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Tiger's Coach Talks Philosophy and Fear

Golf coach Sean Foley is the sport's most progressive thinker.

But as an athlete, is it important to go into competition fully confident, expecting to win?

Expectations are poison. Say I play a golf tournament this week and I expect to win it, right? That means that all the external factors and variables that go into my score, that I don’t have control over, have to go my way. If I expect to win and I win, then cool—I accomplished my goal. If I don’t, it’s so much more painful. To an extent, positive thinking can be just as harmful as negative thinking. Believe me, there have been plenty of athletes who’ve succeeded and excelled, even won gold medals, when they were totally not confident in themselves.

How do you take that next step in performance and gain control over your fear?

No resistance. Realize that when you’re on the golf course, on the basketball court, or in the gym, you’re starting to hear all those demons in your head; just realize that they’re only arbitrary thoughts that are driven from your state. They don’t even mean anything. They’re just a function of your mood.

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