What to focus on?
I listened to a really interesting podcast this week, whilst out walking my dog, by a coach Susie Meyers who has written a book called Golf from Point A. Whilst there was nothing really new in what she said, it was they way she expressed it, that made it interesting. We all know about the importance of "staying in the now" to maintain our focus, but many find this incredibly difficult to do, even those who have tried mindfulness techniques. Susie's take on it was to consider each shot from a Point A - a place in time - this moment right here and right now. Point A is where the ball is and where the player should be.
Many golfers will read this and think well thats not rocket science Carol!
Well, why is it that many golfers regularly find themselves somewhere else instead of Point A?
For some it's in the past - struggling to fix a swing/shot that didn't go according to plan in the last hole.
For others it's in the future - worrying about the next hole that they always fail to play well.
Whichever it is, these golfers are definitely not at Point A, in the present, preparing to make this shot.
Let me explain further, when you're fretting about the last shot that didn't go where you wanted it to, you are in reality squandering your energy into something you have no control over - its gone you can't affect it now. Also worrying about hitting the next shot into the water, or out of bounds, will not give you clarity or comfort either. You need to be at Point A, in the present, with a calm, quiet mind that will allow you to play with freedom and with a relaxed rhythmic swing, just like you create when hitting balls for fun at the range. So how do we achieve getting to play from Point A? Well its understanding the principle of controlling the controllables. Too many golfers try to control the shot. Unfortunately even the world's number one player can't control the shot - yes thats right! They maybe able to get away with bad shots due to their sheer talent, but you will see plenty on tour who have bad shots - its what makes the game so great to watch. What you can control however is the pre-shot and post-shot, regardless if you're a high handicapper or the best player on the circuit. A Pre-shot routine will set you up every time to play the shot to your best ability. It will ensure you've done your analysis, selected the right club, chosen the correct shot and prepared yourself mentally and physically to play it. You are in effect, stacking the golfing gods in your favour. Playing the actual shot is down purely to your skills/talent. Developing a strong post-shot routine will also ensure you stay in control of your game. You have control over how you chose how to react to a shot. Accepting some shots will not go to plan is part of the beautiful game, being able to let go of the frustration and move on, will ensure you come back to Point A for your next shot.
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