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Improve your game from your inbox – Mind Tricks

Improve your game from your inbox – Mind Tricks

Coen Welsh on the Psychology of Golf

Kevin Anderson made an amazing run to the US Open where he faced Rafael Nadal, one of the greatest tennis players of all time. He gave a good account of himself losing only a handful of service games on his way to a 6-3, 6-3 and 6-4 loss.

At 31 he is one of the oldest players to reach their first Grand Slam final and the first South African since his countryman and namesake Kevin Curran decades before him.

He has been on the ATP Tour for as long as Rafa has but his remarkable tournament has been marked by his mental attitude to the game. highlights the fact that Kevin Anderson became the lowest-ranked US Open finalist since the ATP’s computer rankings began in 1973. His journey to the final was characterised by a signature fist pump when he wins a point. This is the focus of our tip of the week.

Tip of the week – Celebrate!

With the help of Alexis Castorri, a psychologist and his coach Neville Godwin, Anderson has been working on celebrating small successes on the court.

He told “Now I’m allowing myself to acknowledge all the good shots I hit.”

“You learn from the mistakes, but don’t let them get too much emotional attention. So I’m shifting that emotional attention to all the positives I do. It was some intense practices, but I’ve definitely gotten much more comfortable with it, and I can certainly see the benefits. If anything, it makes practice a little bit more enjoyable as well” he said

This is the tip of the week.

In his book True Emotional Freedom, ( Sigi Lange describes the natural tendency all humans have on focussing on the negatives of life first. He goes on to explain that this is largely done in your subconscious.

Therefore, like Kevin Anderson you have to force yourself to actively focus on the positives on the golf course. When you hit a good shot or have a great read on the way a putt will break, stop for a moment to celebrate. A small fist bump or something to acknowledge your success is all you need.

Quote of the week

’Listen, I’m not a fan of what you guys do.’ – Coco Vandeweghe (to her ‘mental coach’ on her way to her own US Open semi-final)

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About The Author

Coen Welsh

Coen Welsh, a qualified industrial psychologist, is an expert on the Antecedents and underlying Psychological Conditions predicting Employee Engagement.He has worked in diverse teams in the UK, Egypt and Namibia. Coen regularly gets invited to speak at HR and other conferences. He is a regular contributor to NBC National Radio as well as Tupopyeni and Off-the-Hook on NBC Television. He is a founding member of the Professional Speakers Association of Namibia. You can visit him at or send a comment to [email protected]