Do you remember being distracted from your shot preparation, telling yourself that it won’t bother you, and then missing the shot or putt because you lost focus? And then afterward telling yourself you should have backed off and started again? It is important to learn how to deal with distractions that interfere with your concentration.
“Distractions such as noises on the golf course are commonplace. It happened to me today. The men were talking loudly on their tee while I was teeing off on the forward tee.
There is also the distraction of your inner voice that brings up thoughts that are irrelevant to your golf game. Before I developed a consistent preshot routine, I would stand over a putt and think about what I was going to prepare for dinner or some other equally unrelated thought.
Using a repeatable preshot routine is a good way to focus your attention. An excellent step to add to your preshot routine is the D-line. Looking down the fairway at your target, draw an imaginary line between you and your golf ball. This is your decision line.
All thought and decisions about the execution of the shot are to be made before you cross this line and address the ball. You must be absolutely certain of where and how you are going to hit the ball when you cross the D-line. If you are distracted at any time after crossing this line, go back and begin your preshot routine again to refocus your mind.
Keep a mental scorecard with a pass/fail system or a one through ten system (with ten being the best and one the worst) and record your level of preparedness for every shot. You might be surprised how many shots you hit without being mentally ready. Bobby Jones said, “The most perfect swing in the world needs direction, and plenty of it, and when it’s possessor begins to do a little mental daisy picking, something always goes wrong.” If you have difficulty concentrating over the ball, it may be due to one of the following reasons.
- Mental fatigue can play a major role in losing concentration. Some of the signs of mental fatigue are impatience, increased frustration, disappointment with normal situations, less ability to visualize, and reduced motivation and enjoyment.
- Players who are too involved with correcting, finding, or improving their swing need to become more focused by using their skills of visualization, awareness of the target, tempo, feel, and touch. Negative attitudes about yourself and the way that you see the golf course can put you into a state of anxiety.
- If you are too tense physically and mentally, you may be too aware of things, such as perceived trouble and outside distractions. To perform optimally in your golf game and in your personal and professional lives, it is essential to be as relaxed as possible. Overstimulation results in stress and a decrease in the ability to concentrate and focus. People make more mistakes when they are tense and overstressed. Stress is like white noise that causes changes in our electrical system. On the golf course, use the relaxation technique of deep breathing to slow down your thinking process for greater concentration.”*
*Excerpts are from Chapter 15: Concentration; “THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances”
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