What is confidence?

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
Dr. Seuss

What is confidence? Without question it is the most powerful ally we have in sport. No club, ball or piece of instruction can compete with confidence. Anything is possible with confidence and belief.

Dr. Bob Rotella is one of the greatest sports psychologists in the world. His definition of confidence is simple. He likens it to “playing with your eyes. Think about it. In all games that involve targets, this is true. A confident shooter in basketball sees the target and shoots. A baseball pitcher sees the catcher’s mitt and delivers the ball to that target. The quarterback zips a football into the receiver or an area the receiver will run through. None of these athletes mentally rehearses the wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle movements required to accomplish these feats. They see a target and just let it fly. Confident athletes allow their brains and nervous systems to take over. The moves that have been practiced can be carried out unconsciously. THEY TRUST.

If any of you question this, and as always I hope you do, I offer this idea – most of you who have played golf have experienced a blissful phenomenon on occasion. You can recall a round or two or even a few consecutive holes, where you effortlessly strung  together good consistent swings, hit the ball at the target, putted well, generally playing the golf you knew you could be capable of, but usually didn’t deliver. YOU WERE CONFIDENT! Then you happened to miss a putt, or failed to get out of a bunker, and the “streak” ends. You returned to your normal game, the one that you had come to expect. You look back on what you called “a hot streak.”

What if it wasn’t a hot streak? What if that was actually a glimpse of what was possible if you played consistently by having a conservative strategy, but employed a confident, aggressive swing at your target? REFUSE TO WAIT FOR CONFIDENCE TO MAGICALLY APPEAR.

What if you don’t possess the physical competence to combine with a sense of confidence? I have been coaching since I was a teenager, and given the choice, I would take a confident, target-oriented mind over a physical specimen with a weak mind every time. In golf tremendous physical gifts are not a requirement for participation, or even excellence. The target and ball don’t care whether you look like a Greek Goddess or a grandmother.


“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

Sir Edmund Hillary

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