Overcoming The Dark Side

By David BreslowMay 25, 2005, 4:00 pm
Most golfers come to the golf course with the intention to have a good round. They look forward to a positive and enjoyable day on the golf course and then; something happens. It could be a poor drive, a missed opportunity on the putting surface, one poor swing that pushes the ball out of bounds or a skulled chip shot airmailing the ball well past its intended destination.
At this point the force of positive energy and attitude that existed in the car or at the driving range might somehow begin to erode leading to negative attitudes and outcomes. Has this ever happened to you?
Obviously, positivity is better than negativity in terms of performance. Staying positive can be a great challenge when faced with certain conditions and outcomes. Even the best players in the world struggle to find the balance during a competitive round of golf. Golfers know that being positive is more productive than being negative yet many continue to struggle with these two very strong forces. When the negative forces become intense enough the inner war begins. The battle is no longer on the golf course, enjoying the round, performing up to your potential. The battle is now the war that wages within. In deference to the final episode of Star Wars, the dark side (negativity) begins to exert its power with great force. Just as in the movie, the classic battle between the positive force and the dark side creates turmoil. When this struggle occurs, it becomes the focal point and the round of golf takes a back seat to the inner battle taking place.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you found yourself waging an inner battle to control negativity, nerves, poor attitudes, tension, unreasonable expectations, etc.? This inner battle is the reason many athletes develop strong mental and emotional skills to not only control these forces but use them to raise their game to even higher levels.
I was working with Marty, a seven handicap who complained that he was fighting himself during a round of golf. His is a common experience that golfers from a 25 handicap to scratch have expressed. As Marty described his typical experience he went on to say that he knew what he wanted to do but when certain things happened, he could feel the inner battle begin to grow. He said Its as if this stuff is just sitting there waiting to be let go out of the cage and just attack me! He described a stream of negative self-talk, negative images and an all around lack of energy and confidence start to happen. Then he said. It just feels like Im working so hard not to let that stuff bother me that I spend all my energy on that; instead of focusing on playing great golf! This is the classic battle of the negative energy of the dark side and the positive energy of the force. The interesting aspect of this is that it is all INTERNAL. Marty was one of those golfers who used to think working on the mental game stuff isnt for me and resisted it for a long time. As a result his mechanics were affected because of the inner turmoil he experienced. He quickly realized just how much of his performance was tied to those factors and admitted, just how wrong I was and went to work developing the key factors that link the mind/body/performance principles to performance.
The FlowZone program is designed to work with these two forces because when you learn how they are triggered and to point your energy toward what builds your performance; you become a solution maker on the course.
Here are some ideas to bring dark side negativity toward a positive force:
Accept the Dark Side traits
The battle takes place because there is resistance. No resistance; no battle. This is very difficult to do without a real understanding of the mind/body/performance relationship and how your performance is affected. Place your palms against each other in front of your chest and push with equal force. What happens? The two forces create tension and energy becomes blocked. This is what happens when the inner battle takes place as well.
Focus on the Big picture
The round contains many possibilities and opportunities. When we narrow our focus on one event, especially a negative one we can lose sight of the opportunities ahead. Broaden your focus and you can reduce the negative effects of a single situation that doesnt go your way.
Breathing has a direct correlation to both positive and negative forces within you. When you learn how important proper breathing really is; and apply it, you can also transform negative energy into positive energy on the spot which triggers more energy, clearer focus and more power.
Is the force moving you to play your best golf?
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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: David@theflowzone.net or visit the web: www.theflowzone.net. For book orders call toll free: 1.888.280.7715.
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