Quiz: Name the Golfer that NEVER choked on a putt?
In the book, Finding Your Zone, Michael Landon tells the story of Jack Nicklaus when he had to make a critical putt. Jack read the green, made a perfect putting stroke, but the ball hit a bad patch of grass and veered off course. His playing partner later said, “Too bad you missed that putt Jack.” Jack replied, “I didn’t.”
Why didn’t Jack miss the putt in his minds eye?
Because he was fully committed the putt. Jack knows how to putt and trusts his ability to putt every time he steps up to the ball, to put it in the hole. When things go wrong or he hits a “bad patch”, he doesn't start changing things. He doesn't run out and buy a new putter, try a new ball or start changing his stroke in the middle of the match.
On the next hole, he repeats what he knows how to do, becomes fully committed to making the putt in his mind and then he putts. The ball may or may not go in. There are forces beyond his control, but he never misses the putt in his mind's eye before he makes the putt.
Here are the three steps:
1. Did you visualize the shot you wanted to hit before you executed it?
2. Did you hit the shot without any doubt or ambivalence (fully committed)?
3. Did you back away from the shot and let your mind clear if you incurred any negative or distracting thoughts?
That is golf, how does this apply in the “real world”?
How do you get into the flow of your genius and stay there?
The state of flow is the delicate balance between conscious effort and innate reflexive trust. Jack has made some many putts, spent so much time on the green his body knows and feels how it is to make a putt from any distance on any green. So now he just has to make the conscious effort to make the putt without putting too much effort into the action.
Choking on a putt, a sales call or getting a kiss goodnight at the end of a date is simply a matter of “over thinking” in the mind and overriding the innate reflexive trust of knowing what to do. If you do not know what you you need to do, you need to practice. After you have found that deep and profound sense of trust that comes from “knowing” how to do something, forget about thinking and just do it!
When you over think, especially under the pressure of performance, you choke!
When you make the commitment to be your best at what ever you decided to do, you too will never miss a putt again, even when you hit a patch of bad grass.
When you are not sure if you can trust yourself or if you feel you have lost that trust in something you know how to do, that is great time to call me and see if I can help you find your commitment again!