Did Mickelson learn how to 'Control his Monkey Brain' on British Soil?

By: Jon Finn | Sun 21 Jul 2013 | Comments ()


July 14th saw Phil Mickelson win his first ever event on British soil – The Scottish Open. By July 20th he had won his second, the 2013 British Open. But how? Did he dramatically change his technique? Has he seriously increased his fitness levels?  Was he using new and better clubs? No; as Peter Alliss said, what Phil Mickelson changed was his mental approach. For example, he made a conscious mental decision not to carry his driver so that he would not be tempted to use it. He worked hard on his mental approach to putting on tricky links greens, allowing him to develop a new confidence in holing out when it mattered the most.

Human BrainPhil Mickelson changed the way he used his brain on the golf course, and it resulted in him playing what he described as the best round of his life. In my professional opinion the neuroscience behind Mickelson’s winning performance is as follows; he worked out how to tame his Monkey Brain (limbic system), and switch on his Logical Brain (pre-frontal cortex).  In doing this it was much easier for Mickelson stop himself focusing on the shots that he didn’t want to hit, and focus on the shots that he needed to hit.

The good news is that all golfers can learn how to make the switch from a dominant Monkey Brain on the golf course, to a dominant Logical Brain. The key to caging up your Monkey Brain – your doubts about your ability, and the temptation to play risky shots – is to develop solid and consistent mental routines. Good mental routines do not happen by magic, they need to be planned and practised. However using them properly will make you much happier on the golf course!

Whether you are a 28 handicapper, or a top professional, left to its own devices your Monkey Brain will stop you from playing your best golf. So make you sure that you consciously intervene and stop it – your Monkey Brain – before if stops you.  

Want to find out more about fighting your Monkey Brain? View this video.


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Jon Finn, golf psychology consultant to the Professional Golfers' Association of Great Britain and Ireland, and the inventor of the Pre-Shot Training Programme, and Pre-Shot Golf Psychology iPhone Apps, for more information visit: www.pre-shot.co.uk



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Jon Finn

Jon Finn, golf psychology consultant to the Professional Golfers' Association of Great Britain and Ireland, and the inventor of the Pre-Shot Training Programme, and Pre-Shot Golf Psychology iPhone Apps.

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