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It's Masters Week: Tips for Staying in the "Flow"

For all the golf lovers out there, this post is for you! In light of the Masters this week, I am providing you with tips to help you stay in the flow during your performance. Golf is powerfully impacted by the mental game. Think about this, on average it takes about 4 hours to complete 18 holes, out of those four hours, you are only performing about 3 1/2-4 minutes of that entire 4 hour time! Only 3 1/2 minutes spent swinging the golf club! That shows just how much time can be spent during the other 3 hours and 56 minutes to THINK, THINK, THINK. Unfortunately for those that do not have mental strength, that long length of time can create a great amount of negativity especially after a displeasing shot or hole.

What does it mean to stay in the flow? Being in the flow can be described as Rocky's having the eye of the tiger: you are focused, motivated, confident, which in turn makes you relaxed; you have just the right amount of anxiety, and your ability to focus on the process comes easily and naturally. Can you think of a time when you felt this way?

Sometimes athletes face the challenge of being unable to get into their "flow." As an athlete, your mindset must be focused, confident, and motivated in order to perform at your best. There may be certain situations (external or internal factors) that may lead you to get off track and not be in your "flow." When that happens, the athlete must be able to reach into their coping skills toolbox and find a way to get back into their flow. Here are some tips to get into and stay in the "flow":

1. Have a pre-shot routine: develop a pre-shot routine card that you carry with you in your bag. It should list both physical and mental steps; the following picture is an example of a pre-shot routine card:

Modify your pre-shot routine card to fit you and your style of play. Remember that consistency is key.

2. Create a list of 3-5 positive statements, cue words, or affirmations: Since golfers spend a majority of their time waiting, walking, and thinking, it is best to fuel your mind with positive thinking to decrease the chances of negative thoughts coming to mind.

3. Trust the process: It can be so easy to focus on the score and the numbers of the game. However, trusting in the process is crucial to maintaining a positive mindset and remaining in the flow. Trusting the process means focusing on the small areas, technique, skills, practice, all the areas that allow you to have a positive outcome. You practiced and practiced, you modified your swing, you workout to specifically impact your golf game, you have done all you need to do. Now, you just need to believe in yourself and your abilities, and trust in the process, it will give you that successful outcome.

4. Meditate, Meditate, Meditate: I can't stress meditation enough when it comes to improving mental strength! Grab your yoga mat, towel, blanket, whatever you desire, pick a spot on the course, and take a few minutes to meditate. Take in your surroundings, be grateful for your love of the game and all that it gives back to you. Teach your mind and body to feel confident and in turn relaxed while you are on the course! Below is a link to a few audio meditation scripts for you to try!

Happy Masters Week!

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