Hannah from the sportscotland young people's sport panel

My sporting life

Find out how a young golfer has used sport psychology to up her game

Learning in sport is a continuous process; you need an open and positive mindset. Hannah from the Young people’s sport panel tells us how golf has taught her more than just sporting lessons.

Golf didn’t come naturally to me. I felt lucky that I could pick up the basics of many other sports relatively quickly. But golf had me stumped. I’m sure if you play golf you will appreciate my frustration!

However, I’m pleased to say that I managed to transform this frustration into determination. I realised that I had to focus on the happiness I felt when I had hit a good shot, and make sure that it outweighed the sheer fury I felt at the bad shots. From there I was hooked. It opened my eyes to my potential, if I could hit one good shot, surely, I would be able to string a few together ultimately leading to a good round.

So now I had to start hitting more good shots – I needed to knuckle down and work hard, which is why I see golf as such a valuable learning opportunity.

I realised that the only way to get what you want out of life is through hard work and persistence.

To start with, I played a lot more golf, hitting balls and getting out on the course. Competitions were looming and I knew I needed a competitive edge. As crucial as practicing my swing and my putting was to my improvement, I was overlooking a major aspect of golfing success the need for mental strength.

I began reading sports psychology books and researching authors who had worked with some of the best golfers. I hoped this would help me with my game, but what I didn’t realise was the core values it would enable me to transfer to my everyday life. Straightforward tasks, training and behaviour can be greatly impacted by sport psychology.

Here are three of the key learnings I believe can help in all areas of life, sport, school or any other challenge.

1. Stay in the present

In golf this means not allowing your mind to wander during your round. But I think this is crucial in life, it helps you to understand the importance of focusing on what is in front of you and not worrying too much about the future. If you are thinking about the future, it means there is a lack of detail and attention on what you are currently doing.

2. Commit to a pre-shot routine 

In golf this means having a regimented routine you can carry out in order to apply the same level of commitment to each shot. I believe if you behave in a consistent manner, apply your beliefs and morals to all you do, you are more likely to reap reliable results.

3. Don't label yourself

If you label yourself, say as someone who always shoots 80, then that is what you will do because you become what you say you are. In life, too, as soon as you categorise yourself in a negative way it affects who you believe you can become, limiting your growth and chances of success.

Even if you have absolutely no desire to take up golf, never overlook the lessons sport can teach you. They can help you realise things about yourself that you would never discover in a classroom.

Hopefully the above tips will help you as much as they’ve helped me, and remember education is everywhere!

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