Golf Psychology - How Earl Woods Inoculated Stress In Tiger

Joe Culverhouse
  • Author: Joseph Culverhouse
  • Manager - GLT Content and Communications
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Earl Woods with Tiger

 

In the first article of the Mind Body Connection portion of GLT’s golf psychology series, The Mental Game of Golf, we introduced the principle the Mind Body Connection. Today, we will discuss a practical example. To be specific, we’ll explain how Earl Woods used his military background to create a training environment designed to inoculate the stress response in young Tiger Woods.

Previously, we’ve touched on Earl Woods’s background, and how his work with the United States Navy led to Tiger working with Jay Brunza. But, Earl’s military influence didn’t stop there.

It’s no secret that the military creates stressful situations to train recruits. If you plan on sending men and women into a firefight, you want to make sure they will be able to handle the pressure when the fight is on. To Earl Woods, whether it meant hold a position under enemy attack or sinking a critical birdie putt, stress was stress. And if there was stress, there was an opportunity to do everything possible to guarantee performance wouldn’t suffer because of its presence. More directly, if stress was present, because of the Mind Body Connection, you could train to inoculate the body’s response.

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With that in mind, Earl began crafting a training regiment designed to create as much stress for Tiger as possible. Each day, Earl threw something new at him. He shouted during putting drills, swore loudly and passionately during backswings, even kicked over Tiger’s precious golf clubs. Anything Earl could think of to rattle Tiger’s cage, he did. It worked.

By constantly having to endure and withstand the barrage of stress, Tiger learned to cope. The personal interventions formed under stress training meant Tiger not only learned to deal with the stress, he strived under it.

Remember the Mind Body Connection. The mind moves the body, the body moves the club and the club moves the ball. When we entertain stressful thoughts, our bodies react, meaning the club and ball will display the effects.

GLT's free PDF Quickstart Guide of Golf's Mental Game is available here.

While we can’t recommend taking things to quite the level of stress training used by Earl, at Game Like Training, we pride ourselves on generating stressful practice designed to inoculate golfers to the pressures they’ll surely feel on the course. We train the mind to overcome those hurdles stress presents. Once the mind learns to cope, the body will follow, and the club and ball will flow as desired.

In the next edition of our golf psychology series, The Mental Game of Golf, we’ll give you an example of how Tiger performed exactly as planned when the pressure was on thanks to Earl’s inoculation of stress.

 

Tiger with Earl Woods