Self-hypnosis techniques can be practised away from the course for use when you play. Here’s how you can self-hypnotise yourself.
Make yourself comfortable and look very carefully at everything you can see without moving your head – just in your line of sight and your peripheral vision. When you know exactly how it looks close your eyes but still create what you have been looking at in your mind’s eye. As you concentrate on this you will find that it becomes difficult to hold onto the image or you will have the feeling that it is fading or floating away from you. While this is happening consciously regulate your breathing and begin to feel yourself relaxing. Let yourself drift.
The next stage is to deepen your relaxation. This can be achieved by creating the sensation of going downwards, counting or just letting yourself sink down inside yourself.
So, you might like to imagine you are in a special loft that goes slowly down two or three floors and as it does you sink deeper and deeper within yourself. Or, count slowly in your mind from 1 to 10, breathing out as you think each number and again slip inside yourself. Or, just think of relaxing deeply and allow it to happen naturally. One of the most relevant points about self-hypnosis is that it is personal so the goals and aims are yours to be developed in your own way and time. When we are in a state of relaxation our subconscious mind becomes accessible to thoughts and suggestions so the first thing to stamp on your mind is to only think in a positive way.
Developing a script
A script for use can be verbal (talking to yourself out loud or with your inner voice) – you know the one… it is usually telling you what you can’t do in thoughts or if you prefer you could record it and then play it back to yourself.
It must be in the present tense, i.e. ‘I putt with confidence’ not ‘I will putt with confidence’ .
And again it must be positive. What you want to happen – not what you don’t want to happen, i.e. ‘I don’t want this ball to go inside the lake,’ or I will not miss this putt,’ but, ‘My ball always clears the water’ and ‘My putting is on line every time.’ With each sentence or thought try and create a powerful positive image at the same time. Lastly, believe what you are saying or thinking:
- When I play golf I am focused
- My concentration is superb
- I ‘see’ each shot
- I feel each shot
- My swing is graceful
- My swing is powerful
- I swing with fluidity
- I play golf consistently well
- My mind is clear
- My thoughts are powerful/ positive
- I am free from distractions
- As I approach the putting green I feel a wave of ‘calm’ wash over me
- My putting is too precise – I see the line to the pin clearly
- I putt consistently well
- My breathing is regular and calm – each time I breathe out I relax even deeper
You can then spend time imagining yourself playing the perfect round and of course each time you do this your mind will programme it in as a positive memory.
All of this is practised away from the course but it is useful to have techniques which you can instantly switch on. The way to do this is to develop a trigger that you use to ‘switch’ on the desired state. Triggers work successfully when they are created during a self-hypnosis session because the mind has the ability to relocate easily as long as it knows what it is meant to access.
During one of your relaxation practises think of how you would like to be during your game and then instantly think of or perform a movement that will be your trigger for use on the course.
Here are a couple of examples; the action of holding your golf club could switch on your calm yet perfect arousal. Wiping your hands or cleaning your club could remove any left over tensions. Thinking of particular words like focus, control, calm etc. Create just what you want.
You may want to have different triggers for use during different times during each game and that is fine. The aim is to be able to have just what you need at the exact time you need it without it taking a huge effort or using up valuable time.
Believe you can and you will find that you can.