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Lot's of advice...but it's not working!

advice sport mental game Nov 18, 2020

In Bob's "Ask Bob" series, he received this question from Duncan in Phoenix, Arizona. Here is Duncan's question regarding well-meaning advice from others:

Hi Bob. Everyone at the club gives me advice. Why isn't it working?

Well, Duncan, there are a number of reasons why it is not working, and I can think of three good ones. In sports such as golf or the clay target sports, taking advice at the beginning of your round, or sometimes even during your round, gives you no time to practice that advice.

In order to just perform well, you have to have no thoughts in your head, just a well-rehearsed, pre-shot, and shot routine. Trying to follow a dozen pieces of advice right on the spot actually gets you thinking, and this is very disruptive because you want your routine to be unconsciously driven.

The second reason is that the advice you get is usually given by well-meaning people whom you probably respect, and they may be very good at their game. So, this causes you to somewhat doubt your own expertise. However, it is likely that few of them are coaches who actually know how to present something to a young athlete.

There is no step-by-step approach. There is no notion that things have to be presented in a logical way. Besides, if they were coaches, they would know that the round is simply not the place to teach.

People love to give advice...even when you don't need it!

Golf, Golfer, Tee, Golf Clubs, Sport, Action

And lastly, people love to give advice. Even when you don't need it. I get advice like that in golf all the time. Hey, Bob - watch the trees on the left, or better get that other club to get over the water. Up to that point, I hadn't even noticed the trees or the water! If I listen, there is a good chance my ball will end up in the trees or in the pond and this will actually prove that I need their advice!

The better you get in your game, the more you realize that some people can only win by playing with your mind. And that is not to say that this is everyone. But there are a good number of people, especially when you start getting really good at your game, that will play this way.

Find a coach you can trust

So, Duncan, I have two suggestions. First, find a good coach that you can trust and learn the game from one source, not many.

Test out valuable advice in practice

And second, should someone give you advice during a round, or before the round, as good as it sounds, thank them, and let the information go in one ear and out the other. Later, in practice, if you think it is valuable, you can test it out, but only in practice.

That way, you can make it part of your routine. And when you get into the game, you won't have to think about it.   

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