Patrick Reed: Mental Toughness at it's Best

Contributed by Tami Matheny - Founding Partner of Success for Teams, Owner at Refuse2Lose Coaching and author of "The Confident Athlete"

Patrick Reed may be the least loved Masters winner of all time but he has to be near the top for most mentally tough.  He seems to thrive on pressure; from being disliked.

Mental toughness is nothing more than what you focus on and Reed demonstrated that throughout his 4 day reign at Augusta National. When McIlroy received the bigger cheer walking up to the first tee for the final round, what did Reed focus on?  “Not only did it fuel my fire a little bit, but also, it just takes the pressure off of me and adds it back to him.” This reframe is a character trait of mentally tough individuals. They take whatever circumstance or event and turn it into something that fuels them. I like to tell athletes I work with that everything can fuel you or fail you, and you are the one that gets to decide which one by what you focus on.

During the final round, Reed had numerous opportunities to choke.  He gradually saw his 3 stroke lead evaporate yet each time it looked like he was on the edge of faltering, he came back with a tough shot or save. Athletes often change their focus when they lose a lead instead of getting back to what it was that got them to where they were. As Reed said, “…I just went out there and just tried to play golf the best I could and tried to stay in the moment and not worry about everything else.”  Choking happens when an athlete focuses too much on things that should be automatic. Mentally tough athletes learn to change their focus and it appears Reed was able to do just that.

Additionally, Reed was for all intensive purposes alone out there with just his caddie and himself while other golfers had the emotional support of the crowd. However, confident athletes learn to be their own best friend. All that matters when you are competing is what you think and if your thoughts are helping or hurting you. I’d guess the majority of Reed’s thoughts were framed to help him.

Whether you like Reed or not, you can definitely learn from him. Start changing what you focus on and watch you game improve. What you focus on grows.  #TheConfidentAthlete

For more tips on how to improve your confidence, check out “The Confident Athlete: 4 Easy Steps to Build and Maintain Confidence". It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.