In a bid to qualify two Malaysian Professionals for the 2016 Olympics, Jon Stabler, who with his wife Dr Deborah Graham founded the GolfPsych Training Programme, was the featured instructor for five days of intensive mental coaching for the top 13 Malaysian Professionals.
The GolfPsych Programme is part of the “PGM-UMW Road to the Olympics 2016” support programme sponsored by the UMW Corporation. GolfPsych has tested over 380 Golf Professionals on the PGA and LPGA Tours. They have helped 21 individual players win 31 Major Championships and all of the Majors at least once on the PGA, LPGA, and Champions Tour.
The programme started with all 13 players taking a mental and emotional skills test and a general personality test. The tests were completed before Stabler arrived from the US.
Training began with the presentation and explanation of the “8 Traits of Champion Golfers”. Research indicates that all Champion Golfers fall into a certain range on the Cartell Personality Scale.
One of the goals of the coaching programme is to get the students to move closer to those eight champion traits. He also explained the consequences and tendencies of players who fall well outside these traits.
Daily training consisted of relaxing and enhancing focus, making good decisions that each player can commit to, creating and managing a personal game plan, creating mindsets for competition, managing distractions on and off the course, controlling emotions, implementing thought control techniques, lowering arousal levels, increasing confidence, goal setting, managing tournament schedules and practice plans, and diet and nutrition.
Jon has also invented a coaching devise called a Mindmeter. The Mindmeter is strapped onto the chest of the player and has a sensor that picks up left brain and right brain activity as well as tension levels.
The Mindmeter works with an App on an android phone. It can very clearly determine when a player is getting over-analytical or reaching high arousal levels. The player can counter this by getting more involved in the feel and visual of the shot and by incorporating relaxation techniques as well as thought control strategies.
Additional guest training sessions will be scheduled over the next 14 months leading up to the 2016 Olympics. Ian Triggs, Golf Instructor to World Class PGA and LPGA Players will be the next scheduled guest trainer, Ian will continue working on the mental and emotional skills of the 13 selected players.
PGM Chairman who witnessed the training on more than one occasion had this to say:
“The players are knocking on the door,” he said referring to Danny Chia, Arie Irawan and Nicholas Fung as the front-runners for now. (Of the 13, Shaaban Hussein was not able to make the training because of a prior commitment)
He was looking forward to the report and recommendations of GolfPsych and gave the assurance he would implement them. He hoped the trainees would also be given the opportunity to forward their thoughts for a “composite picture” to be arrived at.
“When we put shoulders to the wheel the feeling of representing the country is an eclectic one. I was Chef de Mission for the Malaysian contingent in the 2012 Olympics and in holding the flag I was proud to be Malaysian.”
He had spoken to the Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin about the GolfPsych effort and the Minister had volunteered further support. Tun asked the players to forward requests that would “incentivise” them.