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Create a game within the game
By: Andrea Furst (profile)
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Round process goals help players of all levels select specific areas that they can monitor throughout the round to keep positive goals in focus and to enable small steps to improve their overall game, not just their technical game.

Round process goals help players of all levels select specific areas that they can monitor throughout the round to keep positive goals in focus and to enable small steps to improve their overall game, not just their technical game. The type and complexity of round process goals will vary and to some extent will depend on your playing level. However, even the seemingly simplest of tasks can be overlooked by players that make a living out of the game so avoid thinking that the goals discussed below are too simple to consider!

You can start with physical aspects; the skills regarding your body’s fitness and recovery – strength, aerobic capacity, power, rest, sleep, and diet. For example, your energy intake and hydration levels may not be up to scratch so you may set a round process goal of drinking a certain amount of water during a round. You can even decide how much you drink each hole or every couple of holes.

Technical round process goals must be kept relatively simple. These relate to the way you hit the ball – your ‘technique’. I try to encourage players to pick technical cues that they can aim to have almost 100% of control over. An example of this would be your set up over the ball. Put your energy into creating the set up you have been practicing but once you are in position, relinquish your mind from thinking any further about technical cues - aim and fire!

Tactical skills such as shot selection, decision making, organisation, and the way you prepare for the course conditions can also be monitored. Tactical round process goals include planning each hole from the tee or even committing yourself to gather information before picking your club out of the bag for the shot. The aim is to prioritise the tactical aspects of your round and recognise them as important factors that will assist you to play the game at a higher, more consistent level.

The concept of having round process goals can be considered a mental round process goal – the fact that you are goal setting about aspects of your game outside of technique and score is a big bonus in my eyes! Other mental round process goals may include having a deep breath over the ball before you putt or picking a target for every shot to focus on over the ball. Typical mental skills that can be monitored fall under the categories of your ability to manage your emotions, think productively, stay disciplined, maintain confidence, communicate effectively, and keep your goals clear.

All of these small round process goals add up and contribute to the success of your overall game. They are tasks that you can check off each shot, hole, and/or round. The percentages of adherence to these round process goals should increase over time. You are encouraged to literally keep score so you can review your progress of your process-focus.

There is method to this approach – you must learn to treat each and every one of your round process goals as more important than the outcome – the shot’s swing shape, direction, length, and landing spot, the score for the hole and the round. These listed outcomes are not 100% within your control so spending time on these things while you are playing is investing time and energy into areas of your game that you will not get rewarded for while you are playing...leave that for the range when you are putting in some ‘technical time’ and for work with your teaching professional.

Round process goals aim to create a ‘game within the game’ – aspects that you find help you ‘play the game’ of golf much more effectively and help you have fun out on the course, which ultimately leads to a better score!

Contact Andrea at andrea@mentalnotesconsulting.com.au if you are interested in trialling the Process Monitor designed by Mental Notes for more consistent performances! The Process Monitor is a tool that can be implemented into your training and competition to assist with heightened awareness of your process goals and their achievement. It assists with directing your mind to ‘the game within the game’ by putting some numbers on your ability to adhere to your processes.

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