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As a physical therapist specializing in the 'physical' part of total golf performance, I mainly help golfers condition their body structure (posture, balance, flexibility, strength, stability and conditioning) to support their full swing mechanics and prevent golf injuries. 

However, I learned a long time ago, that our golf 'body' is truly an instrument of our golf 'mind'... and without the proper 'mind-body' connection in all aspects of our total golf performance, we will never achieve our true golf performance potential.

Consequently, even though I'm first and foremost a golf fitness coach, I spend plenty of time working with my golf performance clients on the mental game of golf... as it relates to achieving their full potential... and not blocking their physical ability to perform because of too many 'negative' thoughts both 'on' and 'off' the golf course.

So, if you're struggling with too many negative thoughts about your golf game such as,  "I'm a terrible golfer" ... or,  "I never hit the ball solid" ... or, "I'm the shortest hitter in my league"...  then I want to share with you a very helpful 'mental' training exercise that can help you shift your thinking... and dramatically enhance your results. 

There are actually quite a number of ways to  de-condition a negative performance thought pattern.  The basic  idea is to replace the 'old' thought pattern with a 'new' one.
Mentally 'resisting' the undesirable negative thought will  usually backfire - you'll actually reinforce it and  make it even worse!  The more you revisit the negative thought and fire those  neurons in your attempt to remove the thought completely, the stronger the thought pattern  becomes.

Instead of trying to resist the negative thought  pattern, it's better to 're-direct' it.  Take the energy of the negative  thought and re-channel it into a positive thought. 

With a little mental re-conditioning practice, whenever the  negative thought occurs, your mind will recognize the negative thought and  automatically flow/transition into the linked positive  thought.   

Step 1: Recognized every negative thought 'on' or 'off' the golf course and write it down.
Negative thought:  'I never hit the ball solid."

Step 2:  Select a positive, empowering replacement thought... 
c hoose a thought that empowers you in a way that disrupts the dis-empowering effect of the original negative thought... and write it down.

Re-channeled positive thought: 'I frequently hit solid shots and am getting more consistent all the time." 

Step 3: Tu
rn the positive thought into a mental image... and make sure you experience a 'good' feeling as you imagine the positive thought in the present tense... as though you've already completely accomplished the performance result that you are imagining.

Step 4:  Mentally chain the two images together. 

T ake the statements and images from Step 1-3, and  mentally glue them together.  You want to 'morph' the first scene into the second  scene... and you will want to practice  making the mental and emotional transition from the negative thought to the positive thought  happen as quickly as possible.

Replay the statement in your mind, read it out loud, and wait for the negative feelings to be felt... then as soon as you recognize the negative emotions and/or any physical response to the the imagined negative thoughts (fear, anger, nervous tension, depression, fatigue, muscle tightness, pain, etc.) immediately switch over to the positive statement... read it out loud as many times as necessary to enable as many positive thoughts and feelings to flow through your mind and body until you actually experience the ideal scene feelings you want (confidence, happiness, relaxation, increased energy, comfort, peace, joy, etc.). 

Once mastered, you should be able to transition the entire thought process, from negative to positive,  in a matter of a few seconds.   It should be lightning fast... much  faster than you'd see in the real world.

Step 5:  Test your mental redirect to see that
 it works.  

It's a lot like an HTML redirect -  when you input the old negative URL, your mind  should automatically redirect you to the positive  one.  Merely thinking the negative thought should  rapidly bring up the positive thought.  


If you've done this correctly, you won't be able to  help it.  The negative thought is the stimulus that  causes your mind to run the whole pattern automatically.  So whenever you happen to think, "I suck at this game,"  even without being fully aware of it, you end up  thinking, "I'm great at this game!"

If you've never done visualizations like this  before, it may take you several minutes or longer  to go through this whole process.  Speed comes  with practice.  The whole thing can literally be  done in seconds once you get used to it.  

Don't let the slowness of the first time through  discourage you.  This is a skill that can be learned like  any other, and it probably will feel a bit awkward  the first several time you practice it. Just realize that it  is no different than strength training your body by lifting a certain weight... at first you need to lift the weight slowly and with total conscious focus on your proper technique for optimal benefits and safest results As you continue to work out and do the exercise, you will be able to lift the weight more easily, with less conscious focus on technique and with greater speed. Mental visualization training works the same way. 

This type of mental conditioning will give you what you truly want... a lot more c onscious control over your internal states... and ultimately much better control over your sub-conscious images, emotional feelings, and physical performance potential when you play. 
  
With regualr practice, this process will be so internalized that you will just do it
automatically - without even thinking about it.  Your  sub-conscious mind will take over at some point so whenever you  have a thought like, "I can't," it will automatically flow your thoughts and feelings into,  "How can I?"  

... Now go to work! Get started right away at giving this process a try. The very next time you notice  yourself dwelling on a negative thought whether it occurs 'on' the golf course or 'off' go through steps 1-5 above.  I think  you'll find it very empowering! 

And, if you want any extra help with this process, please feel free to contact me for 1-on-1 personal coaching to support and enhance your ability to get the results you truly want even faster. I have  many other helpful techniques to improve your golf specific mental and physical conditioning that I'd love to share with you. 

Remember, your golf 'mind' controls your golf 'body'... and your body 'structure' controls your swing 'function'. To gain the extra distance, accuracy, solid ball striking, full swing control, consistency, and lower scores that you're looking for in your total game, you'll need to develop a golf-specific 'mind-body-swing' training program that is fully customized to support your individual mental/physical/structural/mechanical needs as a golfer. 

For those of you who are truly serious about improving your game, consulting with an experienced golf performance enhancement specialist  is something you should consider.
CALL: (630) 567-7572 or 1(844) GOLF-FIT (465-3348)


To your 'golf-fit' body, mind and swing,

Dr. Paul Callaway, PT, PhD, CSPC

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It's always great to receive positive feedback from clients I work with about how their custom golf performance enhancement training and total wellness programs are working for them to look, feel and play better golf.

Here's a note I just received yesterday from one of my clients...

"Dear Dr. Paul,

I'm so excited and couldn't wait until my next on-line remote session with you to share the good news about my game! Guess what I my score was in my tournament this past weekend? I shot my personal best score of '74'!!!  If you remember, that breaks my previous best by 6 shots!

I really set my mind on breaking '80' this season and I did it!  Thanks so much for helping me with my custom mental and physical training program. I have been working daily on the drills and exercises you've provided and they are really working well.

Thanks again for all your help!

A.T. (age 17)
Dallas, TX