Stop Trying To Control Everything


Giving up control is a very difficult thing to do isnt it? Many of my clients dont realize they are trying to control things so much on (and off) the golf course that they actually wind up getting in their own way. They point the finger at some other reason like a poor set up, the course conditions, poor golf swing, clubs, etc. They are focused on so many other reasons they dont realize how much they try to control not only the golf swing but where the ball goes as well.
Try this little exercise. Open your dominant hand and place a small amount of water in the palm. Now make a fist with that hand and try to control the water without spilling it. Its virtually impossible to do. When you make a fist the water will spill as it leaks out of your palm. Now repeat this except now keep your palm open and relaxed. You could move around the room and by relaxing your hand you actually gain more control over the water without spilling it.
This is an example of what happens to us when we try to over control and when we dont. When try to over control we leak power, control and consistency. When we are able to let go of the control we gain power, control and consistency. Here are some examples of how over controlling affects performance followed by a tip to turn it around in your favor. When we over control we:
  • Tighten more muscles than we need to hit the shot
    When we try to over control the golf swing we tighten our legs, arms, shoulders, hands and facial muscles. This tension causes lack of fluidity and power. Think back to a time when you really wanted to crush a shot. What happened? Chances are you lost power; not gained it and chances are you also lost distance and accuracy as well. Over controlling the golf swing translates into more tension than needed to hit the golf ball.
    Tip: Make a conscious effort to focus on the legs, arms, hands, shoulders and facial muscles before you take a practice swing. Let them drop and slip into a more relaxed position. The more relaxed you are the more powerful you are.
  • Tend to worry about future results
    When we try to control outcomes the tendency is to not only focus on outcomes too much but to also worry about them as well. In this case our mental energy becomes dispersed causing us to be focused on results more than what we actually DO have control over (i.e. breathing, proper routines, proper club/shot selection)
    Tip: Focus on what you DO have control over (and its NOT the results of your shots!). The more you do this the more you trigger feelings of calm and confidence.
  • Reduce enjoyment of the game
    The players I know who try to over control things on the golf course (and off!) tend to report their enjoyment level is lower than theyd like it to be. Think about it. If youre too focused on controlling everything then your enjoyment level has no choice but to move up and down with your results. This is a very tenuous position to be in and can reduce your ability to enjoy yourself no matter what is happening.
    Tip: Make enjoyment a large priority for yourself. One key to do this is to allow yourself to enjoy the gameperiod! Try to reduce the little rules that say Ill enjoy myself when I do (fill in the blank). When we have such rules we are basing our enjoyment levels on whether certain outcomes happen or not. Make it a priority and enjoy yourself no matter what!
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    Copyright 2006 David Breslow is a Speaker/Facilitator/Performance Coach who works with Athletes (PGA/LPGA) and businesses to help people perform at the top of their game. His approach is not business as usual and creates faster shifts in how people think, feel and perform every day. David has appeared on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio and has spoken to corporations across the country. To reach David call: 847.681.1698 or email: or visit the web: