Life Lessons from Sport & the Game of Golf
|Posted: April 1, 2015 by: Claire Sutton|
I have been active in sports my entire life. I am the fifth of six children. I have 5 brothers. I grew up in eastern Canada, Montreal to be exact. I am a boomer which meant that there were lots of children in the neighbourhood. Also, it was very pre internet and therefore there was much more play time outdoors than screen time indoors.
As a child, I played football with my brothers in our backyard and baseball and soccer baseball with the neighbourhood children at the local park. In winter, I skated, played a little hockey and took figure skating lessons and eventually transitioned into skiing. Being active as children burned off energy, made us socialize and work out differences, increased our laughter, helped us focus in school and kept us on a proper bedtime routine.
I started tennis when I was ten and loved it. I became an accomplished tennis and squash player. I also jogged on a regular basis, usually early in the morning, which became convenient when my own sons were little and when their activities became priorities on my agenda.
Sport and fitness became a mainstay for my physical and emotional well being. They sustained me through many of life’s challenges. They were my ‘go to’ and helped me release tension and recalibrate my thoughts and feelings. Today I have let go of many of the sports of my younger years. Now I engage in weight training, yoga, skate skiing and golf.
I gradually took up the game of golf. Golf is a sport that gives me permission to focus solely on the sport when playing. Or, rather that is the key to playing to the best of my ability. Golf requires confidence and mindfulness for a player to succeed or to enjoy the sport. Golf is a mental game in addition to the physical dexterity that it requires. No two players think the same way nor do they manage their emotions in the same manner. No two swings are the same. Even for the pros, very few pure shots are hit in a round of golf.
In golf, a player needs to focus on the current shot. Once that shot is executed the player must focus on his/her next shot. The player must be able to calculate the risks with every shot decision that he or she makes. Not all shots result in the desired outcome. Therefore help with most people’s golf game should be focused on improving their mental game.
In order to play to the best of your ability, one must be able to regulate one’s emotions whether they range from excitement through to frustration or even anger. Believe me, if they take the game even a little bit seriously, every golf player will experience a full range of emotions. Emotions must be regulated and outside thoughts cleared to play well. One must be in the moment with every shot. If you anticipate too far in advance, you loose focus. If you deride yourself over a poor outcome, you loose focus. When you loose focus – whether from overconfidence or loss of confidence – then your next decisions are not made with the utmost of clarity. Results will be less than desired and emotions harder to regulate.
It is my passion for the game of golf with my quest to lower my handicap that strengthens my confidence and enhances my ability to be mindful. Athletes call the combination of confidence and mindfulness as being in the state of flow.
Now I work full time so my golf time is limited and seasonal. However, it does not stop me from trying to improve to the best of my ability. Golf is a sport that allows me to build my confidence and be aware of my mindfulness capabilities and to bring those qualities to my personal and professional life. Continuous quality improvement is what strengthens our mindset.
Golf is a sport that is totally up to you and one where you must deal with the challenges head on. Just like in life. When you are faced with life’s challenges – and everyone is at different times in their life – you want the emotional strength and clarity of mind to make the right decisions for you. In golf as in life, being too hasty can lead to a poor decision and procrastinating can lead to missed opportunities.
As a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Life & Professional Coach, I am committed to presenting my best self (confidence & mindfulness) to my clients so that I can guide them to achieving their desired results.
My courses on the mental game of golf help people improve their confidence and mindfulness on and off the course. Click here to learn more.