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5 questions to ask yourself after each round

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Do you finish your round, pop the clubs in the trunk, have a drink in the clubhouse and then head home after you play? If so, you’re missing out on something very important that can make you a better player.

According to the work we have done with some of the world’s leading athletes, including professional golfers at all levels, setting aside 15 minutes to reflect on each practice session and round can significantly help your performance in the long-term. Each one of my clients keeps a performance journal to track personal information and insights. At the end of a practice session or round, the athlete asks him/herself a series of questions, which are based on their individual profiles.

I can tell you that the athletes I work with who are diligent about keeping a performance journal and reflect on each practice session and round, consistently perform better than those who do not. Reflecting on performance helps boost self-efficacy, or the belief in your abilities in various situations. The reflection process helps build a sense of commitment to the player’s development and that player takes the lessons/experiences from each round and is always moving one step forward.

Luke’s Secret Weapon

luke donald

For a period in 2012, Luke Donald was the No. 1 player in the world — even with a surgically repaired wrist and ranked 177th in driving distance.

How did he do it?

With a lot of talent, a belief in himself and with the help of a ball point pen.

Donald keeps a simple black binder loaded with a daily calendar that you can pick up at the office supplies store. The pages are loaded with personal knowledge and self-belief about Donald’s game. Donald calls it his performance diary. I call it an essential tool that has helped him leverage his experience and maximize his abilities.

Each evening Donald uses the journal in a number of ways. He may jot down goals for the next day, he might keep track of technical swing feels after a big practice session, something that was working for him on the course, he might keep his statistics or just write down general thoughts and observations from the round that may help later.

Writing has power

pen and paper

In terms of learning, player development and communication, writing has the potential to offer a powerful difference for a golfer. I have seen, as researchers have attested, that writing can help a golfer in a number of ways including:

  • Enhance their self-awareness
  • Build self-confidence
  • Sharpen overall mental skills
  • Increase coping abilities

How you can get started

I highly recommend you begin, like Luke Donald did, with a small book that becomes your designated “performance journal.” The book can be a calendar, or you can input your own time periods, and pages would be designated for your practice sessions and rounds.

Like Donald, your performance journal will be a collection of information about you. It could be small goals that you’d like to achieve in the coming months, technical ideas that are helping you play well or thoughts about your approach to the game. Here are few general questions you can begin with to begin the reflection process:

  1. How did I practice or play today? Why do I think I practiced or played that way?
  2. What did I learn from the practice or round? Did I notice anything during the practice that could help me improve? Where do I need to put my focus in the next practice session?
  3. Did I let go of poor shots/mistakes quickly and get right back to business? Or, did the mistakes stay with me? If so, for how long?
  4. What would I rank my confidence in the practice or round, from 1-10? Why?
  5. Did I enjoy myself during the practice session or round? Why or why not?

Over time, you’ll notice patterns in your game that lead to success, and those that hinder your performance. Since we remember very little of what happens day-to-day, your journal becomes your memory, and may become your strongest tool for improvement going forward.

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John Haime is the President of New Edge Performance. He's a Human Performance Coach who prepares performers to be the their best by helping them tap into the elusive 10 percent of their abilities that will get them to the top. This is something that anyone with a goal craves, and John Haime knows how to get performers there. John closes the gap for performers in sports and business by taking them from where they currently are to where they want to go.  The best in the world trust John. They choose him because he doesn’t just talk about the world of high performance – he has lived it and lives in it everyday. He is a former Tournament Professional Golfer with professional wins. He has a best-selling book, “You are a Contender,” which is widely read by world-class athletes, coaches and business performers.  He has worked around the globe for some of the world’s leading companies. Athlete clients include performers who regularly rank in the Top-50 in their respective sports. John has the rare ability to work as seamlessly in the world of professional sports as he does in the world of corporate performance. His primary ambition writing for GolfWRX is to help you become the golfer you'd like to be. See www.johnhaime.com for more. Email: john@newedgeperformance.org

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Tyler

    Aug 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    This is quality information, thanks John! I never considered keeping a journal like this, but it makes perfect sense. Please keep these mental game instruction articles coming.

    • John Haime

      Aug 10, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Tyler. Reflecting on performance is very underrated. The right amount of analysis and introspection can really make a difference.

      More articles coming soon!

  2. Case

    Aug 10, 2015 at 12:44 am

    1. Why do I play this stupid game….
    2. Why are these a-holes always on the golf course who don’t fix divots, ballmarks or rake bunkers and take for ever to play any hole and end up with a 5.5 hour round
    3. Why do I play this stupid game….
    4. The game has lost any sense of decency, manners or etiquette ever since the Eldrick Woods era the game has gone to the toilet it’s all about big money now, it’s noting to do with the gentlemanly aspects of the game ever since that clown ruined it for the ones who really cared about the game I wish he would take all the clowns with him off the golf courses
    5. Why are these fat azzes even playing? Because they can ride around in carts and drink beer all day and be belligerent, it’s the only game in the world where you get to drink and drive and act like idiots for 5 to 6 hours in a public space without somebody saying something about law and getting on their case

  3. Scott

    Aug 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Good article. Somewhere in the past I read a similar article titled “Measure Up When Playing Well” … a journal is very helpful especially when things go well and you get a confidence boost. I tend to experiment with my swing a bit too much and it re-focuses my practice and play to things that work well and help me play my best.

  4. Nathan

    Aug 9, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Yesterday.25 stableford points on the front 9, 14 on the back. After that effort I decided to do just this!

    • John Haime

      Aug 9, 2015 at 8:33 am

      thanks for the comment Nathan. If you record thoughts/ideas, and ask yourself key questions, you’ll find there are patterns in your performance – and will be very helpful for you. Great exercise for young golfers to get accustomed to doing.

  5. Cons

    Aug 8, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Yo Luke Donald, its not a diary… its a journal. Just ask Doug Funnie.

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