Yani Tseng’s Slump Due to Ignoring the Basics of Mental Golf

Tseng Slump Golf Mental

Yani Tseng's Slump Due to Ignoring the Basics of Mental Golf

Yani Tseng is a wonderful golfer. I’ve written about her on numerous occasions describing her glistening mental game. But this is the first time I’m compelled to discuss the “other side” of her mental game (or lack thereof). Tseng is known for winning. But need I remind you that her last LPGA title that she clinched was months ago? And her most recent 54-hole cut had fellow golfers concerned about her. This doesn’t seem to be the same Tseng. What’s changed? I think that Yani Tseng’s slump due to ignoring the basics of mental golf.

Mechelle Voepel, writer for ESPN, doesn’t speculate what the problem is. She just quotes the pro herself:

Tseng has been saying all along it’s mental, a sudden onset of doubt creeping in when she begins a competitive round. She said her coach, Gary Gilchrist, has assured her there is nothing technically wrong with her swing.

“So it must be my mental,” is how Tseng describes it. “Because sometimes when I start on the tee, I still worry about whether my ball is going to hit right or left.

[…]

“It is a mental hurdle that she’s going to have to get over,” [Dottie] Pepper said. “Because she has to answer the questions to herself and then to the media. It’s part of being a professional athlete. Of course, there’s a mental aspect to it, but you’re going to have the media remind you about it all the time. So you have to be doubly tough.”

Tseng and her coach agree that the problem is rooted in a mental issue. Specifically, she mentioned that she worries. It’s like she knows what to do, but starts doubting herself. “What if” questions creep in and she has to think through things again ans again. That kills off her confidence. But something like this can only get off the ground if you’re not playing on automatic pilot. If you’re not “just letting yourself play your best” then you’re going to get caught up in the details of your swing and play poorly. This is (my suggestion) the root of her mental problem. That’s why I say that Yani Tseng’s slump due to ignoring the basics of mental golf.

Now, being thoughtless is often considered a bad thing. That spaced-out teenager who messed up your instructions. The oblivious surgeon who operated on the wrong leg. However, in sports, the highest level of performance is brought out through thoughtless action. In fact, superb athletes are running on automatic pilot. They don’t think about connecting the clubhead with the ball… They “just do it”.

When you put on your shoes in the morning, do you think about it? First, the right. Slip on shoe. Pick up laces. Make the knot. Tighten. Now the left… You’d never be on time for work!

Top golf pros let their unconscious mind take over. If you learn the right mental skills, your best performance will “kick in” automatically. This is often what people refer to as playing “in the zone”. In fact, the conscious mind processes so slow that by the time you figured how much power you need to sink a putt, your buddies will have gotten back to the clubhouse for drinks. And speed is not the only thing… one’s accuracy is also greatly enhanced (and maintained) when relying on the unconscious mind. The more you let go and learn to do things automatically, the better you do. Want to learn how to put you’re “A Game” on autopilot? Check out Golfersmind today: http://www.golfersmind.com/mental-golf/

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