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November 12 2013

9:49 AM

Mental Game: Kirk's body language

Chris Kirk looked comfortable in the lead Sunday at Sea Island.

By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM

   One word comes to mind when you watched Chris Kirk play this past Sunday at The McGladrey Classic: Relaxed.

Kirk’s body language gives you the impression that he is feeling zero pressure. His mannerisms are like that of someone playing with his buddies at home for a $2 Nassau. His shoulders are relaxed and his steps are not hurried. His body looks tension-free. Kirk’s body language was one main factor that helped him to stay calm and capture his second TOUR win.

Psychologist Darryl Bem developed self-perception theory to describe how our actions influence our emotions. Put simply, if we act relaxed we will feel relaxed, conversely, if we act nervous, we will feel anxious. Our brain gets the message from our body how to feel.

Here are a few suggestions to help your mental game through the appropriate body language:

1. To stay confident, strut your stuff. When you miss a putt or hit a bad shot, don’t allow your shoulders to droop. Keep your head high and your confidence will do the same.

2. To stay relaxed, keep your shoulders free of tension. One of the first body parts to feel tension is the shoulders. At the start of your routine, roll your shoulders to get them relaxed and you will make a smoother and more controlled swing.

3. To have more fun, keep smiling. We know even a fake smile will brighten your day on the course.

Body language is an essential weapon against a bad attitude. Have powerful body language and you will add more power to your mental game!      

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.  Dr. Gregg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf. Inquire about coaching as well as get your autographed copy at www.drgreggsteinberg.com

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