Emotional Stability: A Window to the Zone

Ronald Mann
GolfPsych Instructor
Scottsdale, AZ

More Information

Last month I introduced you to the GolfPsych method, which includes a test assessing the Eight Championship Traits. This month I want to discuss Emotional Stability.

Emotional Stability is one of the most important tools for self-management on the course. The great inhibitor and detailer of good solid and consistent golf performance are uncontrolled emotions. How many times have you seen a golfer blow up over a bad shot or one little distraction from a golf cart, maintenance crew or some other noise resulting in total loss of focus and breakdown?

Poor emotional control is typically the result of two factors: unreasonable expectations and a poor ability to maintain concentration and focus. Individuals often react with anger when their expectations are not met. Too many competitive golfers expect perfection and then explode when they cannot perform. Great golf scores typically result from managing and recovering from bad lies, bad bounces, and missed shots. True emotional control and self-mastery is tested by the problems on the course, not by perfection. Junior golfers are often very quick to react emotionally when they miss a shot. The young golfer often feels an extra pressure if they are concerned about satisfying high expectations from parents. If you can stay in the moment, accept what comes, and play one shot at a time, then you have a chance to play very well and open to the Zone.

Poor concentration and focus leads to disappointment and breakdown – combined with high expectations you now have the recipe for emotional turmoil. 

In addition to changing your thinking and adjusting your expectations, there is a breathing technique that can change your life. It is simple, yet very powerful. Breath through your mouth: inhale and imagine your breath coming up your spine from the coccyx (base of spine) to your forehead. Exhale from your mouth and imagine your breath going back down your spine. This technique will activate the right side of your brain, which will enhance your focus, visualization skills, and kinesthetic sense of play. You will think less and be less emotionally reactive. You can incorporate this into your pre-shot routine.

If you would like more help in mastering your mental game or have a junior golfer in your family that is not performing well in competition, give me a call.

Dr. Ron Mann is a Certified GolfPsych instructor who teaches the mind/body/spirit psychology of peak performance. He is the author of the LA Times Bestseller, Integrating Spirituality with Psychotherapy, The Yoga of Golf, and the audio CD Find the Zone II: Master the Mental Game of Golf. You can contact him at mannr@ronmann.com or 602.687.7644. Visit his website www.ronmann.com for more free materials and listen to him Second Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. on 6 Degrees, KWSS 106.7 FM.