Are you a responder or a reactor?

With winter around the corner, mind coach Karl Morris asks pros what they will be doing to ensure members still feel a connection to their club and explains the difference between a responder and a reactor.

When I am working with individual players to see what they can achieve in the game I am always keen to establish if they are responders or reactors. This will often be the key difference that either makes them or breaks them as a player.

Karl MorrisA reactor is always at the mercy of what the world throws at them. If the course is to his or her liking, the weather is suitable and their playing partners are decent folk then all can be set fair for a good score or a good tournament. We also need to add to the mix that they often have to feel that they have their ‘A’ game with them at the moment. If any of the above combinations are not present they will tend to react, and react with emotion because the world isn’t bending to their particular wishes and whims on that given day.

As the world and the game of golf are often decidedly unfair you can imagine how much of a challenge our reactor can be to work with. The events going on outside of him tend to always control what is going on inside. He often, in his own opinion, doesn’t ‘deserve’ to have missed the cut, he doesn’t ‘deserve’ to lose his tour card. This player will remain at the mercy of his ever changing moods and will never become the player they are capable of unless they make a decision to become a responder. The respond–reactor continuum is obviously not a fixed entity and we can all decide at some point to move ourselves in the direction of being a responder.

A responder tends to take action and do things as opposed to thinking about what to do and questioning why the world is such an unfair place. Often I will listen to a player tell me about all of his woes and then I will simply say, ‘Ok I know it has been a disappointment but what are you going to do about it? What actions are you going to take?’

A responder takes the inevitable ups and downs, the inherent unfairness of the game and gets on with the task at hand and aims to make the best out of any situation. It doesn’t mean he isn’t disappointed and at times angry, but a responder takes effective action. I have also seen in recent years an awful lot of reactors in terms of the golf industry. Things are not like they used to be. Times are hard. Participation is down. There is less money about. Yes, all of those things are true, but what are you going to do about it?

Winter is almost upon us and as much as my own internal reactor hates the cold and the wet I often need to remind myself of the react and respond mantra I give to the players. What could you do this winter? What could you put on at the club that is different? What could be possible indoors or on the range?

I know of one pro who formed his ‘Inner Circle’ of keen players. To be part of the inner circle you had to commit to a winter program of improvement. The group got together once a fortnight and talked about what they had been doing. Golf fitness, range work, technical work that was needed on the swing. The group dynamic was strong, if nothing else it was a social meeting over the long winter. The golf pro organized one of my Mind Factor evenings to help his players look at improving their mental game and approach. The clubhouse was busy on what would have otherwise been a dead winter’s night. Other sports do this far more effectively than golf; there are running clubs that don’t just run in good weather, cycle clubs, five-a-side leagues and so on.

People like to feel part of a group but it takes a responder to get the group going in the first place. A responder sets out a plan of what to do. A reactor will sit there in the winter moaning about the weather, the lack of customers and how bad things are again. He will wait for things to ‘pick up’. To be a responder is to make the decision to get to the front of the bus and to get hold of the wheel and drive your life in the direction you want. The reactor is sat on the back seat covering his face with his hands when the road gets bumpy. The road will be bumpy and sometimes the bus will even break down, but until we take our last breath there is always something we can do. Are you a reactor or a responder?

Contact Karl Morris to host a Mind Factor evening at YOUR club. Create a buzz around the club and get your members excited about what could be possible. www.themindfactor.com