Good Players Don't Say 'Probably'

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How many of us say things like "I hope that I..." or "I would really like to..." or "I'll probably hit it there"?


The best at what they do are intentional. They know what they want and they know what will get them there and they create a plan and they follow it.


The average player follows their feelings and does what they want in the moment. They are swept through life and golf, and they are left to just react to what happens.


So who will you be? Will you say "I'll probably do that"? or "I'll try to hit it there"? or "I hope it goes there"?


Or will you say "I'm going to do that" and "That is my exact target" and "That is my plan and I'm going to execute it today"?


What does this look like out on the golf course? It has a huge impact on picking and committing to a target. Most of us pick really large, vague targets. And then we say "I hope I hit the fairway." I think this comes from subconsciously not wanting to pick a small target and therefore disappointing yourself when you miss your target. Even deeper, this probably comes from a need to be perfect and a fear of not living up to that perfection. But with a proper view of golf and the many variables in golf, we would realize that we can never be perfect and hit it exactly where we aim. But we give ourselves a much better chance at hitting it where we aim when we intentionally pick a small target and actively commit to it. This gives your body very clear instructions.


What happens when we don't give ourselves clear instructions? We give the brain too much room to play with and the subconscious takes over and allows the body to make uncommitted swings. We aim at the entire fairway on a tee shot, or anywhere on the green on an approach shot, or anywhere inside a 3 foot circle on a putt. These instructions aren't near clear enough. This is telling yourself 'probably'.


So how do we fight this? By giving ourselves extremely intentional, clear instructions. "I will hit it at that tree in the distance." And therefore your brain has less room to play with, and it leads to a much higher level of commitment and therefore gives your body the best chance to make an aggressive swing. This doesn't mean that you will automatically hit it right at your target. There is no magic pill in golf. But it introduces a process that helps lead to a result far more often.


And I think this mentality has even much larger applications. When it comes to reaching your goals, so many of us have a mentality of "I hope..." or "It would be really cool if...". But just like the golf shot, this gives the brain too much room to play with, and you end up being very uncommitted and going through the motions toward your goal, hoping that it will manifest itself.


So how do you fight this? Just like picking a really small target, you give yourself very intentional, clear instructions. This comes in the form of a daily plan. Because, as you know, the process for reaching your goals is to set your goal, create a plan to reach that goal, forget your goal, and work your plan.


Instead of vaguely aiming into the future, you make your target very small, which is breaking down your goal into individual steps that will lead to your goal.


One of my junior players has a goal of playing golf for a good D1 college here in North Carolina. But when I asked him where he wanted to go, he said "I'll probably go to this school, or maybe that school." Which, on the surface, sounds pretty confident. But I believe that if he can't even say "I will go to this school. And if that one doesn't work out I will go to that school." then how could he ever go the step further to say "And this is exactly what I will need to improve in order to get into my first choice of school."?


If he follows the process, he would set a goal of getting into that school, create a plan of exactly what he needs to improve to get into that school, forget about getting into the school, and work his plan daily. And these intentional, clear instructions will give him much less room to be swept around by being unmotivated, or not feeling like practicing today, or getting off on tangents and losing his way. And he'll be committed to his plan. His actions, just like the golf swing, will be much more decisive and confident.


You can do this for yourself. Remove the word probably from your vocabulary. Be a little more self-aware and catch yourself the next time you make a half-committed goal, decision, or statement. And then replace that with a fully committed decision. Give yourself those clear instructions so that you have less room to play with and you'll be much more committed and intentional with what you do. And introducing this process will give you a much better chance of getting the result that you want.

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