Just Right

By: Michael Riggs


ONE Way® founder, Michael Riggs, holds a master’s degree in applied sports psychology from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. University of Virginia is recognized worldwide for its emphasis on research and innovation in the field of performance psychology. As an educator, Michael has opened the minds of students at all levels, encouraging them to “dream big.” As a multi-sport athlete and longtime coach, he’s worked with athletes from skilled amateurs to professionals. And as a business professional, he’s fostered innovation.

Using the ONE Way platform, each client is personally guided by a ONE Way certified Coach to realize his unlimited potential. ONE Way Coaches serve as objective guides who empower their client to become their own catalyst for change. Since 1996, Performance Consulting Ltd.has offered one-on-one personal coaching, group workshops, and custom presentations for athletes, business executives, and organizations seeking to think better…perform better…live better.

The relationship between a player’s optimal level of arousal – how revved he is – and performance is one of the most studied, and difficult to pinpoint, concepts in the field of Sport Psychology. Each golfer has an optimal state of mental stimulation that allows him to think and feel “ready” to play. If the golfer is under-aroused, less than peak performance may be the result. Conversely, over-arousal can lead to a sense of panic and feeling “out of control.”

As is true with all aspects of the mental game, learning to recognize different states of beingis the first, and thus, a critical step. It is important to become aware of how “keyed up,” “ready,” or “mellow” you tend to be when you are playing your best golf. Each player has a different level of optimal arousal; therefore, each player needs to be self-aware what that level is in order to “go” there to play his best.

With golf, a lower level of arousal is usually best for extraordinary performance. Because playing great golf requires fluidity, excellent timing, and the ability to make clear and decisive decisions on the course, being mentally tense will usually decrease the player’s ability to reach proper physical, mental and emotional states. For example, on a scale of one through ten, if being asleep is represented with a one, and being in a state of fury were a ten, the proper mental arousal level for great golf would be between a three and a five.

Most players do not know their optimal level of arousal. Consequently, they end up playing better when they “happen” to be properly aroused, and score high when “they aren’t ready to play.” Experiment and become aware of your optimal level of arousal. Your intuition will usually tell you when you are near your perfect level. While feeling butterflies in your stomach and increased respiration are natural for athletes prior to competition, feeling like you are going to throw up and your heart pounding out of your chest are sure signs of over-arousal. On the other hand, a lackadaisical “I don’t care” attitude is almost always a sign of under-arousal.

The ultimate goal is to be able to “dial up” or “dial down” to reach your perfect level each time you play.

S² Tip

Train yourself – with the guidance of a mental fitness expert – to be able to “dial up” or “dial down” to reach your perfect mental and emotional level each time you play.

Success Story

Hat’s off to Mark Haddad, new Executive Director of the PGA Tour Academy’s , for his creative efforts putting together some truly extraordinary camps and schools for Jr. golfers!

In Another's Word ...

“Pressure is playing for ten dollars when you don’t have a dime in your pocket.” – Lee Trevino

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