Should I show my emotions during a round or stay calm?
This is a question that I typically get asked from top level golfers.
To answer this key question, let’s examine the winners of the last two events on the PGA tour. Jordan Spieth, winner at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am, is fiery like a firecracker. Every time he misses an easy shot, you can see the disappointment on his face and his body language is more negative than positive. But on the same note, you can see the incredible joy on his face and in his body language when he hits a great shot. Like a rollercoaster ride, Jordan goes through many emotional highs and lows on the course during a round.
On the flip side, Dustin Johnson, winner of the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club, is cool like a cucumber. Dustin is much more stoic, as the viewer cannot tell whether he hit a bad shot or terrific one. His emotions are much more balanced, with Dustin not getting high or low during the round.
The shoe that fits one pinches another. There is no right or wrong emotional state that is best for everyone. The key is to find the emotional state that works for you. If you perform your best by getting high and low, then that is the answer for you. However, if you perform better keeping your emotions in check, then that should be your dominant emotional response under pressure.
Find what works for you and make that your emotional habit.
The author of this article is Dr. Gregg Steinberg. Golf Digest ranked him as one of the greatest sports psychologist and he is executive director of emotionaltoughnessuniversity.com in which you can find other articles related to emotional mastery. Please see more about him at DrGreggSteinberg.com