Tognoli Time

Between Your Ears

On Saturday I played golf with a former PGA tour player and now one of the top sports psychologists on the PGA tour, NEALE SMITH. He has worked with, or currently works with, many famous Tour players including Marc Leishman, Greg Chalmers, Ryan Palmer, Jason Day, Kevin Chappell and Cameron Tringale. You can tell just by meeting him he is a Zen Master…calm, mellow and does not show a lot of emotion when he golfs. He is a master of the course between his ears…and one amazing golfer and nice guy.

He was in town helping some of his tour players in the AT∓T ProAm at Pebble Beach and got his Saturday morning off to hit the ball with me...SCORE!

As we made the turn walking down the 10th fairway, I asked him about mindset and what it takes to remain calm and under control in the most high-pressure moments? Like walking up to the 18th tee on a Sunday at a major with the lead…with tens of thousands of people staring at you live and millions more around the world watching on TV. How do you calm your mind, body and soul so you can execute at the highest level? How do you not just S#*t your pants? How do you overcome fear and anxiety in not just golf, but life?

Of course his answer was not simple. He said...”it’s all about your perspective.” There is no one size fits all solution...no one answer for everyone. Everyone sees things through their own lens and the key is finding out why YOU are anxious and have fear. Then you can dive in to overcoming those feelings. Because let’s face it fear, anxiousness and worry are irrational thoughts that only make things worse...very rarely ever better.

So...what is your perspective and what do you need to do to perform at the highest level without fear, anxiety, or worry... regardless of what you do...student, athlete, parent, employee...?

When we wrapped up the round, I asked him to send me his 3 favorite books on mindset and overcoming the fear of failure... instead embracing the opportunity and loving the moment.

Here You Go:

  1. Mindset by Carol Dweck
  2. The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  3. Heads-Up Baseball by Ken Ravizza

Thanks for the checkup from the neck up Neale!

Tom Tognoli Between Your Ears Neale Smith