only thing you can do is live with it or change the language by which you operate. You have to appreciate that when something good happens or when a desired outcome occurs, that you did it, you alone, nobody else hit the shot for you.

If you constantly find fault in everything that you do, you will only see the bad things never the good things. It’s like watching the news 24/7, if you did and believed that the news was a fair representation of the world, then you would only see the terror and destruction that occurred in the past 24 hours.

I believe that this player was looking for a quick fix when it had actually taken years for him to destroy his confidence. I gave him some drills hoping that he would apply them diligently over the next few months. To which he replied he’s “looking forward to going out tomorrow to see if anything had changed”.

Goodness me, “If only somebody could sort my brain out.”


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