We all work on the aspects of the game we can see but the one crucial area that we forget about is the mental side of the game. This Strength is what can help you win or lose matches or competitions.
If you struggle with self belief, keeping calm, getting angry after bad shots, concentrating for a full round or taking your game from the driving range to the course then you may benefit from a Mind Factor session with Deana Rushworth.
We chatted to coach AA PGA Professional and Mind Factor coach Deana to see how she started playing, being a Mind Factor coach and teaching in general.
When did you start playing golf?
I started playing golf when I was 13
What made you start playing golf?
My dad started playing and he said I couldn’t..I think I’ve always been a bit defiant! Anyway my dad caught me with his clubs in the school field at the back of our house and could see I had a talent, he relented and bought me a half set for my 13th birthday.
How important is the mental side of golf?
The mental side of golf is huge regardless of your ability. I think this is largely because we play a still ball, we are much more conscious rather than reactive.
Also the majority of the time we are playing golf we are not actually hitting the ball, so it is very important to be able to control your thoughts/mood in between shots to be able to approach your next shot with a positive attitude.
What does the Mind Factor involve?
It is a systematic approach to overcome your problems and confidence issues on and off the course. We use a variety of techniques and tasks to improve your confidence, self belief and self mastery.
Do you think this area is the most overlooked?
Yes definitely. Confidence swings the club. As an amateur I had an incredible work ethic when it came to practice and preparation, but I would get to a tournament and unravel myself and put in a poor performance as I wasn’t mentally tough and hadn’t practiced in the correct way.
What happens in a Mind Factor lesson? Is it a mix of inside and on course lessons?
It involves an initial assessment of what your thoughts and concerns are with your game. We then work through these areas with various methods and I set homework.
Initial sessions are conducted inside, and then we take what we’ve discussed and worked on out on to the course.
Have your pupils seen a difference in their performance using Mind Factor techniques?
Definitely, especially if they have done their homework! I coach the Ladies RAF national golf squad and a lot of what we’ve worked on is their Mind Game.
They have beaten the Army and the Navy 3 years running in the inter-services championships and they say a lot of what we’ve done has helped in pressure situations.
Have you seen an increase of ladies having lessons?
When I first started coaching 14 years ago I would say my client base was 80% male to 20% Female. Now it’s around 65% male to 35% female.
Has the improvement in technology made teaching easier?
Yes. It has really helped with visual and fact based learners. Videoing someone has instant feedback and comparisons with split screen iPad technology.
They say people take in 7% of what you say verbally, so to be able to see yourself, really has an impact beyond my well worded explanations of the issue/change.
Also using my Flightscope launch monitor is fantastic even as a before and after demonstration. Even if the club data leaves you cold, it charts your shot dispersion and distance, which can give you a massive confidence boost instead of my pupils think I’m just being nice and encouraging!
Do you have different techniques for teaching men and ladies?
I would say slightly. The use of hips/legs is much more important when coaching women as we have up to 80% of the muscle mass/strength in our hips/legs that a man has but only 40% in our upper body.
So it is very important that your hips and legs are very efficient in the swing.
Should people be nervous if coming to you for lessons for the first time?
Haha not at all! People are nervous naturally as you are showing a vulnerable side of you to someone who you’ve never met.
But I’m not blowing my own trumpet when I say that I’m very good at putting people at ease. I’m a warm and caring person and when appropriate there’s always a tad of humour lurking in my manner/delivery.
Do you run group coaching?
Yes I run ladies groups, mixed groups and school group coaching. I also do couples and friends shared lessons.
What would you say to those people that have had a lesson/lessons and it hasn’t helped?
Lessons work when you have been giving the right advice, one or two swing thoughts at most, and you have got the time to imbed the changes.
You have to hit some balls on the range not go straight out to play. Ultimately you don’t really want to be thinking out on the course, it needs to be trained on the range and trusted out on the course.
After a glistening amateur career Deana turned professional and in 2013 she dedicated her passion for golf into coaching to help new and and existing golfers alike.
As well as being a qualified AA PGA Professional Deana also has a NLP & Sports Psychology diploma, Titleist Performance Institute level 1 & 2 certification and became a Mind Factor Coach.
Deana’s aim to to provide a relaxed environment for all of her pupils to grow there confidence and they skills.