Over the past 15 years working with elite golfers, it has staggered me at the level of understanding for the mental game and the key ingredients that impact their minds performance. And that comes from players that have spent some time working on their mental game. Being a golfer myself, I understand the lack of trust a lot of golfers have in the Mental Performance industry, as working on some of the components they may have read about will lead to limited positive results at best! But why is this? What are the aspects that have caused this lack of trust in the mental Performance industry?
Here are 3 misconceptions in the mental game that I believe have caused golfers to lose trust in the mental performance component of their games-
1. Pre Shot Routine. The Pre Shot Routine is one of the most overrated aspects of the Mental Game. When a player begins to work on a new Pre Shot routine, it might help them in the short term, but that process wont add long lasting, meaningful performance in their game. This is because for most golfers, their Pre Shot Routine finishes before they pull the trigger or before they set up over the ball. The most important moments in your performance mentally are the moments when you are over the ball and when you are pulling the trigger. Without a high quality mental process during the latter part of your performance, your Pre Shot process is completely useless. If you can spend time working on clarifying what I call your "Mental Process" during the 3sec before you pull the trigger and during your swing, you will begin to add meaningful, powerful processes that will help you to perform consistently under any level of pressure.
2. The Zone. One of the biggest misconceptions regarding The Zone is that it is a state of unconsciousness. This means that you are NOT thinking anything, you are performing in a Zombie like state which is absolutely ridiculous. The Zone is a state achieved when athletes are in a state of "High Focus", to achieve this state your mind has to be focusing on or attached to something. ONE THING! The easiest way I can explain to someone on how to achieve a high level of focus is to make sure your mind is focusing on ONE thing at a time. Now that doesn't matter if your mind moves from 2 or 3 different processes during the shot/routine, as long as its focusing on one thing at a time.
3. Our Eyes. Very few golfers understand the important part our eyes play in helping us achieve this higher level of focus. Our brain processes 400 Billion bits of information every second and a lot of this information is triggered by our visual cues. When I first work with a player, I lock into what their eyes are doing, where they are moving too and what impact that might have on that player achieving a high level of focus. Unfortunately for most golfers, they have been conditioned to check their grip, their stance and a variety of other check points that only help their mind work in over load and work against them in achieving this higher state of focus. One rule I have with eye movements during performance is Less=More. The fewer things your eyes focus on during Pre Shot and performance, the more chance you have of achieving this heightened state of focus.
Try having your eyes focus on the ball and target ONLY and almost immediately experience a quieter, calmer mind that will help you to achieve a higher level of focus once you have clarified the few keys that make up your Mental Process during performance.
Let me know if you have any questions and I hope this helps you to achieve a higher level of focus and in turn an improvement in your performance.