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Using EFT with two professional golfers

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

Hi Everyone,

Almost every accomplished athlete will tell you that the difference between an average performance and a superior performance is "in my head." I can personally attest to this having spent my earlier years running up and down football fields, playing baseball & basketball and running track. I wish I had known then what I know now about the all-important mental (emotional) side of the game.

With that in mind I wish to thank Dr. Brent Thomson, who specializes in sports performance, for sharing how he used EFT with two professional golfers.

Since sports was "my thing" for many years, I felt compelled to make some augmenting comments within Brent's article.

Hugs, Gary

By Brent Thomson, PhD

My work setting is an exercise and personal fitness training studio in the metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. At this location I have a private practice where I see counseling clients (children, adolescents, and adults), as well as interact with professional trainers. As a result of this collaboration, I have received many sports referrals through the last four years. Without fail, EFT has proven to be a foundation skill for relieving/eliminating mental and physical stress for athletes.

One such referral was my first professional golf client. This proved to be a very rewarding and reinforcing referral as it resulted in this individual winning the Minnesota PGA Senior State Match Play tournament in 2001, of which he attributed his win mainly due to using EFT both before and during the tournament.

I also recently worked with a club professional in Minnesota who made the cut to participate in the 2002 U.S. Open at Hazeltine Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, largely due to EFT. I would like to relate in this article how I worked with these golfers and what areas we worked on. Hopefully, this will provide some useful information for you to use in your own training efforts.

The problem that usually needs to be worked on first is to expand one's comfort zone. Gary has mentioned this in previous posts, and he is right. We have a tendency to build in lots of unconscious self-limits and self-defeating beliefs that certainly can sabotage our performances.

GC COMMENT: Amen! One of the most important pieces to the sports improvement puzzle is to widen the athlete's comfort zone. They must mentally "see" themselves at the new level before they will achieve it consistently. EFT can be used to reduce these limiting mental barriers much more efficiently than conventional sports psychology.

BRENT CONTINUES: The way that I addressed this issue with both golfers was to say something on the order of, "Even though I may have barriers to shooting consistently at par or lower, especially in tournaments, I deeply and completely accept myself." We would continue doing EFT till it registered 0 on a 0-10 intensity scale. I then instructed them on using an appropriate choice statement, such as, "I choose to see myself being confident, relaxed, and powerful on the golf course at all times, especially in tournaments."

I would use a 0-10 scale (with 10 indicating total belief in the statement) in order to find out how much they believed that the choice statement was true for them. With this baseline, I would then have them repeat the choice statement three times at each tapping point, starting at the eyebrow point and finishing at the underarm point. I asked them to take their time saying their statements while utilizing imagery to "see themselves becoming" the statement on the golf course. We would then take a 0-10 rating after each round to see how much they now believed in their choice statement. We would continue this process until they felt a 9 or 10 on the choice statement.

I then turned my attention to individual negative feelings (both physical and emotional) that were getting in the way of peak performance. These feelings usually revolve around the following: frustration, anxiety, fears, and physical tensions/pain. More specifically, common issues are the following: fear of failure (making mistakes), fear of embarrassing themselves, fear of playing in front of a large gallery of spectators, physical tension or pain in the muscles while playing (specify where), frustration after missing a shot, losing focus, anxiety about hitting the distance, mental tension (fuzzy thinking or confusion), and disappointment when playing poorly.

GC COMMENT: Although worthwhile results can be gained by tapping on these issues, I think even more efficiency is available if these broader issues are broken down into SPECIFIC EVENTS. An example might be..."The time I felt like a failure when XXX happened at age 10 in Mrs. Johnson's third grade class." These SPECIFIC EVENTS are the foundation under the broader issues and thus their precise removal can add value to the process.

BRENT CONTINUES: We then proceeded to "chop down those emotional and physical trees" until they no longer presented a problem (0 on the 0-10 intensity scale). At this point, I would again turn to writing out a coping self-statement for each emotional or physical tree that we chopped down in order to affirm and build the positive. There's an old saying in cognitive therapy, "what you choose to focus on, you tend to energize." EFT does such an outstanding job on chopping down the emotional and physical trees, it really helps smooth the way for planting new behavior and thinking choices and makes it much more likely for these behaviors and new beliefs to be realized.

An example of this would be, "I choose to see myself maintaining my focus during my round and at the same time remaining relaxed." We would then continue to plant the positive until this registered a 9 or 10.

Finally, I would turn my attention to any problems with specific aspects of the game and start to tap them down. Examples of potential targets would be: lack of confidence with using woods, problems with using irons, problems with putting, problems in using the sand wedge, and difficulty playing in poor weather conditions. An example would be, "Even though I'm having a lot of problems with putting lately, I deeply and completely accept myself." I would then proceed to set up a 0-10 intensity scale and continue to work on it until it was down to a 0. I would then select a choice statement, such as, "I choose to see myself draining my putts with consistency." We would take an initial 0-10 baseline on how much they would believe the statement until the statement registered a consistent 10.

Brent Thomson, Ph.D., L.P.


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