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Doubts do not mean defeat

Written by Prof. Marc Jones

One of my favourite sporting quotes is from Nick Faldo recalling the 1996 Masters Golf Tournament. He recalls what he was saying to himself on the first tee in the final round when paired against Greg Norman.

“The wheels are going to come off every minute … No, no, no. Don’t you believe it. Just focus on what you have to do … What shot do you want to hit here? … I want to hit a solid drive, a touch of fade … Fine good that’s more like it … Now, where exactly do you want to land it? … left side of the fairway.”*

Of course this Masters tournament is famous for Greg Norman losing a six shot lead to Nick Faldo who eventually won. It paints a picture of nerveless Nick Faldo triumphing over someone struggling their emotions. Yet this quote is interesting because it shows Nick Faldo had doubts. It also shows how Nick Faldo combated those doubts by talking to himself. This is an example of how controlling his psychological state and remaining focused was an active process and Nick Faldo was able to keep his focus on what he had to do. In many situations positive self-talk can be useful tool to counteract doubts and keep focused on what we wish to achieve and maintain performance.

*Quote Source *Matthew Syed (The Times – 16th July, 2008, p.66).

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  • PhD, 1999 - Newman College of Higher Education, Birmingham (awarding Institution Coventry University)
  • BSc. Applied Psychology, 1994 - Cardiff University

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