Do you perform better on the driving range than you do on the golf course? The mental aspect of golf is just as important as the physical golf fitness side of the game. For many golfers, all of that practice goes right out the door as soon as they start to think about the possibility of hitting the ball into a hazard.
At Totally Driven, we work with Twin Cities golfers to help them improve their games through professional golf coaching, golf fitness, and golf club fittings. If your mental golf game is psyching you out and sabotaging your performance on the golf course, follow these steps to take back control of your swing. Then give us a call to schedule your professional golf fitting!
Getting Over the “Psych-out”
It happens to all of us at one point or another. You’ve spent hours upon hours at the driving range working on your swing and you’re feeling pretty solid about your next tee. You start off strong, coming in under par. But then you arrive at that same hazard that gets you every time. Maybe it’s a sand bunker or a water hazard, or perhaps it’s just a tricky hole. But suddenly, your head is swimming with nothing but what-ifs and self-doubt.
Rather than focus on your distance or spine alignment, your mind is focused on one solitary thought—the thought of where you don’t want your ball to go. But try as you might to get your head in the game, you’ve sabotaged your shot. So how can you get past the head trip of a hole that gives you trouble every time?
Getting Your Head in the Game
If you talk to enough professional athletes, you’ll start to realize how seriously they take the mental side of the game. That’s why so many pro athletes have their own mantras that they practice saying over and over while they’re in the middle of their sport.
And any pro athlete will tell you that the good old-fashioned psych-out affects everyone at some point. Fortunately, golf offers you something that isn’t available in many other sports: time to think and reflect. On the other hand, all of that time spent walking around the golf course or waiting for an opponent to play can mean too much time for doubt and overanalysis to creep in. The trick is in finding a way to banish the latter and make the most of the former.
If you’ve had trouble with the yips, try using these tips:
1. Establish a Routine
It may seem like a cliche, but there really is comfort in a solid routine. That’s because it keeps you focused on your ritual and muscle memory rather than overthinking a shot or replaying a bad swing. You don’t have to go full Chevy Chase in Caddyshack to establish a good, centering routine before each swing. Your routine can be as simple as taking a moment to breathe in and out while visualizing your perfect shot before adjusting your spinal alignment.
Of course, a good affirmation never hurt anyone’s game, either. Try reminding yourself that you’re capable of making this shot or narrating your swing in your mind. Before you know it, doubts will be banished for good!
2. Take in the Sights
Don’t allow yourself to waste downtime on negative thoughts or overanalysis. Instead, commit to enjoying the beauty of the outdoors as fully as possible while you’re walking around the golf course.
Try incorporating a five senses game into your golf course habits. As you walk from point A to point B, think about all of the colors, sights, and movements that you see in nature. Next, focus on sounds that you can hear. Go through all of the senses until you’ve realigned your mind and you’re present in the moment rather than focused on that ugly slice from a few holes back.
3. Visualize Your Success
We know as well as anyone that visualizing your success on a tricky hole can be easier said than done. But if you’re having trouble picturing a good shot, try focusing on a past success. Most of the time when we’re overly focused on what can go wrong, we’re forgetting about what we’re capable of. Think about a time when you made a tricky shot, or go over how well you did last time you were on the driving range. See? You’ve got this!
4. Let it Go
There’s a lot of wisdom in this Disney film mantra. Holding onto bad energy from the last hole can throw your entire game if you let it. The ability to shake off your flub and move on is essential.
Remind yourself that you’ll have time to analyze what went wrong later on, and then don’t forget to follow through. And if you’re falling into the same trap over and over, consider signing up for professional golf lessons. Professional golf coaching is a great way to diagnose bad habits and start practicing better moves.
5. Keep Your Eyes on the Ball
Knowing the right place to focus seems like it should be the easiest task you’ll perform on the golf course. But there’s actually something of an art to getting your focus in the right place, and it starts with exercising control over your mind. Start by tracking the path from the ball to the hole and let your gaze move back and forth for a few seconds. Right before you swing, get a soft focus on the part of the ball you’re trying to hit.
Twin Cities Golf Lessons Near Me
Are you tired of your mental game interfering with your swing? Get the confidence you need to dominate the golf course with professional golf fitness and coaching from Totally Driven. Contact us on the web to sign up for a membership, or give us a call at (952) 681-2728.