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Have you ever wondered how some actors, performers or athletes suddenly come alive when it’s their time to perform?

“When Elvis Presley arrived at a new concert venue, he’d have his dressing room trailer placed exactly 1000 yards away from the stage at the arena. This way no matter what state of mind he was in when he left his dressing room, he would use the 1000-yard walk to guide himself into a state of confidence and charisma that was so tangible people would sense his presence and begin cheering even before he entered the building.”(Paul Mckenna)

Elvis’ famous 1000-yard walk is one example of how many great performers, athletes and actors transform their state to perform at their best.

I particularly like following and understanding the lives of famous actors such as the talented Christian Bale and Daniel Day Lewis. Both brits btw (it must be something in the water)..

Daniel Day Lewis, who’s a method actor, played the role of Abraham Lincoln on and off camera. This makes me chuckle a little. What if there was a crisis in his real life? What if his wife jumped up in the middle of the night, hearing noises downstairs – i.e. burglars! Would she really want DDL to go downstairs in character as Lincoln and talk calmly to the guys stealing their stuff? Or would she want her hubbie to grab his gun and kick some ass!?

I love the idea of immersing yourself in the task, but I prefer the idea of being able to move in and out of these states, as it pertains to performing on the golf course.

If I told you to act like Tiger Woods on and off the golf course, you would soon find yourself a new golf coach.

All of your golfing buddies would be falling over themselves laughing at you! If you’re a 25 h’cap, there’s nothing wrong with mentally transforming yourself to a 18 handicap before you play every round of golf. It’s still you, but just a slightly better you!

Plan how you’re going to make bogey every hole, and go and execute..

Also, track where you usually lose your shots. Do you play a reasonably consistent fade off the tee but are useless from 80 yards in? If so, start practicing your short game.

This is an area I work on more with my experienced players for some reason. The truth is it’s great information for all levels. It’s based on the idea of occupying your mind with what you want. Elvis occupied his mind during that 100 yards with how he was going to perform. Daniel Day Lewis transformed his mind to that of Lincoln on and off screen. They both seem to perform pretty well to me!

If we relate this to golf, changing your state becomes a more obvious thing to do if you are genuinely looking for results (I wish someone had told me how important it was growing up as a teenager!).

But try and understand your individual DNA first. Understand your makeup before you decide whose shoes you are going to step into.

Observing some of the best players in the world there are vast differences between the way they manage their game. If you compare Hunter Mahan’s swing to Jim Furyk’s there are some major differences. But both are excellent at the task at hand, which is getting the ball from one place to the next.

Ernie Els plays the game in a composed manner, where as Tiger Woods plays in an emotional manner.

Sergio Garcia’s routine around the ball is calm, slow and deliberate, where as Keegan Bradley looks like he’s getting ready to jump in the ring with Mike Tyson.

You must understand your personal makeup to improve your game.

What’s the best way to prepare the night before a big game?
What’s the best environment to practice the week before?
Best way to warm up before an important round?
The best simple swing thoughts that work for you?
Your physical and mental routine before you hit the ball?

The list can go on forever. I find it useful to make notes. The emergence of such great technology makes it easy to keep track of the things that are working for you.

On my iPad I have hundreds of little notes, which range from my breathing habits around the ball, to swing notes, to drills and exercises I think of during the day to pass onto clients.

The best part of making a journal is being able to self teach. This understanding of what works for you and what doesn’t is important for your understanding and progression in the game.

Don’t try and be somebody you’re not on the course. If you walk fast, talk fast, write fast and drive fast, start following Keegan Bradley or Brandt Snedeker on the PGA Tour and learn a few things from the way they play the game.

If you have a calm outlook on life, rarely raise your voice, walk at a pace that suits you, you would be well served by watching how Sergio Garcia conducts himself around the ball or how Fred Couples walks around the course.

Understanding your DNA and then forming a clear image of how to conduct yourself on the course will help you become a better, confident player.

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