Many times I have described to golfers that you can play as a goalie.goalkeeper with an anxious rage and be successful but those traits don’t translate well to golf.
Consider the following scenario as an indoor soccer goalkeeper or as a goalie in ice hockey. With the rapid fire scenario of “shot save, ball loose in front save, rebound rolls out the point, Ohhhh what a save!!!” anxiety plays a key roll in helping give you the fight or flight energy to give that second, third and forth effort.
The reason this works is that the anxious adrenaline rush plus simply reacting to things as they unfold combine to give amazing results.
The reacting to pictures is one key. I, with my social anxiety, can not tell a joke to save my life. I try to make it happen and the words do not come out right and/or my rhythm is off.
However, I can improvise with the best of them. When I am with the right people, where I can go blue without worry, then my inner Robin Williams comes out. In this case, I am successful because I am simply reacting to things as they happen around me. I can even be anxious and it still works albeit with a Robin Williams like manic energy.
However, in golf, anxiety is is almost always an impairment. Most anxiety comes from your brain fixated on future possible events. When that happens, it creates tension that can/will destroy a golf swing that requires one to be loose, free, rhythmic and effortless.
So when athletes come from other sports it is often hard to dial down the anxious part when playing golf. The anxious energy that comes from a defensive back trying to deflect a touch down pass comes into mind. The defensive back awareness of consequences gives him that needed adrenaline boost. However, in golf, awareness of what happens if you miss a putt is disastrous. This is where learning to use the tools of mindfulness come into play.
Golf works when you are in the moment, simply reacting to a picture with out any awareness of consequences. It is the tools of mindfulness, that can help turn an anxious pressure putt to simply just another six foot putt without any thought or care of the future.