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July 8 2013

11:28 AM

Mental Game: Wagner's ascent

Johnson Wagner found his game and finished T2 at The Greenbrier Classic (Trotman/Getty Images)

By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM

We have all been there -- a slump. When you fall into one, it feels like your swing is out of sequence with too many moving parts, your grip feels completely wrong, and the hole is the size of a pea. Nothing seems to be working right. Even if you have played all your life, you can still feel like a beginner.

Since April, Johnson Wagner had found himself in a major slump. Wagner has missed six cuts in a row with a WD thrown in the mix. However, times change rapidly, and Wagner finished a very respectable T2 at The Greenbrier Classic.

I tell players to think of your golf game like a roller coaster ride. There will be times during a season in which you will be playing stellar and other times when you will be a real stinker. That is normal and part of the human sporting experience.

However, and most importantly, you must stay resilient and confident during bad times. If you do, your game will swing out of a slump naturally (in most cases). But if you begin to lose your confidence and want to change every little thing in your game, you can fall deeper into a slumping pattern that can last a lot longer.

As Charles Dickens once wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...” Your golf game mimics life. Realize that the nature of events includes slumps. Stay confident and your game will find the best of times once again.

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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