Get off the Rollercoaster – Develop Focus and Clarity for Golf
If you are struggling to perform to your potential for any reason, be it the yips or choking or anything else, there are some fundamental mental principles that we should always keep in mind when searching for the answers to our problems.
The mind likes to take us on a rollercoaster of emotions. From joy to despair and back again.
Perhaps we should work on developing a balanced mind for our golf.
What other mental principles would it be good to remember in golf?
Whether you are a Touring Pro or an amatuer golfer, if your performance isn’t what it should be then there is probably a drop in your focus levels. Usually golfers of all abilities will look for technical fixes to swing problems. That’s understandable. It’s the most obvious place to look. It’s not always the right place to look though. Your mind is often the cause of lots of golf related problems but the same mind that got you into the trouble will always point away from itself to have you searching for answers in the wrong places.
Then mind doesn’t want to be tamed. It likes to stay in control. It wants you on the rollercoaster that I mentioned earlier. It likes to overthink. Over analyze. Worry. So it tells you that the problems lie in your swing mechanics, your set up, your playing partners or the conditions. In fact it wants you to look anywhere but at it. Sneaky huh?
If your mind is unable to remain concentrated and focused as you are carrying out any task then what will the result usually be? I’m not even talking about golf. If we can’t concentrate on what we are doing then we will make more mistakes and performance will drop.
So how about developing your ability to remain mentally balanced and focused?
The oldest winner of the USPGA Championship at 50 years of age, Phil Mickelson spoke with insight about his problems leading up to the tournament:
“I have a hard time keeping focused for a period of time. It’s a physiological thing. I’ve actually been meeting with a lot of people and trying to figure this out. I go through spells of three or four holes, like I did Thursday, Friday at Augusta, where I’ll throw five or six shots away in a four-hole stretch. I just kind of go mind-numb. My ability to regain focus has been the biggest challenge as I’ve gotten older.”
What Mickleson did, among other things, was to start meditating more regularly.
If, as you read this, your mind instinctively starts thinking ” what a load of nonsense this meditation stuff is” then remember what I said about the mind always pointing away from itself to look for solutions.
And the neuroscience backs up Mickleson and many other top professionals experience that this really helps them to focus better , to keep a balanced mind and to perform to their potential more often.
Meditation isn’t about sitting cross legged with incense burning and thinking of nothing.
It is simply this, you observing how jumpy and distracted that your mind is for most of the time.
This simple awareness creates a gap between you and your mind, which you can use to bring your attention back to the task at hand, playing the golf shot.
As Rory Mcilroy said a while ago, “Look, I’m not going to go and live with the monks for a couple of months in Nepal, but just to be able to get your mind in the right place and be able to focus and to centre yourself . . . it’s 10 minutes a day. It’s not as if I’m being consumed by it. But, definitely, it is something that has helped from time to time”.
Call it meditation or call it mind training, you will certainly get the benefits from doing it if you commit to doing it regularly.
What kind of benefits? As well as the many physiological benefits like feeling less stressed, reduced muscle tension, a better respiratory rate and so on, the mental benefits are that you can let go of unwanted ” sticky ” thoughts much more easily. Sticky thoughts like obsessing about the score, over analyzing your technique as you play and self criticism. Would being able to let go of these sticky thoughts have an impact on your game? I’m pretty sure it would. In fact, less thinking in general allows for a more peaceful round and with it a jump in performance.
I’d be so bold as to say that if you give this a try for 6 weeks then you will notice a difference in your performance. It’s free to do and costs nothing but time. So what’s stopping you?
If you’re struggling to play to your potential then perhaps you would like to have some one to one coaching with me. I can help you to commit and stick to developing a better mental approach and improve your performance so, drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me +447850229722 to find out how telephone coaching sessions or face to face sessions work.
Enjoy your golf.
I agree with everything you said, However my issue is with memory.
I can follow a regime for maybe a week or 2 but at some stage I’m going to forget until it comes to mind again which is most likely to be after months when I’ll have to learn it all over again.
Unfortunately live gets in the way and as an amateur Golfer it’s very difficult to dedicate the necessary commitment required.
I would like to meet with you in person when you were in the United States.