Well, 2014 is here, and after 35 bowl games I am ready to get back into golf. This week I am going discuss the fourth A, anxiety. Anxiety is the most complex of the 4 A’s. First we need to get to some definitions.
Anxiety: Concern or solicitude respecting some thing or event, future or uncertain, which disturbs the mind, and keeps it in a state of painful uneasiness.
Fear: A painful emotion or passion excited by the expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger.
The reason I gave those definitions, is I think we confuse anxiety with fear. There is nothing on the golf course that is going to put us in immediate danger, except lightning, and we all know that. However fear is the word that is use to describe many failures on the golf course. Afraid to win, fear of short putts and fear of hazards. In reality we are anxious about those situations. In other words fear is a response to something that is real. It’s what keeps us from jumping off the 20th floor or placing are hand on a hot stove. Anxiety is something that is in the future and is percieved. You can have anxiety over your fear of something but you don’t have fear of your anxiety. I told you this was complex.
The number one reason for bad shots in golf, is feeling anxious over the ball and the results of the pending shot. So how do we deal with this? There are lots of standard advice for this, and many of them are not bad. Breathing, staying in the present, thinking of when you made good shots in similiar situations, and slowing down, are some of the better ones. Despite this, everyone has experienced where anxiety has just taken over your game and destroyed a good round, a chance to shoot your best score, or win a big bet. It is the big reason for the yips and the reason the yips continue. I think the solution to the problem goes back to finding the mind body connection. I will write about this in a later blog. For now, one just has to do the best they can with this problem and try to minimize it to the best of one’s ability. Next week I will discuss the final A, adjustment which depends on how well you do awareness and acceptance, and how well you control anger and anxiety.