10 Steps to
One of the most researched relationships with the field of sports psychology is the link between sporting performance and self-confidence. Time and time again greater levels of self-confidence are linked to greater levels of performance. Like many golfers, you are likely to be aware of the impact that your level of self-confidence can have within.
One of the most researched relationships with the field of sports psychology is the link between
sporting performance and self-confidence. Time and time again greater levels of self-confidence are
linked to greater levels of performance.
Like many golfers, you are likely to be aware of the impact that your level of self-confidence can have
within your game. You may even have had recent first-hand experiences of either (or both) high and
low self-confidence, when on the range, out of the course, or approaching a specific shot.
The term self-confidence relates to your belief in your ability to perform, execute, or achieve a
specified outcome. As such, it is undoubtedly important for golfing performance, given the (often)
fine margins that exist within golf. In fact, it can often be the difference between successful and
unsuccessful performances, at all levels of the game.
Whilst it is interesting to acknowledge that self-confidence is important, it is useful to be aware that
fluctuations in your self-confidence levels are natural, and something that should be expected, not
A challenge faced by many players is knowing how best to understand their personal (natural)
confidence peaks, and how they can support and develop their confidence level to the best benefit
of their game.
Armed with a better understanding of how to enhance self-confidence, your awareness of specific
factors that fuel your confidence level can become more apparent, and easier to work on.
In this article, guest Think Clearly Golf contributor, Gobinder Gill, a lecturer in sport and exercise
science and PhD Candidate, provides you with 10 take home tips to further understand how you can
build your golf self-confidence – helping you Think Clearly by choice
1. Remember that somebody believes in you. This somebody could be a coach, spouse, friend,
member of your support team, or club pro. You may be surprised by those that have belief
in your ability. There is no harm in asking for reassurances.
2. Plan to achieve. Embark on developing specific elements of your game by having a clear and
defined plan. Achieve your task step by step. Do not take on a big task and expect to
complete it quickly. Have patience and believe in yourself.
3. Stay in control of the controllable. Maintaining a view of controllable factors can build your
self-confidence. It can provide a sense of focus and directive. Remember that you can never
control what others are thinking/doing but you can control what you are achieving. There
is a range of variables within golf that can lead to performers losing sight of the
controllable factors. External factors/influences are common and can hinder your
4. Engage in mental preparation. Engage your mind on the shot at hand by preparing
effectively. Mental preparation can follow many trends like mindfulness, imagery, reflective
thinking, positive self-talk, goal setting, meditation and concentration training amongst
others. Spend time to find a strategy that works for you and use this as a means of building a
platform to support your self-confidence. Greater levels of self-confidence are more likely to
be built on steady foundations.
5. Recall your previous success. A mantra that I use is related to distance travelled. Think
about previous successes that you have had. What did that feel like? How were your
emotions during this time? Further, how confident did that make you feel? Recall is a
positive mechanism to enable one to re-build confidence as it associates with belief.
6. Approach your game in a consistent manner. Successful golfers build confidence because
they are consistent and appreciate the value of success. Consistency is like a habit that is
formed through experience. In other words, the more you do the better you become at the
task in hand. What do the worlds best golfers do consistently? What areas of your game
require a consistent approach?
7. Be constructive in your own self-evaluation. Through self-evaluation, you can become more
effective at building self-confidence. Building your own level of evaluation will enable you to
become critical. But it also enables you to build on this critique to create higher levels of
confidence. This is true of most successful performers as they use defeat/backward
steps/rejection to fuel the fire to come back stronger.
8. Reflect positively following performances. There is no doubt that the more you reflect the
better you become. This is true in both practice and competition. Reflective practice relates
to becoming aware of your strengths and identifying areas that you can improve. Logically,
reflection will lead to higher self-confidence levels. Use your practice and competition
settings as opportunities to reflect robustly.
9. Continuously set short-term goals. If you suffer from low self-confidence, this may because
you have allowed an issue(s) to prolong and therefore find yourself failing to deal with a
problem head-on. To overcome an issue, set short-term goals, to encourage the flow of
confidence (no matter how small) to start. Through consistently setting and achieving short-
term goals levels of self-confidence start to grow bigger. Short-term goals should be related
to specific processes within your game.
10. Respect yourself and don’t be too harsh on own performances. Performance is about trial
and error. Use this process to learn from the many challenges you may face. Support your
performance by eating well and sleeping well. Respect your mind and body. Through
respecting performance influences, you can learn to build (or rebuild) confidence. Be
determined to work on yourself and learn about compassion to your mind and body.
There you have it 10 ways to build confidence in your golf game, and there is plenty to reflect on.
Thank you to Gobinder for his advice in this article. To get in touch with him, follow @psychedge01 on twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org