The Most Important Performance Principle

By David BreslowJuly 5, 2006, 4:00 pm
Much is written about peak performance and how to get the most out of your game. When I give a presentation or meet people who ask me what I do, I tell them Im a Performance Coach and I help people perform to their potential. Often they say, Boy could I use help with that! I then ask, So, do you do anything about it? This question is often met with things like, Not really or Yes, I read books and magazines. Unfortunately, these people see sporadic changes. I also receive calls from Teaching Professionals in different geographical areas who want to refer certain students to me. These students are often stuck in mechanics, physically stressed and spend a lot of time at the driving range and taking lessons while continuing to under perform. These students are not aware of the performance principles and believe that its all about mechanics and will often resist their teaching pros request; at first.
 
People have a variety of reasons for not taking the step to develop what is commonly called the mental game. Often its because their perception of what a mental game is can be somewhat limiting. Its been my experience that most clients come into our program excited to know they will not hear the standard tips and theories theyve seen and heard so often.
 
No matter what your personal challenge or issue on the golf course, whether its swinging as well on the course as on the range, poor thinking and decision making, inconsistency, negativity, poor confidence, emotional upset, etc. it is important to realize there are very specific and predictable performance principles that are at the root of how well or how poorly you play the game. These principles influence everyone regardless of age, personality type, gender or skill level (yes, even you!) When I say this to people at a presentation I can see the slight look of doubt and resistance on some faces. Some people have a difficult time believing this all encompassing statement but I can tell you that its incredibly easy to prove. There is one principle (or performance law) that is the foundation for all the others. It is:

The more honest you are with yourself; the quicker you get what you want.
 
Some people seem disappointed by this principle because it doesnt seem to have to do with golf; but it does. This principle is called a law because it is true for everyone, everywhere. The truth is; you cannot improve what you are not willing to see or admit. Its that simple. Do you think this principle is truer for one person that it is another? Its not. Its true for all of us. Whether you agree, disagree or deny it, the principle is in full operation anyway. Thats the beauty of working with the principles. They operate regardless of our opinion or acknowledgement of them and the proof is right in front of you in the form of who you are on the course and how you play the game. Imagine living in a home where the foundation is beginning to weaken. Instead of fixing or replacing it you put on new coats of paint. The house may now look good on the outside but the foundation is no longer solid and strong. This is what happens when we look for outside answers and put on new tips. All my clients, upon questioning admit that the tips often seem to disappear after a while leaving them underperforming once again. Tips are great but can often be just like the paint covering up the poor foundation of the house. They simply dont address what is most important. This is why I believe this one performance principle is the most important of all.
 
Here are some trigger questions to get you thinking. This is an opportunity to be honest with yourself and decide if you want to take action.
  1. If you apply a number of tips or strategies and find your game does not improve that much, are you willing to admit that what you are doing is not working?

  2. Do you analyze your game/swing so much that you are locked up over the ball or tend to talk about mechanics all the time?

  3. Does your confidence seem to come and go with your results?

  4. Do you say a mental game is important yet dont take action on improving it?

  5. Do you reject the notion there are specific, precise and predictable performance laws/principles that influence you and everyone else?

  6. Have you tried improving your mental game with limited success?

  7. Do you blame other people and situations when you under perform?

  8. Do you consistently tell others your story about why you under perform?

  9. Could you be more physically relaxed over the ball?

  10. Do you believe mental game talk is about vague or difficult psychological concepts and theories? (Many have said yes to this one!)

  11. Are you aware that you are the cause of many of your performance issues?
As with all other performance principles or any tips or strategies, taking action is the only way to experience change. If you answered yes to any of the first 10 questions what are you doing about improving that aspect? Is it helping you get what you want? If you have any further questions we are here to help. You are welcome to contact my office at David@theflowzone.net or via telephone, 847.681.1698.
 
To Your Best Golf!
 
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    Copyright 2006 All Rights Reserved. David Breslow is a Speaker/Author/Performance Coach who works with Athletes (PGA/LPGA) and businesses to help people move past limiting patterns to perform up to their potential. His approach is not business as usual and creates faster shifts in how people think, feel and perform every day. David appears on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio and speaks to both large and small corporations across the country. For more information or reach David call: 847.681.1698 or email: David@theflowzone.net or visit the web: www.theflowzone.net. To order, Wired To Win click here OR call toll free: 1.888.280.7715.
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    McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

    Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

    McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

    Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

    McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, four shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

    Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

    “That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation.