By Roger Knick, Founder of The Golf Performance Center

We all understand that failing is a part of life, for growth and a productive life, it is good to fail at something daily, if we fail forward! What does fail forward mean? When you learn something from failure, you take mental notes, or physical ones. We construct from the failure a better scenario going forward. Researchers in the field of neuroscience are finding humans have a “governor” when it comes to pushing themselves to their limits. We are fragile when it comes to the emotions of failing at something. We would rather not try our hardest and fail as it prevents the embarrassment in front of our peers or an audience. This way when failure happens, we can say, “I wasn’t really trying.” If we are successful at the intended experience then of course it was easy! No surprise there! We give the easy answer of, “I am supposed to make the three-footer! Who misses those!”

Failing forward in life is difficult, it hurts, it can leave scars that are hard to get past. However, if we look at failure from a different perspective such as a child learning to walk or learning almost anything, maybe we can overcome our fear of failures. For years psychologists and neurologists have been studying how kids learn. There is evidence that kids who are uninterrupted by their parents or supervision while performing tasks tend to learn faster, with more joy and grow up with less fear of failure. Interestingly, it is not until they reach school age and are introduced to teachers and peer review do they begin learning to fear failures. What is this saying about how judgement brings about fear?

Turning to golf, couldn’t it be said, golf highlights our sense of judgement which makes learning the game more difficult, especially in juniors. When learning the game, it is common for everyone around a potential junior golfer to give instruction: dads, moms, golf instructors, peers. Somehow everyone becomes the judge of how it is supposed to be done! Now I am not saying this is a bad thing but after the introduction to the game, perhaps the experts should take over? The experts in this case are the kids themselves. Back to my earlier comment, kids are good at figuring things out when left to learn and not being told that what they are doing is wrong or incorrect. They are learning how to learn!

Learning how to play golf is a self- discovery process. It is you, the equipment, the ball and the vague understanding of what might happen when the club connects with the ball. While making attempts at hitting the ball, many failures will take place, however without interruption of learning, kids will fail forward in learning how it will happen. Once this is tainted with outside input of instruction, failure is no longer accepted. It should be done right each time. This is the case for adults as well, it is a scary thing to fail at golf when you are successful at other things you do. However, being good at your business or whatever it is you are good at requires many failures. Golf is treated so differently, why? Because it is a game? Probably! It is to be enjoyed, it is to be a great walk or ride, not a 5-hour struggle with judgement of failure! Fail forward by accepting bad shots, bad swings, good swings, and accept golf can be a difficult game. If you understand the components of your struggles, you can work to improve in those areas, if you do not understand where you are in your development, it is probably a good time for our 5 Elements of Success Evaluation. Let us help educate you to your blind spots and create a plan for you to work on the right things! Fail forward by enjoying your experience of learning at being better not fixed!

The Golf Performance Center in Ridgefield, CT integrates state of the art training facilities and expert coaching to help athletes reach their goals.