Golf…it’s all in your head
Part V – State Management
By Master Coach Albert Valentine
“The difference between peak performance and poor performance is not intelligence or ability; most often it’s the state that your mind and body is in.” —Tony Robbins
“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
There is a reason for starting this article with a few quotes. These quotes come from the real masters of State Management. First and foremost, Tony Robbins, the world’s #1 success coach and Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, whose book, Flow: The Psychology of Happiness, coined the term, “in the flow”.
Ever wonder what it really means when you watch TV or read a news article, either about golf, maybe another sport, your favorite athlete, and the announcer or writer talks about the “zone” someone was in? They mean State.
This article focuses strictly on State and the importance of managing your State in anything and everything you do in life, whether playing a game like golf, working in a business, or leading your family.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi also states that people find genuine satisfaction during a state of consciousness called Flow. This article is not necessarily about Flow. It is about that State one needs to be in when they are about to perform an activity. Getting into State means inciting a behavior for ABSOLUTE PEAK PERFORMANCE.
Want a picture of State? Look at the picture I posted above. That is a picture of New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team, three-time World Rugby Champions. They are considered the best rugby team on planet earth. There is a ritual they perform prior to every game. Its name: the Haka.
The Haka is a traditional ancestral war cry, dance, or challenge of the Māori people of New Zealand that the All Blacks perform before their international matches. Why do they do this? Short answer: to put them into the STATE!
When one watches the All Blacks perform the Haka, you should notice a few things during the performance: it is physical, as well as vocal. There is a reason for this.
Getting into the right state requires this blend of physical and auditory stimulation. There is something else you cannot see that they are doing, they are tapping into what is called their internal representation (who they believe they are, which is the most superior ruby team ever to take to the pitch).
State is made from a combination of Physiology and Internal Representation:
Back to the Haka. You can see how physiology is being shaped as the All Blacks move, slap their arms, their legs; even the facial expressions they use during the ritual. Internal Representation (IR) is something that is happening subconsciously.
As they are making movements and speaking loudly, they are unconsciously thinking how much they want to win; thinking about the effort they put towards success; the long hours of training, preparing, thinking how great they are!
That’s IR, the combination of thoughts, emotions, experiences, beliefs, attitude, and much, much more all rolled into one great “picture” of who they are, of who you are, your representation!!!
If you have an IR of yourself as weak, scared; not a confident golfer; guess what the outcome will be? You will be EXACTLY that, scared, weak, not confident.
Remember Article IV, what you focus on is what you get. If your internal representation is wrong, you will not be able to invoke the right State. If you have the correct IR, invoking that “right state” is easy and highly rewarding.
The easiest and fastest way to change state: change your physiology. Your body leads your emotions [BTW, changing your IR will take effort, dedication, and time].
The emotional state you are in affects your body and vice versa. Your physiology affects your state. It is an endless loop. How are you sitting right now? Are you slumped over? Sit straight, put your shoulders back, head up. Feel the difference? It’s that simple and fast! Take d-e-e-p breaths in through your nose and exhale strongly through your mouth. Put a huge grin on your face…smile at your children, your employees or yourself in the mirror. Sounds crazy, but it works!!
“The difference between performing poorly or exceptionally is not based on your ability, but the state of your mind and/or body in any given moment.”
– Tony Robbins
Until next time, hit your balls hard and straight.
Coach Al Valentine is a professional Human Performance Coach who holds master coaching certifications in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and Time-Line Therapy. Coach Valentine is a former government diplomat, career military officer, he holds various post-graduate degrees and certifications.
Visit the website of Human Performance Academy for more information.