Don’t Beat Yourself Mentally: Expectations vs Goals

goals vs expectations mental coaching wasatch golf academy Sep 05, 2018

When I finish teaching I always go into the pro shops and talk to the golfers who come out to play. Of course the topic of how they are playing comes up and I always hear “I expect to shoot below par today.” Or “I should be shooting in the 70’s with how much I practice and play.” Or “I’m feeling it I know a good score is coming today.” 

I always say great now get out there and get it done. When I see them after their round they are discouraged and frustrated because they didn’t meet their expectations. I ask them a few simple questions “What if you would have set a goal of focusing on each shot and not score?”, or “Trying to play mini 3 hole tournaments and shoot even par?”

They always say they never thought about things like that and that they always put expectations on themselves. Then we talk about the unnecessary pressure that puts on them and it gets in the way of their play. 

This is an issue I’m constantly battling with my high school, beginning, intermediate and sometimes professional players(as well as outside and conflicting coaching 🤦‍♂️😠 but that is for another day).

These golfers will tee it up and expect to shoot at times unrealistic scores. When they should be setting a simple goal of not losing their cool, not getting distracted, hitting every shot solid, staying in tempo, 3 hole mini tournaments and more. The simpler the goal the better the play. It takes the players mind off of shooting even or under par and allows them to come closer to that score. A bad shot which all of us hit even the best players in the world doesn’t have the massive blow to the system or confidence. The player can recover and get back on track quicker. 

So, no more expectations and thoughts of I’m going to go out and shoot 39 today or even. Or saying I should be shooting 65 at that course. I should be hitting my driver 310 yards. You should be saying my goal is hitting every fairway today and no 3 putts. My goal is to hit every green in regulation today. Or I have the goal of not pulling shots today. These simple goals will relax you, narrow your focus and stop you from putting unnecessary pressure on yourself that cripples your game. Take charge of your mental game and start setting goals and your scores will improve.

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