You can hit golf balls until your hands are bloody. You can work on your technique until dawn. But you will only be able to access everything you learned if you are mentally prepared for your shots when it counts.
Being strong mentally doesn’t have to do much with physical talent. Every professional golfer and amateur can only play to their full ability by being mentally tough.
Basically everybody has to find their own way to gain access to the hightest level of concentration. This mental place where there’s no time, no goal and no swing thoughts – only calmness. If you are able to enter that place with every shot you are facing on the golf course you will play with more confidence uninterrupted by your surroundings.
Here are some suggestions you might want to integrate into your own routine:
This model might help you to prepare effectively for each shot. It starts with you approaching the ball and finishes with the golf swing. The whole process shouldn’t take longer than 15 to 20 seconds.
The idea is to get more and more focused with every step you take like moving down a funnel.
Step 1: Plan and Strategy – Think it Through
Think about the distance to the flag, your club selection, your strategy, the best landing zone for a short chip – this part of your routine helps you to prepare your mind for the upcomming task.
Step 2: Visualize – Picture the Shot as if it was Already the Real Thing
Ben Hogan got the nickname “the hawk” for a reason. He possessed fierce determination and an intense focus on his target. Every professional has some way of visualising his shot before stepping into the address position.
How good can you do it? Where will it land? How will it behave? Refine your detail of visualization with every shot you do. You must be fully convinced that you can make the shot without any doubt or fear – just you and your target.
Step 3: Feel the Shot – Connect to the Feeling of a Great Shot
Maybe you are doing some practice swings. Always have the intention that you are already hitting the ball. This will activate your cerebellum – the part of your brain that is responsible for the motor function of your body.
Step 4: Trust and Commit – let go
You’ve done all you can to prepare for your shot mentally. Now you’ve got to trust your unconscious to take over. Trust your body and your cerebellum. The less you intervene at this point the better will be your shot.
At the end of the funnel your are ready for your shot. If you are still thinking about a million things you’ve got to find your personal off-button. Here are some examples:
-Take a deep breath in. When you breath out you start your swing.
-Focus on a specific part on the golf ball. Maybe a single dimple you want to hit.
Practice your routine with your short game first. Once your feel confident in this area do the same for your long game. Never hit more than five balls in a row. You want your mind to be fresh and aware.
Here’s an example for an effective pre-shot routine:
- Start your path to maximum focus once you arrive at the ball.
- You are there to solve your task and for nobody else – egocentric and effective.
- Take your time for this part of your game – it’s essential for your succcess.
- If you are being distracted during your setup, stop and start from the beginning.
- Every thought that is not part of your concentration funnel counts as distraction.