The biting east winds and sub zero temperatures over the last few weeks have had weather forecasters in a tizz and gardeners anxiously waiting for spring to literally bloom.
It may be winter outside but spring arrives for me with the coverage of the Masters from Augusta. The first Major of the year. Hopefully a long hot summer is just around the corner. Well we can dream can’t we?
And at Augusta, dreams can very quickly be ended by a visit to Rae’s Creek or a ball lost in the azaleas. Just ask Greg Norman, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson or Jason Day. Yet again the European challenge faded into obscurity. No European has won the Maters since 1999, when Jose Maria Olazabal finished two strokes ahead of Davis Love III. A collective millstone is being hung around our golfers.
At i2i, we teach the techniques and interventions that help you achieve your dreams. Realising them is often dependent on your beliefs. Just prior to one of his gold medal successes at the Olympic Games, Steve Redgrave leaned over to Matthew Pinsent at the start of the race and whispered “Let’s crush some dreams”. Redgrave was the ultimate winner, primarily because his self belief was unshakeable. He KNEW he had prepared better than anyone else in that final. Winning the gold was a given.
Beliefs drive feelings which influence performance and as a succession of makeable putts slipped by from Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Luke Donald- all currently ranked in the top 10 of the world’s golfers, I began to consider another key component that affects our ability to perform at our absolute best and achieve our goals. Conditioning.
The media is a prime influence here. With the advent of 24 hour news channels, and online editions of newspapers the impact of the media has become both influential and intrusive. It is almost impossible to escape and it is very easy to become conditioned and perhaps be unaware of the subliminal effect these may exert.
Did the tag of ‘best golfer never to win a Major’ seep into the inner mind of Colin Montgomerie. One very average seven iron away from taking the 2006 US Open, and the big Scot produced a shot that would have embarrassed a 15 handicapper.
Some pundits are applying that same label to Lee Westwood, and on Sunday, Lee had a real chance to sink some very telling putts that would have really challenged the leaderboard. But they didn’t drop. Justin Rose likewise. Are the continual reminders in the media affecting his ability to putt like a Major winner, i.e. Rose is 3rd on hitting greens in regulation but is 57th on putting stats?
Take Rory for instance. THE one to challenge the dominance of Tiger Woods. And yet is Rory allowing himself to be conditioned by the ‘fact’ that he always produces one shocking round at Augusta?
Breaking the conditioning cycle, I think I’ll call this problem. How do you do this? Simple answer. You do and only you can. The England football team have been in a conditioned state for some time. England cannot win penalty shoot outs, and that manifests itself every time one of our heroes steps up to take a penalty in a World Cup or European final match. The self talk needs to be “I will score” instead of “I hope it’s not me who misses”.
So Rory needs to be reminding himself constantly, I will win at Augusta, and he needs to visualise putting on that green jacket and ‘seeing’ the previous winner holding it out for him.
Adam Scott did not allow the media propaganda that he was a ‘choker’ to affect him. “C’mon Aussie” was his cry to the heavens. Scott wanted it for himself and his country. Aussies are conditioned to be winners. And that’s why I’m worried about the Ashes. The Baggy Greens might be playing like a club side at the moment but the Ashes and that little urn conditions the Australian cricket team into believing anything is possible.