Here is an article I wrote to submit to Zac in hopes of getting it posted on wrx. Let me know what you guys think.
Three keys to bringing your A game everytime you tee it up
Some days you have it, some days you don't. One Sunday you own the course, the next Sunday the course owns you. Golf is a fickle game. Players of all levels experience the same ups and downs. It doesn't matter whether you are trying to break 100, or trying to break par. Playing your best on a given day comes down to that infamous five inch space between your ears, where golf is truly
played. That is the most fundamental lesson Hogan ever gave us. Owning the space between your ears is key to having a good round every time you tee it up. Understanding how
to build a
strong mental game is the first step. We've all heard the plethora of 'Band-Aid" swing tips. But
without a clear understanding of the where your head should be, each round can feel like a craps
shoot. If you want to control your golf ball, you must first gain control of your mental game.
This is not as easy as it sounds. You have most likely spent years ingraining bad mental habits.
Try using these three keys to channel your focus in the right direction and start building
a strong mental game.
1. Give your central nervous system a clear instruction.
The central nervous system (CNS) is the processing center for the nervous system. This is where precise calculations are made and relayed to our muscles. The CNS can be given a task, then instantly work out how to complete that task without any conscious thought. When you throw a
piece of paper into a trash can the CNS automatically gives your arm the force and trajectory needed. There is no need to consciously think about how to do it. As a matter of fact, if you do think about it and TRY to do it you will probably miss. Conscious thought only gets in the way of our natural ability. When it comes to golf, the CNS needs to know what the objective is. The objective is not to hit the ball, or make a good swing. The objective is to send the ball to the target.
If the CNS is given an instruction to hit the ball, that is exactly what it will do. It will hit at the ball with very little concern as to where it goes. Now of course the club must hit the ball to send it to the target, but the intention is not to hit the ball. Hitting the ball is simply part of the process of sending it to the target.
A good way to practice this on the
range is to really try to hit a target. I don't mean pick a target and hit balls at it. I mean completely
forgetting mechanics as if you had never touched a club, and trying to hit the target. You have to want to hit it. As if a big bag of money depends on it. If you have a buddy with you try and see who can hit it first.If you do this for a few range sessions you will begin to feel the difference between true targetfocus and simply banging balls at a target. When you are truly connected to the target you willbe much more methodical and accurate. This leads us into #2.
2. Be target focused
I am always amazed at how many people I see on the range beating ball after ball, looking up
only to see where the ball went. They spend 90% of their range time staring down at their feet.
This is counter productive because it trains the brain to hit balls, not targets. Hitting a target with a golf ball is an incredibly difficult task. So how do we do it? In math terms, we want the set up, plus the swing, to equal the target. The set up and swing are the variables, the target is constant. In other words the equation should start at the target and work back to the ball, not viceversa. The CNS is capable of using the picture of the target to calculate and execute the swing needed. It can only do this if we keep our conscious mind out of the way. Trying to consciously put together a swing that sends the ball to your target is a game of pure luck. Allowing the CNS to use the target to apply your natural ability is much more effective. In other sports our eyes stay on the target. This makes target focus very easy and natural. You look at someone and throw them the ball. The CNS has no trouble doing that. It uses the picture your eyes give it for cues as to how to throw the ball. You don't have to think about how to draw your arm back or when to release the ball. In golf we must allow our CNS to remain spatially aware of the target, even though our eyes are on the ball. Training the brain to do this can be tricky.
Once again, always having a specific target at the range is key. And remember, you are not
hitting a ball with a club. You are hitting a target with a ball.
3. The through swing is more important than the back swing.
We have been bred to obsess over our back swings. Stay on plane, don't roll the wrists, take it
outside, take it inside. I see guys on the course frozen over the ball with smoke coming out of
their ears. I can see the gears turning as they try to remember how to make a back swing. This is
a problem. With our attention hyper-focused on the back swing, the CNS loses its main instruction. Focusing on the back swing throws it right out the window. We are then left stranded, without our natural ability to help us hit the shot. Of course it is necessary to take practice swings and be sure we are ready to hit a shot, but we should put more emphasis on our through swing. After all, that is the only part that matters. Just ask Jim Furyk. He is a true example that a good
through swing is all you need. If you have the correct intention, and your practice swing gives you the feel for the correct release, the back swing will take care of itself. This will keep your
focus in front of the ball and in the direction of the target.
Employ these keys when practicing and playing and your mental game will start moving in the right direction. You will begin to identify issues before a round goes completely down the drain. When your ball starts to behave badly, step back and check your intention. It is a game of getting a
ball from point A to point B. Sure having good mechanics makes it easier. But learning good
mechanics should be done in a way that allows you to remain on path to a strong mental game.
A player with a good mental game and questionable mechanics usually beats the player
with good mechanics and a questionable mental game.
Edited by thesponge, 15 November 2012 - 08:30 PM.