How can mental preparation – the psychological and strategic approach to golf – help us to score better, to progress, to exceed our limits on the course and beyond? We continue our series of 18 articles, excerpt from Jean-Christophe Buchot’s book, “L’Albatros, course of life” *
As we know, the swing is based on essential physical skills and equally essential technical knowledge. But, from the beginning, it seems essential to us to integrate the mental dimension according to the well-known axiom that “Everything happens between the two ears”. Rightly so, since in a golf shot, the physical and technical part lasts only a handful of seconds, when the gamber lasts much longer, doesn’t it?
Your progress will depend a lot on your attitude on the course, which is why I invite you to consider each golf course as an initiatory journey. And this first trip, I suggest you do it on the mythical course of the National Golf, the Albatross.
Episode 1: FORWARD – Gain momentum
Hole 2: Landing
The 2nd hole of the Albatros was named “L’Appontage” by Hubert Chesneau… It must be said that it seems very narrow, indeed, this green on the other side of the immense water obstacle which takes the place fairway on this par 3, 171 meters long starting from the whites, also defended by propeller-shaped bunkers.
Precision landing is precisely the right state of mind to have: that of a fighter pilot who wants to take on an impossible mission (like being regular and perfect at golf) knowing inside out its distances, no more, no less.
Technology is only a means
” The technique [l’outil, le marteau] in itself has no interest, if it is not at the service of a nice piece of furniture »rightly reminds us of the excellent coach Anne Le Coniat, who notably revealed Grégory Havret.
It is true that with a hammer, even the most rudimentary, you can quickly start tinkering, but not necessarily make a masterpiece!
The more you progress, the more you have to refine your technique, come back and work on your basics, change tools, until you adapt them to measure (fitting). But once the technique is acquired, you will have to give a soul to your swing (mental preparation).
It is often said about musicians, soloists in particular: the technique is at the service of an emotion, an expression. This is valid for all professions.
Technique is only a way to score, not an end.
PGA: Stance, Grip, Alignment
the gifted Victor Dubuisson observed during the PRO-AM that most amateurs are unfamiliar with the basic tools: definition of a target, visualization, simple but inhabited routine, alignment, grip, posture, strike without thought.
“You have to reserve the technique for the practice, Victor advises us. On the course, you can have two or three keys in mind before playing [Lors d’un coup d’essai, par exemple, quelle intention y mettez-vous ?], but above all you have to focus on your game strategy, your routine – and think as little as possible when you hit the jackpot. At practice, you have to keep going back to the basics. »
That’s why during training, we must not forget to put “blood and tears” in each drive, in each approach. Vary the objectives, and put intention, tension, fatigue, emotion into your learning, in order to get closer to the “drive in situation”, on a narrow start, under pressure, which has no nothing to do with the 45th drive in a row on carpet and without witnesses.
A golf shot (the swing as a driving action) is not limited to the moment T of impact.
The golf motor act obviously includes everything that precedes and everything that follows the swing. And these long periods depend on something quite different from technique: this is why we must prepare for them just as much. I am talking, you understood, of mental preparation to know what to do before, during and after the swing.
Young golfers, you who dream of becoming professional players, ” fighter pilot “here are some questions:
• Are you lucid about your intentions, about the motivations of your ambitions?
• Have you developed the qualities of humility, resilience, benevolence, determination, self-confidence and arrogance necessary to fulfill yourself?
• Do you know what during a competition you can control?
• How do you control your internal, emotional state? Do you know the universal tools of Mental Preparation? Which do you use in competition?
• Are you ready to start from scratch, to review your scales and your fundamentals?
• Do you know why it is not desirable to constantly question your swing — and especially not in competition?
• How well do you know your main opponent? your best friend ?
• Have you clearly defined your needs? your resources?
• How do you fail?
• What more do you do every day to be better than those who do the same as you?
• Are you ready to play golf, to stop asking questions?
• Are you ready to make your masterpiece?
• How will it be when you are on the Challenge Tour?
• What is your next step in moving in the right direction?
If answers are fuzzy or negative, go back to the basics of mental preparation.
And remember: you already play very, very good golf, so you have every reason to believe that you can get better, if you really want to. You still have to find the right state of mind, to better define your mission.
Already, remember that you do not play golf to please someone or to become someone else but to reveal yourself, affirm yourself, develop new skills.
If something escapes you, call me, I will ask you more specific questions, we will discuss it calmly.
Finding your mission means opening your mind to other possibilities, being open, “aware”, as the great Jean-Claude (another Belgian friend) rightly says, to the idea of taking flight.
“Why do you play golf?” What is the mission of golf for you?
(When I say mission, understand that a pen’s “mission” is not to put ink on paper but to write a masterpiece.)
Launching yourself into the adventure facing this hole n°2 on the other side of the water obstacle may seem impossible to you for the time being. But Impossible = I’m possible, as master coach Stéphane Bachoz likes to remind us.
Continue to observe the landing area despite the icy wind. Find your reason for being, become an actor in your game, the star of your journey.
Play, move on. As you progress, you will find along the way, at each bivouac, at each shot, each hole, at each game, new resources, new allies who will help you go further – if you know how to recognize them.
Of course, the call of adventure can take different forms.
The key is to answer the call and commit 100% to your vocation, your mission.
Your first mission is to find out what you are good at. Then to be open, to reach out to accept being helped, even guided, while keeping your freedom of thought, decision and action.
Admitting one’s limits is undoubtedly what best builds a person, because this acceptance opens the doors to learning.
To be open, to be strong, is also to admit being wrong when it is the case.
Even the great coach Benoît Ducoulombier confides: “I don’t really know how to analyze my way of doing things. It’s an attitude. […] I identify problems much more quickly, I get to the point. But I still get lost sometimes. I look for solutions in places where you don’t have to look for it. But I recognize it without any problem. I say to the player: “Listen, I was wrong, let it go. Everything I said to you for an hour was bullshit. “The hardest thing for a coach is to be able to say all that. »
The hardest for all of us – wrongly.
It is often by accepting to be simpler and imperfect but without this calling into question our self-confidence, that we discover what we are made for, what we are destined for and how to do it. reach.
In other words
Failure and frustration, which we encounter so often in golf, make us grow from the moment we face them. It’s easier when you are supported by healthy and caring people.
When you are solid about your motivations (where, why), when your physical, technical and mental skills (how) are aligned, you will have found your mission and you will be able to carry it out with determination.
Have clear ideas, and therefore, no more doubt, no more hesitation, once again, invest in yourself with total confidence (you are your assets!), both in golf and in any other field: all-in!
So choose your tools (technical, material) and your mentors (technical, physical, psychological) well, polish your swing at the practice, and ensure your clear visualizations and your positive internal dialogues: “ I have the (only) flag in my sights, I’m going to reach it in fade with my Iron6, the ball falls one meter to the left, rolls and finishes its course in the hole! Hole in 1!!! Let’s go! »
So, when starting your routine, before putting your thoughts in OFF mode, say to yourself with Anne, Hubert and Victor: “Get on board! will put you in the right frame of mind.
To be continued
If you want to know more, you will find L’Albatros, course of life*, at your bookstore or on online commerce platforms.
If you are unable to put into practice the advice I provide here, depending on your problem, within the framework of personalized support, whatever your level (from beginner to pro), I have many specific exercises to Propose you to, like an “osteo brain”, unblock what gets stuck mentally: email@example.com
*L’Albatros, life course published by Amphora, JCh Buchot, with the support of ffgolf.