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Posts Tagged ‘golfstateofmind.com’

Is part of your game missing - What about Post Round Routine?

The most important part of your pre-shot routine – Alignment!

 
The most important part of your pre-shot routine – Alignment!
 
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!
 
Pre-Shot Routine is something I teach constantly.  Both on the range and on the course.  You want to “practice the way you play” and “play the way you practice.”  This means that your pre-shot routine should be exactly the same on the range (yes, with each shot that you hit) as it is on the course.  Here, David MacKenzie of Golf State of Mind goes through 5 important points to help you with the alignment part of your pre-shot routine!
 
The most important part of your pre-shot routine - Alignment!

Alignment: The Most Important Part of Your Set-up

It’s hard to say that any of the fundamentals are more important than another, as all should be continually perfected, but if there’s one that causes more off-line golf shots, then alignment clearly stands out. Once you’ve learned the correct, grip, posture, ball position and stance, it’s not that hard to maintain them and during most shots they will fall into place. But alignment is one that has a tendency to waiver.

The importance of alignment in golf

Without proper alignment, your body receives mixed signals from your brain, with regards to your body position and your intended target. If your eyes are looking towards the target but your body and clubface are actually aligned to the right or left of it, you’ll need to make adjustments in your swing, which affects its plane and path. This could result in any number of problems. E.g. If your body is aimed to the left of your intended target line, then without intentionally doing so you’ll swing across the proper swing path (out to in) resulting in a pull or slice.

One degree can mean a miss of 15 yards

To put alignment in perspective, if the clubface is even a degree open or closed to the intended ball to target line at impact, it can cause a miss of 10-15 yards or more (which equates to several shots lost per round).

Alignment requires practice just like everything else

It’s important to realize that good alignment takes practice, in the same way you practice your swing. If you get to go to a Professional tournament, you’ll see most of the players working with alignment sticks on the range to make sure it’s spot on. But at any time on the local range, you’ll only see a few doing the same.

So what the best way to make sure your alignment with your intended target?

It’s important to mention here that your body (shoulders, hips, knees and feet) need to be aligned parallel left of the ball to target line, like a train track, with the right rail being the ball to target line and the left rail being the alignment of your body (for the right handed player, like Luke Donald above).

To read the 5 important parts of getting your alignment correct every time, go here!

Source: David MacKenzie   Golf State of Mind

Pictures: brent flanders   Golf State of Mind

Thanks for reading – The most important part of your pre-shot routine – Alignment!

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A Great Short Game leads to Strong Mental Toughness!

A Great Short Game leads to Strong Mental Toughness!

 
A Great Short Game leads to Strong Mental Toughness!
 
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!
 
David MacKenzie is one of the leading game enhancement teachers globally, with top PGA and LPGA players as clients. But, as David says, you must have a great short game to develop mental toughness.  Here David provides 4 terrific short game drills to improve your feel, build your confidence, and gain that mental toughness you’ve only seen on TV!
 
A Great Short Game leads to Strong Mental Toughness!

Victor Dubuisson – Golden Hands (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

 

4 Awesome Short Game Practice Drills

Try these drills (used by Tour players) to start honing your short game and making more up and downs this season.

1. One club, Two distances

In order to become a genius from 100 yards and in (the scoring zone), you need to develop your feel.

. A great way to practice feel is to hit the same club several distances (you can try this with your long game too). With this drill the aim is to make it instinctive how far the pin is away from you (from within 100 yards), something you’ll need to do to get to low single figures.

  1. Start at 125 yards and hit one ball to the target
  2. Then move to 115 and use the same club to hit to that same target
  3. Continue to move to 105 and change to whatever club you hit from this distance
  4. Then Move to to 95 and hit the same club as you did from 105
  5. Move to 85 and hit whatever club you would from this distance
  6. Finish by hitting your 85 yard club from the 75 yard position.

So…you’ll have played from 6 distances and used your 3 wedges twice each, to 2 different distances.

Some players choke down on the club and change their ball position for distance control and others use swing length and tempo. Experiment with both and see what works for you. You can also repeat this drill and create more distances by using 5 yard increments.

2. Real Short Game Practice

One of the first things I talk to amateurs about when I take on a new student is how they practice. More often than not, a fundamental change is necessary. I try to instill the “practice as you play” philosophy. What this means is that you simulate the golf course as much as you can.

One great short game drill is to take 20 balls and drop them around the practice green from different lies and positions. For each shot, you go through your routine just as you would on the golf course and imagine you are playing in a competition on whatever golf course you normally play (or perhaps where your next competition may be). If the ball comes to rest outside of gimme range (2ft), go through your pre-putt routine, just as you would on the course or in a competition and try to hole the putt.

When you’ve made the up and down, move onto the next ball until you’ve holed all 20. This exercise might take 40-50 minutes to perform, but it makes practice very meaningful.

What this does is:

  • Practice your routine – getting your process the same and focusing on it should be consistent no matter what the shot or situation
  • Work on your imagination and visualization
  • Simulate pressure while you practice
  • Makes practice fun, playing from different lies and trying different shots
  • Gives every shot a purpose, instead of being just another practice ball

To see the other 2 great Short Game Practice Drills, go here!

Source: David MacKenzie  Golf State of Mind

Pictures: Getty Images.

Thanks for reading – A Great Short Game leads to Strong Mental Toughness!

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The most important part of your pre-shot routine – Alignment!

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Can being aware of your body language improve your golf?

Can being aware of your body language improve your golf?

Can being aware of your body language improve your golf?
 
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!

Do you notice that confident people have confident body language?  

Look at the quarterback on a football field.  He demands attention!  Look at Pele or Messi on a football field. They know they are good.  And I remember someone saying of Jack Nicklaus, “He knows he can beat you.  You know he can beat you.  And he knows that you know that he can beat you!”  THAT is confidence.
 
But can you project that confidence even if you don’t have it?  Absolutely.  Particularly in the animal kingdom, smaller animals will show some sort of bravado in front of a larger animal to hopefully scare that animal away.  So the next time you get out of your car at the club, right from that moment, start posing as if you were Jordan Spieth arriving, looking around and saying, “I wonder who’s going to be second today?”  Watch the video below with Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy and see just how important this subject is, not only for your golf but for your entire life!
 
Thanks to David MacKenzie of GolfStateofMind.com for this interesting and game-changing article!
 

How To Improve Your Golf Game in 2 Mins Per Day

If you watch anyone at the top of their field, whether it be sports, business or politics, you’ll notice they have very strong body language. And it’s probably more intentional than you think…

Can being aware of your body language improve your golf?

Why does body language matter?Amy Cuddy, Social psychologist and researcher at Harvard Business School gave a Ted Talk about “How Body Language Shapes Who You Are” and it’s been the most viewed Ted Talk (over 8 million views) on YouTube. I’ve included a link to it at the end of the article.

Cuddy explains that our body language not only affects how people see us, but it also affects how our mindsperceive us.

Studies (at Harvard) have shown that your posture affects your hormone levels, which can have a direct affect on your mood. When we’re stressed and anxious, we have more of a hormone called Cortisol in our bodies and when we’re feeling confident and assertive, we have higher levels of Testosterone.

To read the rest of this interesting article, go here!

Source: GolfStateofMind.com     David MacKenzie

Video: TED

Thanks for watching – Can being aware of your body language improve your golf?

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What you need to Improve your golf is Deliberate Practice!

What you need to Improve your golf is Deliberate Practice!

What you need to Improve your golf is Deliberate Practice!

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!

I have often heard the saying, “Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent.  

Only perfect practice makes perfect!” David MacKenzie of Golf State of Mind and guest contributor Matthew Cooke take that one step further to “Only Deliberate practice makes perfect!”  This “deliberate practice” is being used in several sports with huge success, time for you to try it in your game!

What you need to Improve your golf  is Deliberate Practice!

What is “Deliberate Practice”?

This is a guest post by coach, Matthew Cooke.

The term ‘Deliberate Practice’ has been widely used since being popularized by the great writer Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers”.

In this book he introduces us to “the 10,000-hour rule”, a concept that is believed to have come from a 1993 research paper written by Dr. Anders Ericsson, Cognitive Faculty Director at Florida State University, called “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance”.

Mr Gladwell has created a perception that expert performance is achievable after 10,000 hours of practice, which I believe to be untrue.

The magic 10,000 hour number was never actually mentioned by Dr. K Anders Ericsson. It is Mr Gladwell’s incorrect interpretation of the research paper. The acquisition of expert performance is different for everybody in every domain you could think of. What Dr. Ericsson and his team of researchers did discover, is that expertise and expert performance came to those who had spent more than 10,000 hours engaged in deliberate practice, which usually took around 10 years. Some domains took 9 thousand, some domains took 11 thousand etc.

So what is it, for us folk that don’t eat research papers, journal studies and spend 15 hours a day on Ted Talk’s YouTube channel?

Deliberate practice for golf

“Deliberate practice for golf is the amount of Game-Like repetitions a player gets during practice.” – Matthew Cooke

My reincarnation of Dr. K Anders Ericsson’s pioneering work runs right in line with his original.

Which is:

“Deliberate practice is the engagement with full concentration in a training activity designed to improve a particular aspect of performance with immediate feedback, opportunities for gradual refinement by repetition and problem solving.”

Clear, concise and relatively easy to understand. Let’s go through it step by step. First off we’ll go into how to make it “Game like”.

“Game like” training for golf

It doesn’t matter what level golfer you are. I will categorize three very distinct levels that are hard to argue with (us golf coaches like to do that, argue): beginner, intermediate and advanced. Decipher the numerical value in your own time as it’s all relative. First we mustrecreate, then we must simulate and finally we regulate, which gives us opportunities tochunk. These are the principles to follow. There are differences in the specific design of practice tasks, but all are in bold!

How can a beginner have the same principles that an advanced golfer has? Here is how:

To see how Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced golfers can benefit from Deliberate practice, go here!

Source: David MacKenzie   Golf State of Mind   Matthew Cooke

Pictures:  dnkbdotcom

Thanks for reading – What you need to Improve your golf is Deliberate Practice!

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How his Pre-Shot Routine improved Brandt Snedeker's putting!

How his Pre-Shot Routine improved Brandt Snedeker’s putting!

How his Pre-Shot Routine improved Brandt Snedeker’s putting!
 
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!
 
A Pre-Shot routine in golf helps in 3 ways.  One, it sets the body into a consistent rhythm just before you hit the shot.  Two, it allows you to gather all thoughts relative to the shot at hand, and three, it removes all other distractions so you can execute the shot without any negative thoughts or feelings that might influence the shot.  Watch a tennis player before they serve.  They bounce the ball a certain number of times, throw the ball overhead, and serve.  This bouncing of the ball helps them focus and get into a good rhythm before the serve.
David MacKenzie of Golf State of Mind reveals the pre-shot routine of Brandt Snedeker and how he used it to improve his putting.
 
How his Pre-Shot Routine improved Brandt Snedeker's putting!
 

Brandt Snedeker’s Killer Pre-putt Routine

If you watched The Sony Open last week, you will have no doubt seen the quality of Brandt Snedeker’s putting.

For me, as mental game coach, a major factor in the strength of his putting is how deliberate and consistent his pre-putt routine is.

Why is the pre-putt routine so important?

Where you put your focus before a putt (or any shot for that matter) has a big influence on the fluidity of the stroke. If you’re not following a proper sequence, your mind can wander onto things such as the importance of the outcome and the technical aspects of your stroke. Any doubt or hesitation about the line, how good your stroke is, or what making or missing means, makes for a tentative and inconsistent stroke, and inconsistent results.

Putting is about feel and trust; the more you can take conscious thinking out of it and just use your eyes and trust yourself to hit the ball the correct distance, the better. It needs to be “reactive”, not “proactive” when you are over the ball. Clearly your conscious mind is active when making decisions about the line and speed, but once that is decided upon, the best thing you can do is put faith in your process and trust your stroke.

To find YOUR optimal pre-putt routine, go here!

Source: Golf State of Mind

Photo by Keith Allison    Shannon McGee

Thanks for reading – How his Pre-Shot Routine improved Brandt Snedeker’s putting!

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Do you putt to a spot or do you see a line – Both have merits!

Do you putt to a spot or do you see a line – Both have merits!

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!

Do you putt to a spot or do you see a line

 

I have used several of David MacKenzie’s articles on mental golf coaching.  

Why?  Because I think he has some interesting and valuable things to say about improving your mental toughness, course management, and visualization.  This article will definitely help you improve your putting whether you putt it to a spot (like me) or someone who sees a line and tries to putt the ball along that line. Check out his website at golfstateofmind.com.

Curves vs Straight Lines

Whenever I discuss pre-putt visualization with a new student, they will always have one of two responses.

There are those that see putts in curves (unless it’s a dead straight putt) and there are those that visualize all putts as straight, no matter how much break there is. Neither method is proven to be more effective than the other, but it’s important to think about how you visualize on the greens and here’s why.

Those players who say they see puts in curves are saying that they imagine a line (or curve) on the green that the ball would have to track to get to the hole (like in the image above).

Left vs Right Brain Dominance in Golf

Players who see shots in curves, use more of their right brain than their left brain in the targeting process. In other words, they are more “right brain dominant”.

The right side of the brain uses imagery, more than it does verbal and technical instruction while performing a task.

People who are right brain dominant are generally more artistic, creative and intuitive and need to see visualize concepts to understand them.

However, the other group of players, those who see all putts as straight, are more “left brain dominant”.

The left half of the brain is more logical, analytical, and uses more verbal instruction to explain things.

For left brain dominant players, it’s much cleaner and easier to see putts as straight lines, than it is curves. It makes it more precise, like a architectural drawing vs an artist’s sketch.

For these players, instead of seeing a curved line the ball will take to the hole, they see a different target, or “spot” (an imaginary hole), which is in a straight line from the ball (as in the image above).

A spot putter would putt as if to get the ball to come to rest at that spot (imagining every putt as flat and straight), but let gravity (the slope of the green) take it towards the hole.

 

spotvsCurve2

To read the rest of this informative article to improve your putting, go here!

Source: Golf State of Mind.

Pictures: pierpeter   Golf State of Mind.

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You cannot control the outcome - but you can control the process!

You cannot control the outcome – but you can control the process!

You cannot control the outcome – but you can control the process!

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!

There is a reason I use a lot of David MacKenzie’s articles in my posts.  

Because they are good and will help your game!  David is a world leader when it comes to the mental side of golf, and if you have not bought his course and you are serious about getting better, I suggest you do!

Thanks to David MacKenzie of golfstateofmind.com for this enlightening article on helping eliminate those mental mistakes that can certainly be avoided! Remember, do not try and control the outcome.  Just go through the routine.  The rest will take care of itself!

A lot of golfers lose way too many shots to poor mental decisions.  Not knowing how to systematically approach each shot and control their emotions to maintain confidence.

This lesson will show you the 5 most common mental game mistakes that most golfers make and how to eliminate them.

1. Use your subconscious mind, not your conscious mind, while swinging

Any thoughts about your swing on the golf course is counter-productive to a good score.  Whether it be in between shots or during your swing.

Trusting what you have is far more important than trying to correct something or forcing a movement while swinging. Trying to consciously control your body during any action makes the task more difficult.

Think about if you drove your car while consciously thinking about what your body is doing.  (“foot on brake, now accelerator…”) – you’d probably get into a crash! Instead you simply trust your ability as a driver.

Thinking about your swing while playing creates tension, which interferes with the free-flow of a good swing.

It’s fine to think about it on the driving range when you’re practicing a new movement you’ve learnt in your lessons.  But on the course, your conscious mind has to be quiet during your swing to play your best.

Swing thoughts usually creep in during a round when a few wayward shots are hit.  And subsequently the golfer analyses the swing and attempts to correct the problem. A lot of these off line shots are simply caused by tension, which increases with the more control over the swing the golfer attempts to have. There’s a saying that In golf, You need to give up control to gain control and I strongly believe that to be true.

Instead of being focused on the body’s movements, we need to be connected with the objective.  To hit the ball to a specific target with a visualized shot shape, and then use your subconscious mind only to control the movement required to (hopefully) turn that image into reality.

If this doesn’t work for you initially, you can try saying the words “one-two-three” – “one” for the back-swing, “two” for the down-swing and “three” for the follow-through. This should help keep your conscious mind occupied, so it doesn’t try to control your swing.

You cannot control the outcome – but you can control the process!

2. Don’t think about the score (unless you really have to)

Unless you’re in a situation where you need to know your score for strategy, like during the closing holes of a tournament, it’s best to forget about it. Some of the best rounds in history have been shot while the player didn’t know what his/her score was.

You’ll find that when you play your best, it’s like you don’t care about your overall performance and you don’t judge it, you’re just enjoying playing the game and hitting good golf shots. This is the mentality we need during every round. Score is something that is external and out of your control. Tying your performance to it can create a roller-coaster of emotions. If score is your absolute goal of the game, how are you going to feel when you score an 8 on one hole? Will it dent your ego and ruin your round? If you can shift your goal for each round from score to executing a good process and just enjoying the game no matter what, you will score better. Your focus has to shifted from outcome to process to play your best.

3. Make process your goal, NOT the outcome

The shot routine, or process, (which includes the pre-shot and post shot routine), is an absolute must if you want to play your best golf. It keeps your conscious mind occupied before a shot by thinking about the things that are going to most effectively influence the outcome. The idea of the routine is to give you the best preparation to allow your subconscious can play the golf shot, without conscious interference.

If you don’t have a strong routine (that’s personal to you) you are simply throwing away shots. All the necessary thinking required can be done easily in the time allowed. This one ties in nicely with Mistake #2. By focusing on how well you execute your process instead of how well you score, you’re focusing on something that is certain and under your control, rather than uncertain, which will make you feel a lot more confident and good scores are more likely to follow.

To read the rest of David’s article and improve your game, go here!

If you’d like to develop a perfect process, check out my Mental Game Training Program.

Source: Golf State of Mind

Pictures: Dean Shareski  Mel Sole Golf School

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Have a good putting stroke but don't putt well - Read this!

Have a good putting stroke but don’t putt well – Read this!

Have a good putting stroke but don’t putt well – Read this!

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!

David MacKenzie is one of the most respected sports performance specialists in the world.  

He has worked with top PGA and LPGA players and top amateurs.  Putting is part of the game that can be improved by all golfers.  As we all know, having a good putting stroke is only half the battle! Getting into the right mindset is what really enhances performance!  It always seems that if you are putting well, the rest of your game improves because of the confidence gained in scoring well.  Controlling what you can (pre-shot routine) and try not to control what you cannot (outcome) is my takeaway from this article.  Read on.

Have a good putting stroke but don't putt well - Read this!

Build a ‘Look and Shoot’ mentality on the greens!

Do you ever stand over a must-make 5 ft putt and get totally overwhelmed by the situation?

Do you lose confidence and make a jerky, stab at the ball instead of your normal free-flowing stroke?

Physically speaking, a 5 footer is a 5 footer, whether it’s in practice or in competition.

But for you, at that moment, it’s the difference between success and failure.

The hole seems a lot smaller.

Your previously quiet mind is over-run with the noise of what making that putt will mean for you in the future.

Tension creeps into your grip without you knowing it.

Your tempo gets quicker, and…before you know it…you’ve blown it :-(

Why does pressure affect the putting stroke?

Golfers that reach the top level have holed thousands of putts under pressure. They don’t get to this level because they are born mentally tougher than you or I, instead they’ve learned the proper mental techniques to allow them to access their natural stroke, even under the highest pressure.

The difference between your stroke when making a 5 footer in practice and a 5 footer to win the club championship is to do with:

  • The amount of conscious-mind interference before and during the stroke
  • The build-up of physical tension before making the stroke

There are a couple of good techniques to counter this and have you putt more freely when the pressure is on:

To see the rest of David’s article, go here!

Source : Golf State of Mind

Pictures: Brandon Andersen   Ian Thomas

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The 3 Steps to a good golf shot - Feel it, See it, Hit it!

The 3 Steps to a good golf shot – Feel it, See it, Hit it!

The 3 Steps to a good golf shot – Feel it, See it, Hit it!

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!

If you cannot see it, how can you hit it?  

This is a question I ask my students daily.  These days we constantly hear Tiger Woods talk about “The Process,”  and he’s right.  If you do not have a process or “Pre-Shot” routine, you have very little chance of hitting a good golf shot.  Your Pre-Shot routine should include practice swings to tell the body what you are trying to do, visualization, so your mind can clearly understand what you are about to ask your body to do, and finally, a way to completely “clear” the mind of all swing thoughts and just let the body produce what you have just visualized.  At the Mel Sole Golf School, we teach our students what we call a “clear key” to achieve that!

One of the leading sports performance trainers, David MacKenzie, gives us his experience on how important visualization really is!

 

The 3 Steps to a good golf shot – Feel it, See it, Hit it!

“Visualization is the most powerful thing we have.” Nick Faldo.

The Golf State of Mind coaching philosophy is about using everything you have to get the most out of every performance. Visualization is one of those things that doesn’t require any physical skill to learn, but as Nick Faldo says, it’s the most powerful thing you have.

Why visualize?

The world’s best athletes use the practice of visualizing a great performance before the action for a very good reason – it works!

Visualization has been proven to:

  • stimulate the muscles necessary to perform an action
  • program the mind and muscles prior to playing to increase confidence
  • control pre-round nerves and relax the body and mind
  • re-frame from negative to positive outcomes
  • Help with swing changes
  • Help recovery from injury
  • Improve concentration

The science of visualization for golf.

Movement is initiated by the brain. When you want to perform a physical action, the best way to do it is to first feed the brain a picture of that action and the desired outcome of that action.

The brain doesn’t know the difference between a real and imagined action (the sensory input into the brain is the same). So, when you visualize a physical action, you’re actually stimulating the same muscles that you would use to perform the real action.

Sports scientists call this “Functional Equivalence.”

A study was done by Sports psychologist, Richard Suinn, which involved skiers being monitored by an EMG machine (a machine that detects muscle activity) while imagining skiing down a slope. The results showed that even though the skiers weren’t moving, the exact same muscles they would have used during a downhill ski were activated.

The 3 Steps to a good golf shot – Feel it, See it, Hit it!

So when you simply think about a physical action you are essentially, getting those muscles you need, ready for action.

In golf, if you don’t have a clear picture of the shot you’re about to hit, you’re quite simply wasting a valuable opportunity to prepare the brain to activate the exact muscles required to execute it. To access those muscles, the brains uses specific “neural” pathways to send impulses to those specific muscles. When you’re visualizing, you’re telling the brain which pathways it needs to use.

Visualization before a golf shot.

I’m going to assume you have a good course strategy and you’ve picked the best target for your shot. But how will the ball get there? What does a good shot look like?

Here’s where your visualization comes in…

2 ways to visualize a golf shot.

To visualize a shot, you need to get a clear picture of the path the ball will travel to reach the target. Is it a fade or a draw? Low or high? How will it bounce when it lands? Make the picture as vivid as you can. If you’ve seen the Shot Tracker technology they use to show the shape of a shot on the PGA TOUR TV coverage, that’s what you’re looking for. This type of visualization is called “outcome visualization”.

The other way to visualize is to actually see yourself hitting the shot (with the flight of the ball too). This is the one I prefer as you actually get a look at the swing you need to make, which will help you repeat that movement. This type of visualization is called “Process Visualization”.

You might have heard Jack Nicklaus’ famous quote of imagining himself hitting the shot during his pre-shot routine. He describes having a very vivid image, like it was a color movie.

One way to do this is with a virtual “image reel.”

After Jordan Spieth’s win at Augusta this year, his coach talked about the image reel they’d been working on showing Jordan’s best shots, which he could recall during play. Imaging past successful shots is actually easier than imagining new shots as you already have them in your memory. This would not only help him move his body in the same way, but seeing that past success also helps evoke a positive mood. This is why it’s a good idea to keep a “mental game journal” of your best shots.

When your focus is on an image of your desired outcome, and you can keep that focus on that image (even when you’re over the ball), your focus is on something external. Golf is a hard game because you are not looking at the target when you hit the ball. When you throw a basketball you have the information of where the target is relation to you as you perform the action.

Your focus is on the target as you throw the ball, not on your body, making it a lot easier.

This is called “external focus”. When your focus in on what your body has to do to hit the target, it’s called “internal focus” and it makes the game a lot harder. Your movement is not as fluid and free-flowing and it leads to more inconsistencies in your swing. When you have your focus on the external surroundings, you’re a lot more committed and assertive with the action.

In golf, the best way to achieve this “external” focus and make sure you don’t have technical thoughts.  Use visualization and try to imprint an image of the target in your mind.  So you can see it when you’re not looking at it.

Tiger Woods used to say that he could still see the target when he is looking at the ball. Nick Price said he felt like he had a camera looking out of his left ear.  This allowed him to see the target in his mind as he looked at the ball.

Read more about how to improve your visualization skills on the course here!

Source: David Mackenzie   Golf State of Mind

Pictures: Golf State of Mind   Taylor Bartlow

Thanks for reading – The 3 Steps to a good golf shot – Feel it, See it, Hit it!

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5 Pressure Shot Golf Secrets now finally exposed.

5 Pressure Shot Golf Secrets now finally exposed.

5 Pressure Shot Golf Secrets are now finally exposed.

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!

David MacKenzie is one of the leading sports performance coaches and has worked with many top players in all sports types.  

His ideas on how to perform well under pressure are absolutely awesome!  If you play golf competitively on a state or national level, or just play in your local club competitions, David will give you the tools needed to play better golf.  Good golf consists of having sound basic fundamentals that result in good shots and the mental toughness to win when you need to.

5 Pressure Shot Golf Secrets now finally exposed.

Whatever your level of play, I’m sure you’ve experienced the feeling of playing under pressure on the golf course. How you cope with it can make or break your success.

Do you have techniques you can rely on to keep you calm and focus on the task at hand and not get carried away into the future?

In this article, I’m going to show you 5 mental game techniques that have helped the shakiest of players cope with pressure and use nervous energy to succeed. Many of these skills can be taught off the golf course, with no need for a club and ball.

These are techniques that you can apply to any high pressure situation, whether on the golf course or other areas of your life. Each one gets more powerful, the more you practice it.

1. Improve your response control to fear.

How we respond in pressure situations can be improved with regular mental exercises. Set a little time aside each day to imagine yourself in high-pressure situations that you fear, and work on controlling your physical and emotional response.

In golf, you need to be intense to play your best. That’s why nerves are a positive. But if you’re too upset, that’s when it hurts your game – you lose focus and become tense, which affects your decision making and your execution.

So being able to control your arousal state is key to playing your best. Your current physical response to pressure is probably an increased heart rate and tension in your muscles. Let’s make sure this response is kept at a manageable level.

There are 2 exercises you can try. Imagine (visualize) yourself in a situation you fear – like teeing off in a big tournament with lots of people watching, or needing a par on the last to win. I want you to feel that increase in heart rate and even a little shaking in your hands.

Now imagine yourself overcoming that fear, using your relaxation response.

Breathing is a great way to do that and focusing on the positive outcome you desire. Imagine making a smooth swing with a nice tempo and hitting a really pure shot. With this practice, you increase the self-image of your performance self, which will help you with confidence in real situations.

When you’ve successfully achieved a more relaxed response to the situation in your mind, move onto the real situation of practicing it on the course. When you’re playing, mentally put yourself in those situations you fear, like leading the club championship and needing a par on the 18th to win. Imagine the intensity and distractions going on around you and practice staying calm and relaxed. You can even try running on the spot and increasing your heart rate even more and then going through your routine to control your arousal state and learn to focus and relax as much as possible.

2. Inflate the positive and deflate the negative.

Being able to find the positive in any situation can become a habit, which can really help you during a round of golf. It’s something that you get better at, the more you practice it. Over time, it will help you see the positive possibilities only, instead of those negative images which damage your confidence.

Make a goal to find a positive after every shot and at least 3 positive things after every round. After a while, you’ll find yourself searching for the positives a lot more in any situation (and replacing negatives) and you’ll cultivate a much better attitude for successful golf.

To see all 5 ways to learn to play under pressure, click here.

Source: David MacKenzie    golfstateofmind.com

Pictures: Wally Gobetz

Thanks for reading – 5 Pressure Shot Golf Secrets are now finally exposed.

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