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The Mind Game that Matters

Published on 28/09/2011

Has poor concentration ever caused you to wreck a good card out on the golf course?
 
Has a lack of attentiveness ever been responsible for your silly mistakes?
 

     One of the most common complaints I hear is that players feel they would score better if they could only concentrate for a full 18 holes.  But that’s precisely the problem! It’s impossible to do that because an average round of golf takes 4 hours. You simply cannot concentrate for 240 straight minutes as it would cause your body to fatigue and as a result your performance would dip.

 
So what can you do to help this situation?
 
     The secret is to manage your concentration by turning it on before and during a shot, then more importantly being able to turn it off after the shot – just like a light switch.  In other sports there is a trigger to let the brain know when focus is needed. Take boxing for example, the bell rings and the brain knows it is called into action, another ring from the bell and the brain knows it can relax for a moment without being struck by their opponent. In football or rugby the referee blows his whistle for a substitution and the player is able to switch off momentarily. 
 
     This is harder in golf because there are no external triggers so YOU need to create the start and stop triggers for yourself.
 
     What’s your solution? Well, a very popular method is to use your golf glove.  When the glove is on, full focus is needed as your only task is the execution of the next shot.  After the shot, removing the glove is the trigger to relax and take in the environment around you.  If you keep your eyes above the horizon it will help you take in the external world, when your eyes drop down it will tend to make you shut off from the outside and start inward thought.
 
     Most players remove their glove for putting, so I would recommend you using the putter cover.  When the cover is off, your only focus is the next putt, once the putter cover is back on, you can switch off again.     
 
     Managing yourself mentally on the golf course can make a huge difference to your performance and how you react if things start to go wrong.  Give it a try for your next round and email back to see how you get on.
 
Until the next time,
 
Marc.

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