Tips from a Major Champion

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Sport Psychology with PGA Player of the Year

It’s not common to get an insight into the mindset of championship athletes, so when Padraig Harrington, winner of 3 Major Championships in the last 2 years, spoke with the San Diego Union Tribune, SPINw listened.

Padraig described several positive mental habits which he routinely practices during a round. He’s “always playing a mental game. I’m always trying to be reasonably positive. In some ways, I’m preparing myself for a battle tomorrow. When I say I’m struggling a bit, I’m trying to get into my head that I’m going to have to knuckle down and work hard to save every shot.”

He describes two definite positive thought patterns. First, he’s focusing on positive events and plays. Obsession with negative events or poor performances can lead to recurring negative self-talk and lowered confidence. Padraig also demonstrates a focus on this shot, in this moment. By maintaining his focus in the present moment, he’s not thinking about the missed putt on 13 or the bad chip on 14; he’s truly grounded and aware of himself and the task at hand. Both of these traits, thinking positively and staying present, are excellent habits for the mentally strong athlete.

And one more thing – how does Padraig feel about the long-awaited return of Tiger back to the tour? “I am looking forward to Tiger coming back and taking some of the spotlight off me. It’s much easier to win a tournament under the radar.”

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