Learning Secret #1:
Mistakes are fine.
Make them and move on

This is counter-intuitive I know. But making mistakes is part of the learning cycle. If you never made a mistake you wouldn’t learn. If you don’t learn you won’t get better. And if you don’t see results you’re not having fun.

We are taught to be careful, plan everything and avoid mistakes at all costs. This thinking may be fine with bridge building or putting a man on the moon, but our golf game isn’t so much life and death.

Being afraid to make mistakes leads to a terrible mindset of over planning and playing safely. Golfers that aren’t prepared for a bad shot or two play golf with a straitjacket on – they steer the ball and never swing freely. 

Here are the biggest problems with a “no mistake” mindset;

  • Always planning (or practicing) – never playing
  • Slow play
  • Never confident
  • Playing scared or full of fear
  • Paralysis by analysis
  • Distracted by conflicting advice
  • Striving for perfection but never getting there
  • Always thinking/analysing but never playing the game

The bottom line is that it’s ok to make a mistake or two.

No matter how long you play the game
you’ll always make a few errors.

The paradox here is that when you can accept a few errors you’ll make less of them. When you have the confidence to swing freely you’ll hit better shots – not worse ones.

Ultimately the person who is scared to make mistakes is paralysed by fear.

They often fail to take action and hope against all hope that a winning golf game will fall into their lap. It doesn’t. Make mistakes and move on – don’t let a few bad shots stagnate your improvement.

Example: Imagine you hit your first drive of the day straight left and out of bounds. Not a good start to the round but what do you do? You have two options – you can panic and let that one shot destroy your self-confidence or you can choose to ignore that bad shot and accept it for what it is and move on.

Golfers tend to support the first option (because we are led to believe this is the way forward). So they tighten up. And are too scared to swing the club freely. Or alternatively, go searching for a cure that doesn’t exist. The problem is that a tight and over controlling swing becomes the norm. The solution is to accept the bad result, take a deep breath and let your swing fire at the next attempt – let go and let it rip. Then repeat.

I can report (and so can my clients) that some of my best rounds have come after I have hit a horrible shot from the first tee. One poor shot is NOT a life sentence - accept it and keep swinging for the fences.

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