I’ve never been a big Halloween person. I’ve never disliked it but I suppose I have always felt indifferent.

So, naturally, my toddler has fallen in love with all things Halloween.

Spiders, skeletons, witches, the whole thing. It also means we’ve been practicing saying “trick or treat” so we can go collect candy. Which, is interesting to think about, because I’m pretty sure she’ll only get treats. It would be pretty frowned upon to trick kids when they come to your door. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if the mental game of golf was only full of treats? Unfortunately, if you aren’t practicing your mental game, you’ll encounter far more tricks than you will treats. So let’s get thinking about the tricks and treats of the mental game. I’ll tell you some of the tricks that we all fall into…then we’ll look at some of the treats you can enjoy. 


  • Getting fixated on score and putting pressure on a shot to shift momentum. 
  • Getting distracted by your thoughts and what if’s. 
  • Negative self-talk that creates self-fulfilling prophecy
  • Falling in a gamblers mindset and taking riskier shots or poorer decisions after an unlucky shot. 
  • Deviating from your plan to try new things in pressure situations when old things aren’t working.
  • Forgetting that golf is fun and taking yourself too seriously. 


  • Pausing and returning to neutral after each shot, whether it was awful or wonderful. 
  • Enjoying the nature around you on the course to ground you to the current moment. 
  • Finding ways to laugh throughout the round to keep your body relaxed and not get too serious. 
  • Pushing away bad shots and re-imagining shots that have gone well in the past. 
  • Remembering what the data says so you can maintain a realistic perspective. 
  • Encouraging yourself and focusing on what’s going well instead of getting stuck in negativity. 

So pay attention during this festive time and if you find yourself stuck in the tricks, allow yourself to enjoy some treats.

Dr. Chelsi Day

Dr. Day is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is an Ohio native who completed her Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Health and Sport Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio while competing on the Varsity Swimming and Diving team as a diver. She then went on to earn a Master's degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology followed by a Master's degree and later a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH.