Here’s how you should approach your next high-stakes round
Q: Does it make sense to approach a high-pressure round as if it were just any other day?
—K. RIGGS, LAS VEGAS, NEV.
A: There’s no need to pretend one round is more or less important than another, but it’s crucial to understand what makes it different. Whether it’s Sunday at the Masters or a casual solo round, your objective should never change. To play your best, you must create enough freedom to access the skills you’ve worked so hard to develop.
The only thing that changes when you play different rounds for different stakes is simply the stories you tell yourself! For example, “I better play well because college coaches are watching” or “I have a lot of money on the line.” The stories themselves represent a focus on the future, a “What if?” The more time you spend in thought, the less time you spend engaging in the moment. Things are a little easier to navigate in a casual round because there’s no story to follow, making it much easier to stay engaged.