The Mental Game Influence

By David BreslowJune 22, 2005, 4:00 pm
We just witnessed a U.S. Open tournament that tested the Mental Game of every competitor in the field. The entire subject of the Mental Game inspires some interesting conversation and even debate over the importance and impact it has on performance. I run across many different attitudes, beliefs and perspectives when it comes to this subject. Of course, there are many books written and research done to help identify and clarify what the mental game is and how to improve it.
Some people say the mental game is very important. Some people say it has little significance. Some rate it to be 90% significant in their performance and others say its 50% or even less. Its always interesting to see the very wide variance when it comes to the topic of the Mental Game in sports or in life. Many people do admit its important yet many remain hesitant to address it.
There are many different types of research done on performance. Sports Science conducts research to identify and discover how the mind works and the affect it can have on the body and performance. There is research on the power and impact of emotions and how they can affect performance. There is research on how to increase relaxation and the effect it has on our ability to perform and be in the flow. Research and study are wonderful as they help generate a level of proof that people can look to. However, one of the comments I often make to clients is:
Dont wait for proof for things you already know to be true from your own experience!
Think about it for a moment. When your body is more relaxed do you usually perform better or worse? Most people notice they perform better. When your emotions are on the calmer side yet still intense enough, do you perform better or worse? Again, most people notice they perform better. When youre feeling good and confident do you handle pressure situations better or worse? Once again, most people notice they handle pressure better. Over 20 years, Ive never run across a client who didnt already know these things were true for them.
In my opinion, the real challenge is in learning how to APPLY what they know and make tremendous strides to close the gap between what they know and what they do on the golf course. Most clients I meet already know many things about Peak Performance principles in terms of knowing the important traits such as confidence, present time focus, relaxation, routines, emotional control, etc. The problem: they arent sure how to actually do them.
People often enter the FlowZone process with the idea they need more information in order to play better. This is a mental trap. Most clients usually dont need more information; this has been getting them into trouble anyway causing them to over think and over analyze. The trap is: the more information I have the better Ill perform. Im certainly not against knowledge, however for many it becomes a buffer between knowing and doing. Have you ever experienced the zone? Think back. Were you over thinking and over analyzing? Were you over doing anything? Probably not. Its one of the many performance paradoxes. I tell people all the time their best performances will show up more often when they get out of their own way. (Have you ever heard yourself saying those words?). Its really a matter of subtraction; not addition!
The bottom line is; there are very precise and predictable mind/body/performance principles influencing your performance all the time. Because the mind, body and emotions are all connected (see my article Its All Connected in the archives) they influence what you do every time you put a golf club in your hands. There is no way to separate them. I consider these principles to be root -cause factors and these principles operate the same within everyone. An awareness of the principles in action can lead to greater awareness on the golf course and the opportunity for more quick and effective solutions. When the mind, body and emotions are more in synch, energy flows through your body more easily and you tend to think better, feel better and can perform closer to your true talents and abilities. You already have these elite parts. You dont have to go anywhere to get them. Performance improves when they begin to function together.
Do your results match the time / effort / money you spend on your game?
EXTENSION NOTICE! Due to the U.S. Open the discount offer did not appear last Friday in the Insider Newsletter and some folks notified us after the deadline. As a result weve extended the One on One Performance Coaching discount until June 30th, 2005 as a continued thank you to The Golf Channel and its viewers. Discounts will only apply to those registering on or before June 30th 2005. Email: and write discount offer in the subject line. You will receive the info via email.
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    Copyright 2005 David Breslow. David is the author of Wired To Win and offers the highly acclaimed FlowZone program: Your Resilience Factor: Adapt and Excel in any Environment Workshop and One on One Performance Coaching. David has appeared on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio, etc. For more programs/services/products or sign up for a free newsletter (write newsletter in subject box). Contact: David Breslow 847.681.1698 Email: or visit the web: For book orders call toll free: 1.888.280.7715.
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days engaging pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGCC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.