Another letter from the DOC – January 2009
“It was when I started to focus on being pleased with myself no matter what the ranking lists and leader boards looked like that my frustration started to let go and I could access the joy of playing.” The quote came from Robert Karlsson, the number one male player in Europe 2008 as he accepted the prize as Sportsman of the year at the Swedish Sports Awards Ceremony a little while ago. With that quote he could have been a perfect fit as a speaker at the English Golf Union “Give us back our game” Coaching Conference two weeks ago. I think few players have turned as many stones as Robert to try and find what can help them perform better. Robert has tried just about everything when it comes to developing technique, physique, tactics and his mental ability and it is almost like he has come through all of that only to find that unless he enjoys the game, the results will not come. Yes, I did write about going full circle a couple of months back and here is perhaps another example of that. It is also an example of how to focus on what you can control and not being led by what you want but can do little about. Winning, or even results, are difficult to control but the process of getting there can definitely be controlled. Robert has clearly found a way to control his state of mind, his body language, the way he talks to himself and what he thinks during a round. There is no doubt that all that helped him reach the heights of last year when it came to results.
In his speech at the awards ceremony he also said that for many years he was a very frustrated golfer. At the Coaching Conference we had a number of players, or ex players, plead guilty of the same thing. Speak to any successful sportsman, or perhaps businessman/woman as well, and they are all likely to sometime have experienced the same thing. When results are good I am feeling great and when things go against me I can’t stand myself. To some extent this can be a very strong source of motivation. The only way to feel ok is to shoot great scores. For others though it becomes a vicious circle as bad results lead to even lower self esteem and a greater lack of self belief. Once that has started it is very difficult to break. I wonder if another example of that is what we currently see in the world’s economy and financial markets? What would happen if you went to work each day only determined to focus on what you actually can control? What if you could manage to more often than not be pleased with yourself no matter what the outcomes are – do you think that would have a positive effect on what you are doing? What if the turnaround in the economy actually starts right there?
Best of luck giving it your best efforts!
“Enjoyment is not a goal, it is a feeling that accompanies important ongoing activity.”
– Paul Goodman