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Body Language and Recruiting
September 1, 2023

There were lots reasons my coach was so adamant I pick my head up after making a bogey. For one, thissignified to my, teammates, the other team, and the fans that I was done. The adversity I had recentlyexperienced appeared too much for me to handle. On top of the perception body language gives others,there was the inevitability of bringing about further failures due to my poor reaction and defeated bodylanguage. Coaches love seeing athletes in difficult situations. Playing in the rain, wind, the pressure of thelast group, not feeling well, and so on. How you react to these situations and the way you carry yourselfcould be a key point in showing college coaches what you are made of and more importantly, can theycount on you!

Let’s look at a few more closely to see how they can be used, either positively or negatively, to impact ourperformance and how college coaches may view an athlete.

Body Language & Confidence

When addressing body language and its impact on mood, the number one area within our mood that isgoing to have a direct influence on our performance is confidence. The way you hold your body can eitherraise or lower your confidence. Tony Robbins talks a lot about altering your state. This, he says, can bedone by holding your body in a different way. Think back to the example I gave earlier of constantlydropping my head after a bad shot. Do you think that would positively or negatively affect my confidence?It did nothing but pull down my already dwindling confidence. However, I could just as easily havereversed the way I felt by holding my body in a different manner and speaking to myself in a different way.

Your body is linked to your mood, especially the confidence you feel in the moment. So your bodylanguage and internal conversations have the power to uplift you when feeling down, increase confidencewhile anxious, and help you feel proud when insecure. However, it can just as easily increase feelings ofself-doubt, drive negative self-talk, and keep you from being able to bounce back from a mistake. That’swhy you need to learn to master your body language and self-talk in all situations.

Think about it this way… let’s say you have a round in which you just haven’t made any putts, and eachtime you miss you tell yourself how bad of a stroke you made or how poor of a putter you are in general.

Now fast forward to the 18th green, and you have a 6-footer to win the match. For the last 4+ hours youhave told yourself you can’t putt, so what makes you think all of a sudden, when you and your team needto make one, that you will? You’ve set yourself up for failure, simply by the way you have carried andspoken to yourself.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, the best in the world only make half of their putts from 8 feet.

The Coaches View

I don’t typically advocate concern on the athlete’s part over what anyone is thinking of them. However, inthe recruiting game, coaches are the ones making decisions. With that truth known, there needs to be adegree of thought as to how the coaches view you, and particularly your toughness.

Besides talent, coaches look for athletes who are mentally tough. Throughout my years coaching, Iroutinely recruited athletes that were tough and confident, most of them were two sport athletes. You maythink of yourself as tough with strong character. However, no matter what you think on the inside, this maynot be what coaches are seeing if you continually hang your head after each mistake and can’t seem tomentally get beyond a bad break. Even if your performance is good, no coach wants to keep playing anathlete who appears to have a poor attitude or can’t be counted on in crunch time.

Walking Tall

I used to start the year off in our first team meeting by explaining to the guys that before we can bechampions, we have to start walking and talking like champions.

Some may think that their confidence came from the fact they performed well, but I believe it’s the otherway around. These guys performed in a way that matched their body language. Because their bodylanguage was an indication of the confidence they felt within.

For you, even if you don’t feel as though your talents allow you to do so, walk confidently. Stop short ofarrogance but have a quiet air of confidence that is highlighted by your proud stature as you walk on thecourse.

You work hard, don’t you? So why shouldn’t you be able to hold your head high, believing in the talentsyou’ve put hours into developing?

Moving on to the Next Shot

Your body is doing the work while performing. However, it is a tool through which your mind operates.Therefore, both need to be in harmony, focused and attentive, in order to play your best. The mentalaspect is going to lag behind if you fail to get your body in a state where it’s ready to perform.

After you make a mistake, if your head is hanging and shoulders are slouched, you have failed to placeyourself in the optimal position physically to get beyond the mistake and move on to the next shot. I wouldgive my players until they set their bag down for the next shot to be upset, but once they put their bagdown for the next one, it was time to move on.

Whenever you allow your body language to drop due to negativity, there was an increased likelihood ofmaking a mistake on the next shot. Just by getting ourselves more engaged physically before each shot,we increase our chances of success.

Your Body Language Impacts Others

Have you ever had a teammate who sulked after every mistake? We all have. Did their reaction ignitefeelings of motivation and confidence within you? Or did their actions suck the energy out of you, makingyou begin to feel as they do?

Make no mistake, we feed off the energy of those around us. Think about how you feel around yourteammates when they have poor body language, and now imagine how they must feel when you’re doingthe same.

Body Language is Trainable

This is going to mainly occur away from the course. Initially, you might find it's difficult to keep your bodylanguage positive after a mistake. For this reason, it’s important to begin training positive body languagein a safe environment. One of my favorite ways to do this was by holding a power pose in the morning.

After you put your feet on the floor in the morning, or as you stand in the mirror brushing your teeth, standin a way that generates a feeling of confidence and power. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourselfthat YOU ultimately control your attitude.

This is benefiting you in two ways. One, it is instilling a feeling of confidence that will carry with youthroughout the day. Secondly, it is training your mind to respond with a confident and positive emotionwhen you hold yourself in that way. What this means is, whenever you feel insecure, frustrated, or like afailure during a round, you can hold your body in the way you’ve been training, and your mind willrespond positively.

Keep up the good work, and until next time.