One of the key mental toughness tools we teach in our golf schools and junior camps is the "Shooter's Mentality." The lesson comes from basketball and is designed to help players understand the mindset associated with maximizing success. In our session we tell the story of how a top player like Michael Jordan might get off to an amazing start in a game, making every shot. He's in a zone. The crowd feels it. His teammates feel it. The building is about to burst as shot after shot hits nothing but net. In this instance, the player's emotional state is so positively charged the prospect of failure seems ludicrous. As he runs down the court his confidence is off the charts as he telegraphs to his teammates "Give me the ball!"
As we know, life is often not one continual hot streak. A player who has a career game, the next day against the same opponent might have just the opposite result. Even a player as talented as Michael Jordan is not immune to such a swing in performance. He understands, however, the secret to getting his mojo back, is all in the mindset associated with playing a game of opportunity.
As we tell the "shooter's story," we explain this time, things just aren't going the player's way. Nothing is going right, as each shots smacks the backboard or bounces off the rim. The crowd is silent as their star misses again and again. In this moment we ask the question, "What is he thinking now?" Nearly 100% of the class answers, "Don't give me the ball!" This is the answer we expect, setting up the key point of the conversation.
The mentally tough athlete fully understands the correlation between thinking and success. They understand the more they elevate their mood, the more access they'll have to their athletic brilliance. In this instance, where not a single shot has been made, the thought process is no different than it was the night before." As he runs down the court his mind is saying, "This is perfect. This couldn't be better. Give me the ball!" It's a powerful mindset to operate from and a likely reason the entire world knows about players like Michael Jordan.
To have the "Shooter's Mentality" means you always want the ball. You see everything you do as a game of opportunity with no reason to shrink or hesitate just because one swing, one shot or one attempt at anything didn't go your way. It's the understanding that people are at their best when they feel their best and an elevated mood is always only a thought away!
Spend some time thinking like a champion and you can count this week's challenge as complete!
Develop Mental Toughness