Q

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

Your TED Talk and your book fo­cus on power pos­ing. What do we need to know?

Peo­ple tend to think body lan­guage is about com­mu­ni­cat­ing with oth­ers, not with the self. Body lan­guage is re­ally about what your body is say­ing to you, not what you’re say­ing to other peo­ple. When you use your body to re­spond to sit­u­a­tions, es­pe­cially stress­ful sit­u­a­tions, in a pow­er­ful way, it be­comes self-re­in­forc­ing. I deal with this a lot in busi­ness set­tings, but elite ath­letes know it’s true. Sport-psy­chol­ogy stud­ies show that pos­ture in­flu­ences a per­son’s per­for­mance.

What does it look like to re­spond pow­er­fully?

Power is about tak­ing up space. The ul­ti­mate power pose is what gym­nasts do right be­fore their rou­tines, when their arms and heads go up. That pose is the uni­ver­sal sign of power and pride and vic­tory. I’m not say­ing you should be do­ing that on the golf course. Any­thing that takes up space will work. When you’re just stand­ing, make sure you have your feet set wide apart and your hands on your hips. When some­one else is hit­ting, don’t hunch over. Take up space.

It’s the same when you’re walk­ing be­tween shots. You can be pow­er­ful then, too. Ex­pan­sive move­ment is as im­por­tant as ex­pan­sive pos­ture. So take long strides when you walk, swing your arms. You want to move boldly and put some ver­ti­cal bounce in your step. Carry your­self with your shoul­ders back and down in­stead of slump­ing or pin­ning your arms down.

No mat­ter what shot you’ve just hit, try to keep your­self from tens­ing up.

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