Archives for category: Golf Coaching

In the Zone in Manchester!

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David Tingey & Gary Boyes – The Mind Factor Workshop 2015

We recently had the opportunity to spend three days, enhancing our knowledge of and taking a new angle, sometimes, on the power of the mind.  The fact that the course was delivered by The Mind Factor and Dr. Karl Morris with a huge emphasis on the ‘Golfing Mind’, then we knew we’d benefit and enjoy!

We first met Karl a few years ago at Bishop’s Stortford Golf Club when he was delivering a short Mindfactor Session to the members.  Naturally, being a scholar of all things that go on in the mind, we wanted to learn even more and the weekend in Manchester seemed an ideal opportunity!  As with everything, if you are in control of your mind, you stay calm in pressure moments, or of course in decision making opportunities, where the outcomes may have serious consequences.  Now some would say there are no ‘serious consequences’ when you play golf, certainly at an amateur level, but take this a step further… how good could it be to control your mind in all aspects of your life, both in business and in your personal life?

Friday morning started early, with a train into London at just after 5.00am, a seamless tube ride to Euston, and then the 6.36am Virgin Train to Manchester Piccadilly saw myself and colleague, David Tingey, a PGA Professional, arrive in Manchester just before 9.00am.  Whilst we’ve flown Virgin Atlantic, it was the first time we’d used the services of Virgin for rail services, and what a joy!  2 hours 20 minutes of comfort, without having to concentrate on the roads (and potentially taking twice as long)!  Next time we’re Manchester bound, it’ll be Virgin Trains all the way!

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Gary Boyes, Chris Walton, Karl Morris, David Tingey

We checked into The Radisson Blu, in the centre of Manchester, where the course was to be held, and settled down for three great days of realising just how awesome the mind is, in EVERYTHING we do.

When you think back, it’s incredible to recount the number of times teams and individuals have progressed to be successful by having the belief in their ability and remaining calm under pressure.  As many of you will know, it can be so easy to have many thoughts coming into your head at the same time, especially in the field of golf… head down, swing through the ball, knees flexed… Is it any wonder we have the potential to hit a poor shot? Take that a step further; Is it a surprise to anyone that we sometimes turn up for work, mind overflowing with thoughts, ideas and ‘things that we need to remember’, and then have a poor outcome? How much of that information, at that moment in time, and the ATTENTION that we devote to it, is either ‘useful’ or ‘useless’?! And that set the tone for Day one, and in fact the whole workshop… Decide what is useful, or useless… and deal with it accordingly. Something useless at one moment, could become useful at a later stage, and vice versa… but forget the before and the after, we’re talking about the NOW! Stay in the present moment, give it your full ATTENTION.

 

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Philip Zimbardo – What ‘Time Zone’ is your mind travelling in?

Habitual time zones was an interesting concept, with our phenomenal mind being able to race, at the slightest thought to something previous in our lives or fast forward to something that we ‘imagined’ might happen.  Philip Zimbardo, the American Psychologist, carried out numerous studies to demonstrate this, over a period of many years.  Whenever we need to stay in the present moment, it’s about selecting the time-zone ‘Present Absorbed’!

An interesting session followed by Guest Speaker, Chris Walton, introducing the work he has carried out on the Gamma Mindset.  Our brainwaves go through various stages, dependent upon what we are doing, from a state of high alert to resting and to sleep.  Intriguing stuff from Chris and should you want to know more, check out www.GammaMindset.com

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Gary Nicol & Gary Boyes

Day two continued with the same momentum, and a look at belief systems and possibly, more importantly, how you could change those beliefs? We had another Guest Speaker, Gary Nicol, who spent 16 years as a coach on the European Tour and is now based at Archerfield Links in North Berwick.  Gary recalled many stories, working with touring Pro’s and brought his philosophy of ‘simplicity’ to everyone.  Demonstrating his belief that ‘impact’ was the crucial area of a golf swing, how you got there, i.e. Back swing & follow through, was largely irrelevant, as long as the impact was sound.  Of course, if someone’s back-swing affected the impact, then it will need adjusting, but to him, it was a case of ‘cause and effect’ and simply coaching that.  Keeping it simple, HAS to be the best way to stay in the moment.  For more information on this and the work that Gary now undertakes, go to www.tpegs.com

We particularly enjoyed the session that covered ‘perception’.  The Cambridge Dictionary defines perception as ‘a belief or opinion, often held by many people and based on how things seem’, which means how we interpret information on a personal level.  (I recall recently asking someone with a fear of flying what they saw when I showed them a picture of a Boeing 747.  Now, I enjoy flying, and I see planes as a means of travel to a nice place! There answer? They saw a ‘metal coffin’!  Based purely on how that information was received in their own head, that was their perception).  Again, the work that we did about changing perception was time well-spent.

Day three looked at the four quadrants of golf, BEFORE, DURING, IN BETWEEN and AFTER and how each quadrant had an impact on the next.  This again, can be directly correlated to business.  Active Visualisation and creating strong neural pathways formed the bulk of the morning, with our final Guest Speaker, Dave O’Sullivan giving us some fascinating and cutting-edge insights into his work around breathing.  As we know, if your breathing is controlled and calm, then so too is the mind. Dave has been involved as the head physiotherapist for Huddersfield Giants Rugby League team and has been instrumental in their recent success.  For more information, www.physiohuddersfield.co.uk

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Two key points for us, coming from the workshop, can be summed up in two words! ATTENTION and PROCESS.  Whatever you are doing, be it personal life, sporting activity or business, you must FOCUS on and give it your full ATTENTION.  With regard to PROCESS… Well if you focus on the PROCESS, and ensure your process is right… then the outcome will be as PLANNED.  We’ll be looking at these two important areas in a future blog, so make sure you don’t miss out and sign up NOW.

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Making new friends is always important! 

As with many enjoyable workshops, you wonder how the time seems to go so fast, but as all good things come to an end, in order for the next one to start.  We were back on the train to London, tired but with an abundance of knowledge and skill, not forgetting belief, that we will start to put into our golfing as well as our business lives.  As with many external courses, you find yourself making great friends with people of all ages and all walks of life, that I know will be a USEFUL resource in the future.  Thanks for making our three days so enjoyable and a huge thanks to Karl, Nadine and the guest speakers.

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Golf is a game played outside; but mostly played inside; inside your HEAD. 

I recently had the fortune to spend some time at a golf seminar with Geoff Loughrey from the Michael Bannon Golf Team.  Now, for those that don’t recognise that name, Michael was the PGA professional at Holywood Golf Club where he started working with 4 times major winner Rory McIlroy as a junior member, and continues to work with Rory to the present day. Geoff was Michael’s assistant at the golf club, where he trained to become a PGA Pro.  It was interesting to hear about Rory’s early years and especially a view inside the mind of McIlroy!

Now, it must be said, that if the right mindset was paramount for top sports people, then surely the same can be said of top business people? Clearly this is the case and I honestly believe that even business aside, the right mindset can help you achieve in every facet of life.

Just what special ingredient do you have to have to become number 1 in the world, in your chosen profession?

What is it that stands the achievers from the also-rans?

It was evident, from a very early age that McIlroy had a desire to become world number one, and that feeling has never left him.  Once he had achieved it, the goal is adapted, to stay there.  During 2015, with the continued brilliance of the American Jordan Spieth and the Australian, Jason Day, snapping at Rory’s heels and claiming pole position, the desire is still burning strong for McIlroy to reclaim, what he sees as, his title.  Visualisation is a wonderful tool and as a six-year old practising on the fairways of Holywood Golf Club, Rory would often visualise his name above that of his hero, Tiger Woods, on the leaderboard.  So sure was he that he would achieve his dream, that when he was around 10 – 11 years old, he actually wrote a letter to Woods, introducing himself and telling Tiger, ‘I’m coming to get you’!!

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The wonderful Clubhouse at St. George’s Hill Golf Club, Surrey. Taken on the approach to the 9th Green.

It was interesting to hear Geoff speak of the dedication of McIlroy with his practice routines and belief and that he surrounded himself with positives, in fact, those around him, his family and friends, coaches and fellow club members helped him grow up in a balanced way, always encouraging and emphasising all that was good with his game.  How we could do with far more people such as that in the world!  Geoff recalled a match he played against Rory the Youngster whilst he was assistant pro at the club.  On a par 4, Geoff had put his ball on the green with his second shot whilst Rory had found the green-side bunker.  Trying to psychologically upset McIlroy, as they both walked to the green, Geoff pointed out that he was on the green yet Rory had found the bunker.  McIlroy’s response epitomised his positiveness; ‘Geoff, I LOVE bunker shots!’ to which he quickly dispatched the ball from the sand and it came to rest near the hole for a tap-in par 4.

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Enjoying Brockett Hall Golf Club, Hertfordshire.  Ex-Arsenal & Scottish Internationals, Frank McLintock & George Graham, winners and successful people in their own right.. how much belief did they have at the peak of their careers?  A winning mindset is crucial in whatever you do.

So what can we learn from Rory’s mental approach in sport, business AND life?

Instead of dreading certain aspects, learn to enjoy them, in fact, even if that seems like a struggle, start to lie to your mind…. your mind is not fussed, in fact it’s quite used to it and will steadily start to interpret the new information you are sending it.  Ever woken up in the night, having dreamt (or perhaps more accurately, having a nightmare) where you are falling?  Now clearly you haven’t fallen, yet your mind thinks you have, your heart will be beating faster, your breathing shallow and perhaps even a cold-sweat; classic stress symptoms, because your ‘mind’ thought you were actually falling.  It is therefore perfectly acceptable to lie to your mind (but here’s a tip… tell it only good stuff)!

Success favours the brave! 

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The Millennium Trophy. Won with an incredible amount of belief and taking on brave shots!

To succeed at any sport or in any business, decisions have to be made and not only do you have to make the ‘right’ decisions (or what you believe to be right decisions) you have to do so with bravery.  Have you noticed how brave children are at many things, yet as we become older (and supposedly wiser) we tend to be more cautious.  Ask a 10 year old child to go and climb a tree, they cannot wait to do so, and think about only reaching the top.  Ask an adult to do the same, and the thought patterns are generally ‘I can’t do that, I haven’t climbed a tree for years, what if I fall’? Kids never think of that, they just focus on climbing the tree!  One of my strengths in golf is putting, in fact I’m convinced I’m going to hole every putt.  Many others take on the mindset of ‘get it near the hole’ or ‘what if I miss’, yet if that is the thought going through your head as you strike the ball with the putter, that generally is what you do… get it near the hole!  I have a good friend who I play a lot of golf with who I’ve managed to convince that I am the best putter he’s ever played with!  I enjoy a game of golf with him, as every putt I have to make, he’ll generally say, ‘You never miss these’ or ‘I may as well give that one to you’ from 10 – 12 feet, which merely builds my confidence and belief that I will actually hole the putt.  Be brave, in whatever you do, it is one of the bulk ingredients of success.

Paul McGinley, the guy that holed the winning putt, the tricky, 7 foot, left to right putt on the 18th Green which ensured a European victory in the 2002 Ryder Cup at The Belfry and then went on to be the 2014 Winning Ryder Cup Captain has been heavily into the psychology of golf and success for many years.  Geoff Loughrey told a story of when the two of them shared a putting green prior to a tournament, getting some practice in, getting used to the speed etc. of the greens.  McGinley practiced the whole time with a pair of headphones on!  Loughrey thought it a bit odd, but put it down to him listening to his favourite music, to calm him and relax him whilst he practiced.  After a while and during a break, he asked Paul what music he was listening to, to be told ‘Here, have a listen’.  All he heard was a voice saying ‘You’re the best putter in the world, You’re the best putter in the world, You’re the best putter in the world….’  proof indeed that the more you tell yourself something, good or bad, the more engrained that becomes.  I wonder what was going through McGinley’s mind as he made that winning putt to give the Europeans victory in the Ryder Cup?  I’d put money it was nothing like ‘Don’t miss this’!

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The fantastic Stroke Index 1 hole at Woking Golf Club, Surrey. A tough, but brilliant Par 4.

Whether you are playing sports or, as I’ve said, want to become more successful in business, or simply want a better life, live in the positive world.  Think and tell yourself things that you can do, rather than focussing on what might go wrong.

Psychology surrounds us, and everyone is a psychologist!  My own observations are that there are too many bad ones… people that analyse why they CAN’T do something or hark on about the fear of failure.  Many people won’t know they can’t do something because they’ve never actually tried, their fear stops them at even attempting it!  Crazy huh?

The gem that Geoff Loughrey left me with was the story of the first time that Rory McIlroy was to play in a tournament with Tiger Woods, his hero from as far back as he could remember.  Picture the scene, Woods at one end of the range, Rory at the other.  As good as you are at controlling nerves, just imagine how you would feel competing against your hero and the current World Number One, and had been for a considerable time.  It was clear to Michael Bannon, who still coaches Rory to this day, that McIlroy was nervous.  His body language, his demeanour, there were signs of nerves.  (Who wouldn’t be)!  Michael told Rory to keep practising and he would be back shortly, and then, casually wandered along, as discreet as he could be, to watch Woods practising.  Tiger was hitting balls seemingly for fun!  His coach would say, hit a low one; and he did. Hit a fade, left to right; and he did. Now a high draw, right to left; and he did.  In fact Woods was looking awesome!

Michal Bannon returned to where his prodigy, young McIlroy was practising and simply said ‘I think this could be our day.  Tiger’s hurt his back, I’m not even sure he’ll be able to play!  He’s topping balls, and slicing drives’.  McIlroy, clearly felt that maybe, yes, this was his day, and you can only play the person in front of you, whether that person is carrying an injury is really not your problem.  McIlroy’s body language changed with this news, he relaxed and started to hit some great balls.

After 9 holes, McIlroy was 1 hole up and asked Woods how his back was holding up!  You can imagine the response, and McIlroy caught the eye of Bannon in the crowd who simply gave a sheepish grin and a thumbs up!  Rory went on to win the match, having been given the belief before they even stepped on the tee, more evidence came when he was 1 up at the turn, and sometimes that is exactly what you need; Belief!

How many things could YOU achieve, this week, this month, this year, with a little more belief? What pressing engagements have you got to attend, maybe make a speech or deliver a presentation?

One of my favourite Muhammad Ali quotes is ‘I told myself I was the greatest, even before I knew I was’.  Pure belief, and when you think about it… it works!

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