i>Golf is a Game of Confidence’; Bob Rotella’s bestselling book has coined this particular phrase so that it is now understood worldwide, subsequently placing confidence on a perpetually towering pedestal. I fear however that many of us have fallen into the trap of misunderstanding exactly when and how confidence becomes ‘this’ potent force. Some of us may have even forgotten what confidence is. I for one had forgotten it’s an emotion, I thought it was a skill! Remember an emotion (worth valuing) is a byproduct of an action, exactly the reason why it’s tremendously difficult to conjure up out of thin air.
The reason confidence is so futile in this respect is because it (often) requires you to kid yourself. Kidding your subconscious mind is a trick that can be done, (Derren Brown does it regularly) but Golfer’s, (especially very good one’s) use their subconscious minds all the time, meaning it’s been well trained, trying to kid it then becomes tougher, much tougher. I can imagine many people scratching their heads at how Nick Dougherty or Oliver Wilson and alike can’t just do what they used to do or remember what worked before and just do that. It is one of Golf’s great mysteries; why do some people seemingly fall off the face of the earth and not return or if they do, take a long time in doing so? I would say it is to do with confidence, (and they may too) but returning to something great will not be achieved by focusing on the unrelenting emotion that is confidence.
In my experience, confidence comes predominantly from a deep understanding of some ‘thing’ whether that be a technique or a specific thought process. When it’s attained confidence becomes the cherry on top of the cake, the emotion that, if present at the right time can have outstanding consequences, but it is not the original pacemaker. I do not have the confidence to stand in front of 10,000 people and tell a story with ultimate conviction, but with hours of ‘story telling’ practice and by learning how to deliver ‘Obama like’ lines emphatically I will soon acquire enough skill to deliver with confidence, under pressure. The reason I believe we might place such significance on confidence is because we watch the greatest people in the world performing on TV, at the height of their careers when confidence is abundantly high. We forget the reason it may be high; because they have a greater current understanding of their techniques compared to the rest of a very good bunch. As (I’m starting to find out with age) with many things in life, we only ever see the finished product(s), not the historical practises. Luke Donald is the product of confidence, but that confidence is the product of thousands of (hidden) hours worth of practice and toil, all in search of gaining a ‘better understanding’.
This blog may appear somewhat obvious to many, but I want others to realise that confidence must not just be ‘remembered’; it has to come from a series of thoughts and actions, otherwise it’ll disappear as fast as it appears. In the cases of Nick Dougherty and Oliver Wilson, (who are both very nice guys I would like to add) an interesting question arises; are they best off forgetting their recent tormented pasts that may plague them and starting afresh or reminding themselves of the fact that they have succeeded before, using that to try and boost their confidence?
If Golf wasn’t so difficult, and confidence wasn’t such a difficult emotion to master, the ‘evolutionary cycle of Golfer’s’ would be very slow, but because it is, there are always going to be new breeds galloping into the limelight with apparently unwavering confidence.
From That Wise Old Owl, Cheers.