Last August, the women’s U-18 team underwent a few days of modernization at the Real La Manga Club facilities to prepare for their participation in the Spanish FFAA Championship that was held from September 9 to 12 in Castellón. In these days, for the first time at the school, the experience of the sports psychologist Hernán del Castillo was counted.
Del Castillo collaborates with athletes at a particular level, such as Ángel Jiménez, an elite badminton player, or with teams, such as Real Murcia. Born in Argentina, but living in Molina de Segura for more than thirty years, Del Castillo currently has a handicap of 15 and knows this sport perfectly, so the Region’s Golf Federation has wanted to count on his collaboration to teach the U-18 players to manage the pressure produced by the environment and by themselves when facing a competition like the National.
«There is a generic job common to all sports and in general to any area of life, for example, knowing how to distinguish between one’s own goals and those of others, knowing what one is willing to do versus what is expected of the. Generating useful thoughts, based on past experiences, and having statistics on our performance can help regulate emotions. This emotional control seeks to positively influence variables such as concentration, decision-making, accepting mistakes, etc. “, explains Hernán del Castillo to La Opinion, adding that “on the other hand, golf is a peculiar sport in terms of how we understand the so-used ‘claw’, so serenity is essential and for this we have to learn to control the level of activation. In other disciplines, such as soccer, the aim is to increase the level of activation before going out on the field, in golf it is completely the opposite. This is the specific job, increase motivation and keep activation low.
Learning the routine prior to the shot and keeping it stable can improve the game drastically, if we think about it, the only certainty we can have on a field is our routine and how we stick to it in each shot. A ritual that helps us choose blow and stick well, look for sensations and execute calmly. “There are players who, before even seeing where the ball has landed, go out to look for it with the club they are going to use, without stopping to analyze the blow,” says Del Castillo, who does not have an office. He works playing golf with his clients while they practice the routines, they learn to manage the times, to celebrate the triumph and to assimilate the error as part of the game, and above all not to give up for having hit a bad ball: «Draw a new shot, sometimes we are too hard on ourselves, and that creates insecurities. As a psychologist, I invite you to encourage yourself, to talk to each other as if we were doing it with a sister or friend ”, he declares.
Del Castillo helps them to control the emotion through thought control and to flee from the fear that we sometimes feed back on ourselves, trying to decrease the pulsations and thinking about changing what we are doing wrong, identifying the problem and correcting it, as he himself assures us. “Not the emotion with all the thought, the thought with all the emotion,” he says, comparing teams that do not have psychological support to a lame table with a missing leg. Until recently, having this type of advice seemed a weakness, as if it was innate in the athlete to know how to control emotions and it was not necessary to educate that aspect of the player, but luckily for Murcian golf and for sports in general, this idea is has become obsolete.