by: Jay Garrison
We have all heard of the common benefits of weight training and conditioning: more energy, strength,endurance and better injury prevention. Another benefit that I believe is very important but hard to measure is the improvement of one’s mental focus. What does it mean to be strong mentally?
We have watched a golfer make a putt under great pressure, or heard of a doctor saving a patient in a life or death crisis, and stories of our military hero’s showing great bravery under fire to overcome the enemy. These have something in common- lots of training and mental strength to handle situations that would make most people freeze or falter.
When the stakes are high, the person who mentally handles the situation the best is usually the one who is successful. The obvious way for golfers to improve their mental toughness is hitting range balls, playing practice rounds and working with a swing coach to build confidence in their swing.
There is also the example of athletes in other sports who used weight training and conditioning to help improve their mental toughness. Tennis stars Ivan Lendll & Martina Navratilova both improved their conditioning and thereby their mental games which propelled them to hall of fame careers.
I believe for golfers weight training can help strengthen their minds because of the intensity and focus required to become a conditioned athlete. A weight to be lifted and a golf course are similar in that they are both inanimate objects which require you to push yourself out of your comfort zone and to be successful it takes discipline and commitment to achieve your goals.
The more you challenge yourself through various stressful activities and overcome them- the easier it is to build your confidence and focus. Whether it’s moving a heavy weight or sinking a 5 foot putt, both become more manageable the more we are put under pressure. It’s difficult to measure improvement in mental toughness so it’s up to the player and their coach to assess their results under competition and develop a plan for building mental toughness.
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