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Mind Your Head Brain Training Book by Sue Stebbins and Carla Clark
by Sue Stebbins &
Carla Clark

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Perfect Mental Practice Creates Perfect Results
As seen in CT Golfer Magazine- Vol.9-1998
By Sue Stebbins

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It’s the Sunday before the club championship, off you go to the club to play your tune up round. You are so confident...

You are almost exhilarated, because this is the year you feel you can finally win it all. You step up to the first tee and slice your drive out of bounds into a pond. You top your second shot from the tee and before you know it you have a triple bogey and the round heads south from there. As you ride home, your mental chatter is debilitating. Your anxiety is so thick you need to open your car window I order to breathe. You see your whole season going down the tubes. What can you do?

Fear not! There is a way to ease this fear-based thinking. Guided imagery or directed imagination can empower you to eliminate these unproductive and destructive thoughts. This process teaches you how to replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts and images that will help you achieve your desired results. This technique has helped people like Bobby Orr, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Nicklaus, Gabriella Sabitini and Bill Russell achieve their successes. The process is very simple.

You list your negative, limiting thoughts in advance of your round, so it becomes conscious. Then you go to a relaxed state of mind. Close your eyes and slow down your breathing. Experience in your mind the pain these actions and thoughts cause for you. Feel the tension, feel the nausea as your ball lands in the pond or as you run your putt twenty feet past the hole. Once these feelings and thoughts are so real they are palatable, reverse them. Throw them out. Toss them into an imaginary bonfire. Get rid of that list. When the thoughts are gone, create a thought and an image to replace each and every negative image. Focus on your goal and create the thoughts and images that will allow you to achieve that goal. Go back into that relaxed state, imagine and actually feel the mechanics of your swing. Feel the elation of hitting your drive 275 yards straight down the fairway. Feel the effortless swing and the pure joy of draining a thirty-foot putt for birdie. Visualize yourself performing at your peak. It sounds simple and it is.

The key to successfully executing guided imagery and directed imagination is to worship the process. You have to make a commitment to regularly rehearse and release the negative qualities, replace them with the positive images and results. You have to worship what you want to be doing and pay attention when you clutter your mind with negative thinking that sabotages that goal. Otherwise, you are going to end up with the same mixed bag of results. If you do something imperfectly, that is what gets stored in your memory. Conversely, if you do something correctly, that is what gets stored in your memory. “Perfect Mental Practice” is what creates perfect results.

Sue Stebbins CLH, High Performance Coach, Norwalk, CT works with individuals, executives and organizations on high performance coaching for sports, corporate peak performance, stress and conflict.

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