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How to stay in the Zone - It can be done if you know how.

How to stay in the Zone – It can be done if you know how.

How to stay in the Zone – It can be done if you know how.

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

How to stay in the Zone – It can be done if you know how.

I use what is called a “Clear Key” in my teaching.  This simple mechanism helps my students understand that to play at their maximum potential on the course, they have to allow the body to perform without any conscious thought.  You have to learn motor skills as a beginner to perform the golf swing in a technically correct manner. But there comes a time when you need to allow the body to perform what it already knows without conscious thought.  Thinking swing mechanics while you play hinders that process.  Adam Young of Golfwrx explains in a little more detail how you can teach yourself to be a better player by getting out of your own way!

Most golfers work week in, week out on their swing techniques. They search for the perfect mechanics in the hope that, one day, things will fall into place and they will never miss a fairway again.

If you haven’t noticed already, this can’t and won’t happen. There are simply too many variables at play creating optimal performance — and one of the most overlooked areas is where you place your attention.

Example time

To understand this, I will use a relatable example. Imagine you are playing a round of golf, and you are going along pretty well. You are not really thinking of much, and the majority of shots are pretty decent. Then, out of the blue, you hit a stinker.

“YOU BENT YOUR LEFT ARM,” SHOUTS YOUR PLAYING PARTNER.

He’s a slightly lower-handicapper than you, so his expertise is obviously warranted (sarcasm). For the next few shots, you become highly aware of your left arm, and your game goes completely down the pan. What happened exactly? Your focus of attention changed.

Loci

While there are many subcategories of these, I will discuss five different types of attention that we could have. Each type of attention has been studied (motor learning science), and has been shown to have variable effects on both learning and performance.

Internal: An internal focus is one that deals with body parts.

  • Turn shoulders
  • Keep head still
  • Shift weight
  • Swing my hands to X

While the vast majority of studies show that these types of focus tend to decrease coordination, performance (and slow down learning), they can be of value when we desire a more direct technical change. So, at the right times, these can help to further our techniques — even if it is at the cost of our ability to coordinate movement fluidly.

Focusing on the body movement is more of an internal focus.
Focusing on the body movement is more of an internal focus.

External Process: 

The next type of focus is one that is outside of our body, but one which deals with the process of creating a good shot, or a task focus. More what to do thanhow to do it.

  • Making a divot in the right place
  • Striking the center of the club face
  • Creating a desired swing path/face angle

These focuses tend to be better at coordinating movement to a singular goal, which can dramatically improve shot performance. If a player is suffering from poor distance control, for example, an increased awareness/focus of ground strike quality can create dramatic improvements in results.

Just like focusing on picking up a glass of water (the task) as opposed to the hand/arm movement required), we can also focus on tasks such as divot position etc.
Just like focusing on picking up a glass of water (the task) as opposed to the hand/arm movement required, we can also focus on tasks such as divot position, etc.

These focuses tend to be better for handicap golfers and, in my experience, increase long-term skill development. In fact, world-renowned researcher Gabriel Wulf had this to say:

“Over the past 15 years, research on focus of attention has consistently demonstrated that an external focus (i.e., on the movement effect) enhances motor performance and learning relative to an internal focus (i.e., on body movements)”

To read the rest of the article on staying in the Zone, go here!

Source:  Adam Young   Golfwrx

Pictures: Golfwrx  pittaya

Thanks for reading – How to stay in the Zone – It can be done if you know how.

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Pay attention to your ball position to control your ball flight!

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