GFAA Best Practice: Address Mental Fitness

Katrina Steady is the Performance and Resilience Mental Coach at Northeast Performance Institute, with five locations in the state of Connecticut.

Katrina Steady on the importance of addressing mental fitness:

At the Northeast Performance Institute (NPI), we offer a full array of services to benefit all aspects of a golfer’s game. From the technical components of the golf swing to the vital fitness side of the game, we provide a holistic approach to game improvement. In those efforts, we also teach strategies to increase our clients’ mental toughness on the golf course. Golf is a humbling game that carries a good deal of failure, even for the best in the world. In my role, I introduce golfers to positive psychology – focusing on what went well in a round of golf, rather than harping on the things that didn’t. We discuss ways of being more optimistic and not getting stuck on a bad shot or a disappointing hole. This leads to more productive thoughts and focus that can translate into more quality golf shots and improved physical performance. I meet clients at their preferred NPI location and often walk some holes on the course to observe them in the moment and provide live feedback. To communicate my message and promote our unique services, I collaborate with members of our PGA Professional staff in 2-3-hour workshops with small groups. As COVID-19 restrictions are eased, we can consider increasing the audience per workshop, reaching more individuals and further promoting our one-on-one engagement. As is the case within the physical side of the game, where many golfers have shared faults and deficiencies, there are many common “issues” that golfers deal with in their mental game, as well. We tell our clients that it’s not just YOU who gets angry after a poor result – nor are YOU the only one who gets nervous when others are watching.

Katrina Steady on the business impact of addressing mental fitness:

At NPI, we strive to answer the question, “how do we get the student from good to great?” Providing such a wide array of services makes our facility a reliable one-stop-shop for everything golfers need to improve their game. We develop relationships with students who depend on us to make golf a more enjoyable activity – a game they can play until they can’t play anymore. We help golfers be more deliberate on the mental side, just as they are taught in the physical and technical aspects of the game. Through visualization, I teach students to develop routines that provide confidence and puts the player in a good emotional state. My main goal is to find what works for that person – what does ‘right’ look like for him or her? – and replicate those points, actions and concepts. Making students aware of their own thoughts, emotions and reactions is important to recognizing them when on the golf course and understanding how they affect their performance. Once they can identify their individual zone of optimal functioning, they can focus more clearly on the task at hand, visualize what they want to do and go at it with the best of intentions, accepting the result for what it is, good or bad, and then doing it again. When golfers can see mistakes as opportunities to grow, and not focus on the negative, that’s when we know we’re making progress.

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