Hi everybody!! Welcome to Better Golf Academy Podcast, I am your Host Hanju Lee!! It’s already February. Getting close to Valentine’s Day. And for all the people out there with the significant other, don’t do what I did 27 years ago…surprise gift your non-golfing partner with a set of golf clubs. I am not a scientist, but let me assure you, their reaction will surprise you…and not in a good way. And the gift will be only used a few times in the next 27 years. Not a good investment. No ROI. No FUN. Quick story…I was playing golf one day and I was paired up with a twosome, husband and a wife team and a single…who was a young single male. The husband and wife twosome work and travel together all over the country. I forgot what they did. But, when they travel, they take their clubs and they play everywhere!!! I was so inspired by that. And…they seemed pretty happy. I remember talking to them and getting super excited about their situation and turned to the single guy and said, wow…isn’t that so cool? And he looked at me and gave me an eye roll….like…no…not cool at all. Hahaha!
Anyways, I still have hope…maybe we can start playing together after we both retire? Right babe? Are you listening? By the way, I can say whatever I want on here because she doesn’t listen to my podcasts. Hahahah!
So…when you ask any golfer – beginner to intermediate to pro…what do you think is required for you to have to play great golf, you know what their answer is? Well, let’s try it out. Let me ask you, what do you think is the number one thing that you think you’ll need to have to play great golf. And I don’t mean things like…a great swing, or a able to read the putts well, or be able to hit it long or having the latest and the greatest equipment…what I mean is what you’ll need to possess as a player. Like a characteristic, emotion or a feeling that will elevate your game and help you play your best. One word. CONFIDENCE. I don’t think anyone will disagree with any sports or even anything in life…that confidence is a good thing and sometimes, it’s really a game changer. So, I want to spend some time talking about what I think it is, and how we can implement and grow it within us so that we can be at our best.
But first, what is confidence? Well, I think it’s a belief. It’s a belief in yourself that you have the ability to do what is set before you and the ability to do it well. And that you have a pretty realistic sense of that and you feel very secure in that knowledge.
So, is this a born trait? Some people just have it and some people don’t? Or, is this related to some type of childhood upbringing or trauma? You have a parent or coach that told you that you are beyond talented and that you can do anything, vs you grew up everyone telling you that you suck and you’ll never measure up?
Is confidence innate or is it learned? Well, thanks for asking…such a great question you guys. I think we fundamentally misunderstand it. I think most of us think that it’s a personality trait.
When I was in highschool playing on the team, a new superstar joined our team in the mid year. We lived on the same street and we became awesome friends!! I was still struggling with the game at the time but he wasn’t. He grew up playing the game since he could walk, his dad was a pro at the golf course that they owned in a small little town in Nevada and he lived, loved and breathed golf…and on top of that, he was just so talented. But what intrigued me most about his game wasn’t his ability to hit it long or his perfect follow through or even his incredible good looks…hahaha…all the girls were like…whoa. But, what I remember to this very day is his confidence on the course. He knew something I didn’t. For instance, 10 foot putt on hole number 18 to win the match? No problem. Right in the center of the cup. During a highschool tournament on hole number 1, driving hole with a lake on the right while our entire team, their entire team and the coaches were watching, he would blast one out there…right down the middle…long and straight…with so much confidence. Me? On that hole, during that tournament? I got an 8.
So, what did he have that I didn’t? Well, for one, he had CONFIDENCE.
So, back to my original question. Is confidence innate or is it learned? Well, I didn’t know this, but after much research, there’s a huge debate in the world of psychology about this very subject. But I love this conclusion by Dr. Jay Lombard, who is one of the founders of a company that is pioneering genetic testing says this. “A lot of confidence in the personality is biologically driven, but it is clearly both nature and nurture.”
It’s something that we were given…some are naturally confident but also some are confident due to being immersed in certain environments and they’ve learned the skill to be confident. Isn’t that just awesome? Why? Because, if you are not a confident person, there’s hope for you. It can be learned.
But from doing this research on confidence, I found something else that is more fascinating. This is going to blow your mind!!
There’s this dude named Robert Plomin…a renowned behavioral geneticist that did a study 20 years ago. He took 15,000 sets of twins and followed them from birth into adulthood. They all have identical DNA. He wanted to take a closer look at confidence. So the twins had been given a standard IQ test at age seven and again at age nine. They were also tested academically in math, writing and science. Then, they were asked to rate how confident they were about each of the subjects. After much cross-referencing by the research team, they were struck by their finding. Okay, pause, they used the word “struck” and it made me laugh. In my head, I visualize these mad genetic scientists tirelessly analyzing this data of 15,000 twins over 20 years and all of a sudden “struck” hahaha! Like, I picture this lab type of room with people with white coats and one of the scientists stands up with all this paper in hand and yells…I GOT IT!!
So, what did they find?
The students’ self-perceived ability was a significant predictor of achievement. It was even more important than their IQ. So, this is huge!! Especially when we apply this in golf. Our perceived ability…let’s go back to our original definition of confidence, confidence is your belief in yourself that you have the ability to do what is set before you and the ability to do it well. And that you have a pretty realistic sense of that you feel very secure in that knowledge…that trumps our IQ. It doesn’t matter how smart you really are…it doesn’t matter how great and talented you are…it’s the fact that you believe in yourself that you have the ability to do it. That’s what matters most when it comes to performance.
So, what does that mean? It means that when you are faced with a shot that you know how to do, the “how to” is not as important as you believing that you can do it. Mind blown.
So, as I said before, you might be blessed with awesome genetics of confidence…you are just a confident person and it comes easy to you. Which is awesome, you can step up and sink a clutch putt and pull crazy shots out of the bag at opportune moments…it’s just within your DNA…and trust me, I know athletes like this. But, if you are that person, it’s still good for you to recognize and continue to work on building your confidence in other aspects of your game. And for the rest of us, me included, I need some help on how to level up my confidence now knowing that it’s a key to my golf….my golf success.
So, I did some more study and research and I’ve listed 3 best ways to improve your confidence.
Point #1: Gain experience
Duh, this sounds so logical and simple yet a lot of people miss this. Someone will say, man, I am having a lot of challenges with my chipping. I am duffing it a lot and I feel so much uncertainty when I am addressing the ball for a chip. Instead of trying to think just happy thoughts before the chip thinking that will solve your problem, how about you spend an hour hitting chips over and over again? Gain experience, hit 10, 20, 30. 100 in a row without duffing it. You will naturally gain confidence. You will start to program your mind that the next shot will go the same as your last 30 shots. Keep building that by creating experience. Create experience by repeating.
Also, I want you to listen to episode 5 on secret sauce to awesome practice. I talk about this deep research on what repetitive practice can do. It’s awesome!! It has something to do with Myelin and your neural pathway. It will really help you gain perspective what “experience” can do for your game.
Point #2: Build Authentic and Healthy Mindset
I really like this because a lot of sports psychology talks about confidence like it’s just a state of mind. Think and act confident and you will become confident. Look at yourself in the mirror everyday and say…”I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me” and people will start liking you. Lol. I think there’s a bit of a truth in that but also I think we are smarter than we think. Meaning, we can’t fool ourselves. Our confidence has to be authentic. If we suck at something, we can’t all of a sudden switch our minds to think that we are good at it.
So, how do we build an authentic and healthy mindset? We have to put in the work. Some say, confidence is something we have to earn…and guess what, struggling builds confidence. Failure breeds wisdom and maturity. We need to fail and experience discomfort, and over time, build a track record of demonstrated success. Not having confidence is not a personal flaw, it just means that you simply need to put in the work.
So, ok, Hanju…that sounds good and I am totally on board. But, I am doing all that and I still need help being confident out there. I know I can do it, but I also have doubts . How do I overcome my doubts and play my best?
Point #3: Release Fear
Here’s your final answer. You can overcome your doubts by simply letting go. You can gain control by simply…letting go. And by letting go, you can turn your fear into freedom. Let me play you an audio from a youtube video from Jeff Ritter sharing about how he increased his confidence and his idea of what releasing fear looks like.
The main thing to remember through all this is this:
- Confidence is gained by experience.
- Confidence has to be authentic and you can build an authentic and healthy mindset through trial and error and putting in the work. Confidence has to be earned.
- Confidence is gained by releasing fear. We need to be reckless to gain freedom.
And here’s my final advice. Seperate ourselves from our shots from who we are. Just because we hit a bad shot doesn’t mean we are a bad golfer. Great golfers hit bad shots. Shot was bad because it was missed and it was missed because we are not perfect. Hold your head up high, walk with your back straight, stay balanced and beautify your finish and follow through no matter where the ball goes. If it was misshit? Forget what happened, don’t blame yourself, don’t think that you are a bad player. And re-focus on your next shot. Do this over and over again. Because you’ve done it before and you can do it again.
Believe in yourself, believe that you have the ability to do what is set before you and the ability to do it well. And that you have a realistic and authentic sense of that and that you feel secure in it.
You’ll play better, you’ll feel better and you’ll even look better. I guarantee it.
That’s it for our podcast on confidence today, hope it was insightful for you and I hope that you can implement that in your game and in your life.
Was that good? Did you learn something? I really did. This was really fun doing the research. You know what will be amazing? If you left me a review or just shared this podcast with others. You can leave me a review on iTunes podcast or you can simply goto bettergolfacademy.com/hello and say hello. I would love to hear from you. It’s lonely over here.
But in the meantime, thanks for listening to Better Golf Academy Podcast, I really appreciate you being here. Love you guys. Bye for now.