This week’s focus: Having nearly given up the game earlier this year, Darren Clark lifted the famous claret jug and won the Open Golf Championship on Sunday. The secret of Clark’s success was not a new swing or putting stroke, but a change of mindset. With the help of his manager and a sport’s psychologist Clark changed his self-talk from a limiting set of beliefs, that focused on the fact that he hadn’t won a tournament for years, to a focus on the fact that he’d won more than 20 tournaments and was a key player in the European Ryder Cup team. In other words, Clark started to believe – really believe – that he could win a major championship.

We all carry round a set of beliefs, but all too often we allow negative beliefs to take over and dictate how we perceive our abilities and ourselves. What are your beliefs and how do they affect your self-talk, and what more could you achieve if you were to adopt Darren Clark’s winning mentality?

Off the record: Lucky Man by The Verve

How many corners do I have to turn, how many times do I have to learn,

All the love I have is in my mind?

© Stuart Cross 2011. All rights reserved.