Pete Carroll’s Coaching Triangle: Confidence + Trust = Focus

Great coaches have a system for developing athletes and bringing out their best performance. Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll’s model is a 3-part triangle that is as applicable to clutch golf as it is clutch football: Confidence + Trust = Focus. In his Clutch Golfer Interview coach Carroll details how the model works and why it is so important for developing clutch players.

It starts with confidence. Confidence – which is the product of really good preparation – leads to Trust in your own ability, which in turn opens up doorways so that you can supremely Focus. And Focus is at the top of the triangle. As Coach Carroll says:

“When you can be supremely focused – and stay focused through the challenge of the moment – you have a chance to perform at your best. The longer you’re able to maintain your focus the longer you perform at a higher level.” And he should know: Carroll is one of only three coaches to have won both a Super Bowl and a College Football National Championship.

The foundation for Confidence in clutch situations is all the time and work you put in beforehand. It’s the preparation – well before you ever get to the clutch moment – that’s most important. Coach Carroll says:

“Preparation allows you to click into clear mode, let the distractions slip away, make a decision, and go for it. And once you go, you go.”

How does he prepare the Seahawks to be supremely focused in clutch situations?

They practice clutch situations. All the time.

They set up time frames and scores and then use them as teachable moments so that when it’s game-time they’ve done it hundreds of times, they’re comfortable, and they’re confident that they have not only a system but that they are going to have good results as well.

How can we apply the Seahawks clutch preparation to golf?

The answer is by practicing clutch golf situations. All the time.

There is a time and a place in your practice sessions for working on technique. But there should also be a time and place to simulate clutch situations. For learning how to be comfortable when you are uncomfortable. For learning how to think clearly and make good decisions. For developing Confidence. For developing Trust in your abilities. For learning to Focus only on what matters.

The next time you are at the range set aside time to imagine yourself in clutch situations. It could be a drive, an approach shot, a chip or a putt. Go through your entire routine as though thousands of spectators are watching and the TV cameras are rolling. Imagine the announcers speaking in hushed voices as you approach your shot.

Then do it.

Then pick a new shot and do it again.

Have some fun. Win the Masters or your club Championship or the Nassau with your buddies.

Then rinse and keep repeating.

Does that mean you’re going to be clutch every time?


But it’s not about winning or losing. It’s about the striving – the striving for excellence – that matters. Coach Carroll has a 3-step system for that too.

  1. Create a vision of what you want to become or what you want to do.
  2. Once you are really clear on the vision, break it down to the elements and principles.
  3. Then coach your way to the principles.

Keep coaching yourself to the principles. That is how you stay on point and that’s how you get better. Having a plan – and a plan about making decisions in particular – is what prepares you for the decisions you have to make under pressure. It allows you to think clearly, give yourself an opportunity to make a clear choice, and then as Coach Carroll Says “Be the epitome of poise in that moment.”

Listen to the Pete Carroll Clutch Interview at to learn more about how to work purposefully on your Confidence, Trust, and Focus so you can play at a higher level.

Use the system to manifest anything you want to envision.

Keep striving for excellence.

Be the epitome of poise.


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