Last week I spoke about “the secret of golf” – the steps to automating your golf game. Today I want to expand on that concept further and discuss the strategies for better concentration. Concentration is key. Far more important than swing skills if you ask me. If you’ve ever wondered how to;
- Play better golf under pressure
- How to ensure you finish off those good rounds and avoid blowing up on those last few holes
- Cope with nerves, anxiety and even fear
- Play to your potential more of the time. In other words, how to play consistently
Then this will be an important message for you.
Lesson #1 for better concentration is discipline. You may have to force yourself to focus and follow the below strategy in the early stages. It’s important that you stick to a process if you want to reach a higher level of concentration. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be boring and it does get easier over time.
Lesson #2: Do all of your thinking, analysing and planning behind the ball. This is not negotiable. I like to imagine a line behind the ball. When I’m behind the line I can think, worry, take practise swings, talk, check distances, plan and strategise . What you do behind the ball is up to you. Best that you decide what YOU want to do and don’t think too much about your swing.
Lesson #3: When you recross the imaginary line you’re playing golf. The easiest and best way to do this is to count in your head. This allows you to play automatically. You are not thinking about your golf swing, worrying about the score, visualising or wasting energy doing something else. You’re playing golf.
Expanding on this further you should consider walking to the ball with your eyes focussed on the ball. This helps block out distractions from other players and the target (or hazards). Once you get to the ball you want to get set first (don’t look at the target or anywhere else!) and then and only then should you look up or pull the trigger. And don’t forget that you must be counting all the time.
If you start thinking, worrying or getting too nervous you need to stop, back off and start over. This is the discipline aspect at work. Many golfers go through with the shot despite knowing they weren’t ready. Don’t make the same error. Back off and start again.
This process helps you get into your own little bubble – you’re immune from distractions that come from your own mind and those from outside. If you can have the discipline to do this on all your golf shots your concentration will (must) improve.
If all this sounds like hard work you may simplify the process to think, choose and do.
- Think about about what options you have with each shot. Most golfers don’t have any problem with this one.
- Choose a shot or club. For example is it a 6 iron or a 7? You have to choose one. Deciding on a specific shot is imperative to achieving better concentration. Remember it is better to be committed to the wrong shot than being half hearted to the right one.
- Do. It’s simple. You must execute the shot automatically. Doing is playing golf. When you perform each shot automatically you’ll maximise the chances that you’ll play your best golf. From what I see this is the step that most golfers can’t reach regularly. It’s the step that is likely holding you back and making golf more difficult than it needs to be.
Think, choose and do gives you no other option but to play good golf. It’s easy to do but it’s also easy not to do. It requires discipline and a level of trust. By repeating the process you’ll learn the magic of concentrated effort. This is something worth experiencing. It potentially beats any form of golf you’re currently playing.
Let me know how you get on…