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June 17 2013

12:00 PM

Mental Game: Action-emotion relation

Justin Rose's upbeat attitude helped him at Merion Golf Club. (Redington/Getty Images)

By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM

It was not lost on Justin Rose that the final round of the U.S. Open was played on Father’s Day. Rose was 21 when his father passed away. Rose said poignantly, “A lot of us come from great men and we have that responsibility to our children to show what a great man can be”. Furthermore, Rose stated that his goal was to carry himself proudly regardless of what happened during the final round. Acting with pride and a deep sense of responsibility helped Rose to be confident and stay mentally focused to win the U.S. Open.

Our actions can greatly affect our emotions.  According to Self-Perception Theory, we infer our emotions from our actions. Our brain gets the message how to feel. When we smile, we infer that we are happy because we are smiling. Even faking a smile will make us happier. When we act prideful, we will feel proud about confident about ourselves and our golf game.

This same principle can have a huge impact on your confidence level. One of the best ways to become more confident is by simply acting confident. Walking off the green with shoulders slumped and head down after missing an easy putt makes a golfer feel less confident during subsequent holes. On the other hand, a golfer fresh off a double bogey can maintain his confidence by keeping his chip up, literally.

If you want to feel more proud about your game, then act with pride like Rose did at Merion. If you want more confidence, strut your stuff all the time, no matter what. If you want to have more fun, just keep smiling!

Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a regular guest every Tuesday on “Talk of the TOUR” heard on the Sirius/XM PGA TOUR radio. He is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has been the mental game coach for many PGA TOUR players as well as top collegiate and junior golfer.  Dr. Gregg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf, and you can get your autographed copy at drgreggsteinberg.com.

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