Golf is called a mental game because you need to manage your thoughts to play well. Internal or external distractions keep golfers from playing at their peak performance levels. Your mind is most alert and calm when you are focused on the present moment and not thinking about the past or the future which will result in performance anxiety.
In sports, concentration is more difficult because it is done under self-inflicted pressure. Pressure causes anxiety and anxiety is a distraction. Internal or external distractions keep golfers from playing at their peak performance levels. Anyone who is playing to their peak potential is perfectly focused.
Concentration is a mindset that you can develop as well as any professional. Lack of concentration/focus is due to many factors; including tension, being too involved with your score, correcting, finding or improving your swing, indecision, negative thinking, fear of missing a shot, fear of keeping a good round going, etc. The list is endless.
Concentration is not thinking. It is not an analytical process where you think about what is going on, what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future. When you are concentrating, the past and future thoughts disappear, and you are experiencing the process of creating your golf shot in the present. It happens when you focus your attention on one image, object, experience, or line of thought as it is taking place. Your pre-shot routine prepares you to concentrate in the moment.
Your pre-shot routine is the map that gives direction to your brain about the shot you are going to hit. For your results to be consistent, your routine prior to swinging must be the same every time. The more you are absorbed in your preparation for the shots, the less you are distracted. When you focus on executing your pre-shot routine precisely the same way every time, concentration/focus just happens. Then there is no worry, no anxiety and you are in total control with your mind and body entrained.
The ability to focus your mind is all-important in achieving a successful performance. For most people, concentration constantly shifts from outside of you between shots to inside yourself for the actual shot. Watching an engrossing movie, your attention is focused on the action. In the same way, planning a golf shot can be just as engrossing. Focus your full attention along with your full intention on what you want to happen. Stay committed to your mental and physical pre-shot routines. This will keep you calm, in control, and focused on hitting one shot at a time.
A mind that is busy, restless or indecisive will find it difficult to concentrate on one shot at a time. The first step toward improved concentration would be to quiet your mind. When it is your turn to hit, “turn on” your focus by going into your established pre-shot routine to keep your mind from wandering.
- Begin by taking deep abdominal breaths to relax and slow down your mind.
- Be decisive about the club you are going to use.
- Take practice swings to feel your tempo.
- Mentally rehearse the shot using positive images of past successful shots.
- Trust you will hit the shot that you have imagined in your mind.
As you approach your ball, begin to change your outer focus of attention to creating the shot you are about to hit by using your senses of feeling, visualization, and imagery. Imagine that you are wearing blinders and can only see and feel the execution of the upcoming shot.
Analyze the wind, yardage, type of shot, target and club selection. Be totally committed to the club and shot you have selected. Narrow your focus further by standing behind the ball, connecting clearly with the target, visualizing the flight of the ball to the target. Finish narrowing your focus by feeling the swing, either by swinging the club or mentally imagining it in your mind. If you have practiced your swing using a swing-thought or swing-cue, activate it to initiate your swing.
Concentration is the art of allowing yourself to become interested. Allow yourself to become enraptured with what you are doing.
“Discipline and concentration are a matter of being interested.” ~ Tom Kite
Play “in the zone” with Joan
Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances
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If you aren’t able to maintain trust and belief in yourself on the golf course, email Joan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 828.696.2547 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation about developing a new strategy. Learn what is missing in your golf game so you can achieve the success you desire.
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