Attention all golfers: Lower expectations = lower scores

Topic: College of Applied Sciences and Technology

May 18, 2010

 Rob Bell wants all golfers to lower their expectations.

And this includes everyone — from municipal course hackers to PGA qualifying school candidates. If they will do that, they'll shave a few strokes off their game and achieve their goals. This is just one of the many secrets Bell, assistant professor of the sport and exercise psychology program at Ball State University, reveals in his new book, "Mental Toughness Training for Golf."

The power of expectations is revealed through numerous examples of players "getting out of their own way" to win, Bell explained.

"Being able to manage our expectations in golf and life helps our performance rather than setting goals that we have little control over, without fail," he said.

Over the years, Bell has combined his research and applied experience as a certified sport psychology consultant with his passion for golf. When not conducting research or teaching courses at Ball State, he can be found working with journeyman golfers, serving as their caddy on professional tours.

Along with caddying, he is a mental training consultant for the PGA and Nationwide tours. The insights gleaned from combining his vocation with his avocation has led to a book that fills a void in golf publishing circles, Bell believes. And, in fact, there are many guides that focus on improving the mechanics of the sport, but few that address honing mental prowess, confirms professional golfer Scott Stallings.

"Dr. Rob Bell's philosophy on preparation is second to none," Stallings said. "It allows the player to get out of his own way in order to reach goals both on and off the course."

To write his book, Bell interviewed top collegiate coaches as well as professional players.
A recurring theme throughout his research, is "make practice and play more difficult than actual competition." By starting strong and finishing strong and making practice difficult, golfers can then learn their tendencies, thoughts, weaknesses and strengths, Bell said.

"Golf is analogous to life," he said. "It doesn't build character as much as it reveals character."  

The book, published by Authorhouse, can be found at www.barnesandnoble.com and www.amazon.com

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