October 2009



Confidence is a key ingredient in attaining success on and off the golf course. The definition of confidence is the “belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities(1).” One can have the ability to succeed, but without confidence, success is hard to achieve. 


There are several ways to build and maintain confidence. The first ingredient is a good understanding of the fundamentals of golf and a strong practice routine with physical repetition until shots become automatic. The next key is visualization of the desired result.  And finally, being able to face your fears and release emotional anxiety that causes stress and lack of confidence.  


As you learn the fundamentals of a new task and begin to have some success, confidence increases until you masterfully execute the desired result with precision.  A good understanding of the proper fundamentals along with an efficient practice routine creates repetitive success.


Jack Nicklaus radiated confidence on and off the golf course throughout his career.  Nicklaus practiced more from age ten to thirteen than most golfers do in their entire lives. Nicklaus also spoke about occupying his mind with only positive thoughts and pictures. As a part of his pre-shot routine he would visualize each shot in complete detail, including his swing, the ball flight, and the perfect result.  He even visualized the sight and sound of the roaring of the fans. It’s no surprise Nicklaus prevailed under pressure so many times in his career.


Another great pressure player with tremendous confidence is Michael Jordan. He took the last shot of the game twenty-seven times during his career. On each occasion he had the same expression on his face whether he made the shot or not. When asked about this, he replied that his facial expression was the same during visualization as it was when he actually took the final shot.  Visualization can become reality.  A combination of positive visualization and physical practice is necessary to maintain confidence and reach mastery.


The final step to achieving your dreams is overcoming the emotional anxiety that causes stress and less than optimum performance.  When in competition, if you are having doubts or signs of nervousness, this is an indication that you are not focused on the present moment.  Let go of the past shot or future desire and concentrate on executing the shot at hand.  Those fears and anxieties can be overcome in a variety of ways.  The first step is the desire to overcome and prevail, so that you can perform at your best.  Seek assistance through spiritual practices, sports psychologists, or mental coaches.  Determine which methods work best for you and commit to the desire outcome.


Golf is an excellent parallel to everyday life. To build confidence that persists under pressure you must believe you can achieve the desired result.  This is accomplished through consistent practice, strong fundamentals, visualization, and a positive attitude.  These confidence building tools work for golf and they work for any desired outcome.



(1) confidence. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved September 18, 2009, from website:




October edition of News from J.L. Sports, LLC