How Golf Can Help Your Mental Game at the Tables
Our Lynn Gilmartin sat down with well-known Aussie Coach Jamie Glazier who started his business Dare2Dream helping golfers on their mental game before finding that much of his teachings also apply to poker.
How does mental game strategy in poker correlate with that in golf?
Many reasons, having the result be out of your control is a big one. Poker players and golfers could do a lot right, but receive an undesirable result. Players that have a specific process they follow from the start to finish of every hand, or shot, and can stick with that process for a large percentage of the time, will end up playing the best quality poker/golf over a larger volume of hands/rounds. So the basic mental game fundamentals are almost exactly the same.
How can poker players benefit from learning how to play golf?
There are many reasons. The physical nature of golf can bring improvements to a person’s overall health. Being outside in a beautiful environment can have such a calming influence on a person, at times being the total opposite to the common work environment for a poker player.
To also perform well on the golf course, we teach the players to tap into their powerful right brain, which I think is another side of poker that players can learn to utilize. At times, poker is played too much on mathematics and not enough on instincts, especially in a live arena.
What are some of the most common mental game weaknesses you've found in poker players that you've been able to successfully tackle on the golf course?
Emotional control, and focus management. In the game of golf, being able to process the shot in an empowering manner in the five to seven seconds after they hit a shot is key to maintaining an optimum emotional state.
The same goes for poker! A player must learn to build a specific routine or process after each hand to help them to learn from what happened, as well as be able to move onto the next hand with a clear and calm mind. This is even more of a key for poker as the time you have to reset for the next hand is extremely short.
In regards to focus management, in both games there is a lot of time in between playing hands, this is the time a player needs to learn how to manage their focus levels so that they can have a good level of focus left for the last few levels of play, or day five, six, or seven of the Main Event where focus management becomes extremely important and profitable.
Do you also think golfers can benefit from learning how to play poker?
Absolutely! The calculative nature of poker will help a golfer take more time, and analyze a situation before they react. I also believe that poker can be a great way for golfers to improve their emotional control as well as become more focused on their process and decisions, as that is all they have total control over in poker.
How exactly do you work with players in both settings?
As humans, we all have our own dominant way of learning, once I gain the information and knowledge of what that person's learning style is, I deliver all of my content and information in a way that will help them understand what I am saying. This will ensure a faster development and in turn be able to achieve results in a shorter period of time.
When working with a poker player on a golf course, as I’m giving them advice on their golf game, I directly relate it back to poker and how they can begin to look at themselves as poker player's, in a slightly different way.
The games are so similar, but when a player is so involved in their own game, at times there vision is clouded. Working with a player in a different game, makes it easier for me to point out aspects of the mental game, as they don’t have anywhere near as much emotional attachment, which create the ability for them to see things with a clearer mind. This is when we can then relate things back to poker and start to really achieve some progress.
Lynn also sat down with Jamie to discuss multiple personality disorder in poker...
*Image courtesy of PokerStars Blog.