The circular psychology of the golf course
Golf is a game of patience, precision and perseverance. KYMIRA Golf have often written on the physical toll your body undergoes to upkeep such a high level of flexibility, mobility and strength. One area we have not written on is the mindset driving all this practical action.
Having interviewed multiple high-level athletes as part of the KYMIRA Ambassador program, we have seen just how important determination, commitment and compromise is. You can’t be so stubborn you wade out in the snow with shorts on, but you can’t compromise your sport for something as simple as some muscle knots that could be solved in advance. This balance and cycle is reflected all throughout golf, even out on the course, even each hole! This blog will highlight this cycle and aims to properly arm golfers with the awareness you need to be your best golfer, all year round.
Sport and Circular Activity
Golf is not the only sport that has an activity encouraging a cyclic mindset. In many ways, it is the core of sport that you repeat yourself to improve. Most sports have this repetition spread over matches or seasons. It is the individual sports like Archery and Golf that ground themselves in constant cycles.
An Archer will position their feet, load an arrow, raise the bow, draw to an anchor point while breathing in and aiming, then release. With 3 arrows to fire in one end, this entire process is immediately repeated multiple times. With each shot you are made more aware of if you are hitting your mark, and more pressure is added regardless. Either you have 2 perfect shots so far and need to pull out another, or you messed up twice and are desperately trying to avoid a third.
Golfers will recognise that psychology, that loop. From positioning your feet right through to regulating your breathing and making contact with the ball. A golfer is also constantly made aware of their prior shots as they directly determine where the next is taken. We can blame the wind or the grass length all we like, but there’s an unavoidable agency to golf. You carve your own path from your planning, skill, and execution.
What does this cycle mean for golfers?
Now we have established the way cyclic action occurs in individual sport, what effect does that really have in practice to our game and mindset? For one, the speed at which golfers must “reset” this loop is vital to mindset changes. When you are following up a whiffed stroke or having to spend an extra shot getting out a bunker it can be harder to separate each shot from the last. The cycle starts to blend into one frustrating mess instead of clean, simple repetitions.
“That element of repetitive high output, not just throughout a game but on up to games 4, 5 and 6 as well throughout a tournament, truly tests KYMIRA’s properties. There’s a reason I wear it for every game.” – Dan Norton Stevens, International Rugby star, speaking on how important a quick mental and physical turnaround is.
The skill to take a shot and, regardless of the outcome, be back in neutral for the next one is a mental attribute worth learning. When the responsibility of the shot is so squarely on your shoulders the cyclic nature of the sport actually helps golfers move on, get over a mistake and come out on top in the end. Using each stroke as its own opportunity is part of harnessing the cycle of the sport for your benefit.
How your routine outside the course effects your sessions
We mentioned earlier that this cyclic psychology took a role on the course but also away from it. Just like with muscular training (as we wrote about here), the session itself is only one way you train. Your day-to-day also makes a huge difference to your performance. This is just as true to your mindset as your muscles.
Outside the course, you need to maintain a level-headed upkeep of your mind and body. Pushing yourself is good, but pushing yourself too far isn’t. That balance of determination and passion with compromise is vital to golfers.
One of our recent ambassadors Darren Stevens spoke to us about his age and having to take some time out of certain training activities, Sam Robinson spoke to us about a simple ankle injury that meant he had to restrict himself to some light Iron practice on the course only. These examples are iconic athletes who ordinarily in their cycles need all the grit and power they can muster. But, even they, when faced with this situation are able to step back and think “Actually, I don’t need that right now”.
It is this comfort and freedom of the athlete to really go all out without having to stress and worry that KYMIRA provides to your mindset. Once you don’t have to pull hairs out over recovery and muscle strains you are free to focus on things like your timing, confidence, and enjoying the game!
It’s vital that your physical training isn’t straining your mental, and vice versa. If you can look at the cycle you are in and actually realise you could do a bit more then go for it! KYMIRA want as many golfers as possible enjoying golf as long as possible! But for those times where you need to adjust the loop don’t be afraid to.
- Be aware of your repetitive actions and use them as a reset point
- Measure your determination and passion with what’s able to be recovered from
- Remember to examine your mindset off-course too when it comes to training or recovery
- Have a good time! One whiff or two aren’t the end of the day