When we are learning something new, mistakes are normal. When we are young we fall hundreds of times before we can walk, we crash our bike loads before we learn to ride, we use mistakes as a mechanism to learn. Somewhere along the line as we get older we are conditioned to see mistakes in a negative light, to fear, punish and avoid them.
But if we are making mistakes, then we are trying new things, we are actively trying to change, to improve and to learn something new. Mistakes are all part of the process of learning and should be embraced!
There are 3 types of mistake:
1. The ‘that’s how stuff works’ mistake
These are the kinds of mistakes which just happen, the best players in the world sometimes miss 2 foot putts on a dead flat green. These are mistakes which can happen to anyone for no particular reason, other than we are human, we’re not machines and sometimes we hit bad shots. These are certainly not a reason to beat ourselves up.
2. The Process Error
These are great learning opportunities. I’ve been working on a practice routine to help me strike my fairway shots better, on one shot I forget my routine or I don’t quite execute the shot quite how I intended. I recognize the error in the process, and refer back to my practice drill to fix it next time. Again, no reason to get upset or discouraged. Use this as feedback and use these mistakes to learn, grow, and improve.
3. The Red Flag
I leave myself an awkward pitch up and over a bunker with very little green to land the ball on. I’m unsure how to play the shot or what club to use, I end up hitting the ground before the ball and the ball finishes in the bunker. This is a great opportunity to recognise a gap in my skill set, I go away and get help and learn how to play this shot.
Its human nature when we are learning something new to avoid moving out of our comfort zone. We’ve all been in situations where we are trying to change something in our swing, mid round it’s not quite coming together so we revert back to what we are comfortable with.
• What we are comfortable with isn’t working, that’s why we have sought help and a change in the first place!
• Learning takes time! If I’ve made a mistake it just tells me that I’ve not quite mastered the change yet. Refer back to your practice routine; don’t be tempted to disregard everything just because of one bad shot.
• The key to consistency is a consistent thought process; I’m not going to get a consistent swing if I’m changing my swing thought on every hole!
Learn to embrace your mistakes; don’t feel embarrassed or discouraged by then, they are all part of how we get good at stuff.