Golfers: 5 Things to learn from Usain Bolt on dealing with pressure

by Jordan on August 27, 2012

Adopt the mindset of Usain Bolt when dealing with pressure on the course

Pressure in golf happens. I want you to thrive under it.

You can do that by learning from Usain Bolt. After all I am going through Olympic withdrawals.

It’s been years since I was glued to the TV like that.

Every athlete is an inspiration.

They work hard to achieve their goals and dreams.

But there’s one athlete that really inspired me.

And he should inspire you.

However, not for his athletic ability.

Lets be honest, we golfers are not athletic freaks like Usain.

Instead here’s five things you can learn from Bolt dealt on dealing with pressure.

#1 – Have Fun

Even before the biggest race of his life, Bolt is still able to have fun.

Skip ahead in the video below to 3:10 to see how much fun Bolt was having during his introduction. An introduction that is all of 2 minutes before the race.

By having fun he’s able to relax. We all know being able to relax is not easy in a pressure situation on the course.

But if you can smile and laugh, you’ll release a lot of tension and stress that accompanies pressure.

#2 – Make Pressure Your Friend

With all the pressure Bolt is still able to perform at a high level.

Why? Because pressure is his best friend.

In an interview after the 100 m final he stated that he performed better in front of such a large crowd. It’s as if he’s not interested unless there’s lots of people watching. That might be the reason why Yohan Blake was able to beat him at the Jamaica trials.

He loves the spotlight. You should too.

#3 – Visualize Success

After Bolt’s name is introduced and the camera pans to the next competitor, there is no doubt that he is visualizing running a successful race.

He’s running the race in his head. Feeling each stride and seeing himself cross the finish line first.

I wouldn’t hesitate to go as far to say that I bet he visualizes himself standing on the podium accepting the gold.

#4 – Remember The Good Rounds

The greats always have the ability to block out past failures. Bolt wasn’t thinking about finishing runner up to Blake in the Jamaica trials.

Nope. He was thinking about 2008 and Beijing.

Download the good shots and rounds to your memory bank. Then pull them out when you’re getting ready for a big round or shot.

Remember how you walked along with what your body and mind felt.

Doing all these will focus on positive instances.

#5 – Breath

Bolt and ever other runner always takes a deep breath before they take their mark. Up until the gun they’re focusing on their breathing.

This helps the body and mind become more focused and present.

Nick Faldo talked about the importance of breathing during last year’s PGA Championship. Eventual champion Keegan Bradley hit a very poor first putt on the 10th green. At the time he was 2 shots behind.

That’s when Sir Nick dropped this nugget of wisdom for Keegan for Keegan.

Hide And Go Seek

Pressure is like your friend growing up who always found you when you played hide and go seek. No matter where you tried to hide, they found you.

Pressure will always be there. You have to accept it and do what you can to perform your best.

The last thing I want to you to do is hit poor shots because of pressure. Instead of spending time on the range, get out and play tourmanents to see how you react under pressure.

Being a range rat will only get you so far. It doesn’t prepare you like a tournament round would.

Even the Best Fold

A couple weeks back Jim Furyk collapsed and butchered the 18th hole at the WGC event.

There were a few things I chalked his collapse up to. But one of them was pressure.

Here’s what you can learn from that collapse.

Bottom line is you will fold under pressure from time to time. Every one does. Just focus hard on the positives and the times you excelled.

What Do You Think?

Is there any other athletes that you admire for how they handle pressure?


Jordan J. Caron is a former Canadian PGA Class A member who still wants to help golfers shoot better scores. He is also the President of Meaningful Marketing. In his downtime he likes to read, play squash and drink wine.

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