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April 22 2013

2:14 PM

Mental Game: McDowell's focus

Greame McDowell made only one bogey on the final round at Hilton Head. (Lecka/Getty Images)

By Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM

Inspiration flows from many places. Graeme McDowell, the RBC Heritage champion, was inspired from his failure. According to McDowell, missing the cut at this year’s Masters got him extremely motivated to excel on the Harbor Town Golf Links. Good came from the bad.

Inspiration can greatly influence our play on the course. To the field of sports psychology, inspiration impacts our intensity level. When you are inspired, your intensity level is high. You are motivated and extremely focused on the task. Whereas, being uninspired will cause low intensity levels. Or in other words, being uninspired feels as if the “fire in the belly” has burnt out.

Given, we are all unique, and we are all inspired by different motives. I am inspired when I play a new and difficult course. However, when I play my usual golf course that I have played 1,000 times, my play can fall flat. When I feel flat, my golf suffers.

As G-Mac proved this week, your best golf will be played when you are inspired. However, if you are having difficulties getting inspired for every shot, here are a few recommendations to boost your inspiration:

1. Pump up your intensity with a gentle hit to your thigh. At the start of your routine, hit your thigh -- not hard enough so that it hurts, but just hard enough so that you feel like you are pumping up your intensity level prior to your shot.

2. Get a catchphrase. Many of the players that I work with have a catchphrase like “find the fire”. They say this catchphrase at the start of the routine to feel that pump in emotion. Get a word or sentence that will give you a needed pump in desire prior to your shot.

Finding that fire in your in belly for every shot does not have to come from failure. The right words and actions can kindle the fire inside so that you can play your best golf every day.

Dr. Gregg Steinberg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf. He is a regular guest every Tuesday on “Talk of the Tour” heard on the Sirius/XM PGA TOUR radio. Dr. Gregg is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has worked with many PGA tour players.  You can see more about him at www.drgreggsteinberg.com, and you can e-mail him at mentalrules24@msn.com.


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