When you squeeze toothpaste from the tube do you just grab it and scrunch the tube to release the toothpaste or you do always squeeze very neatly from the bottom? If you were spreading jam onto bread do you use the butter knife and over load the knife with jam or do you use a clean knife or spoon and measure out the exact amount needed?
Do you analyse most things that you experience, deliberating with yourself and spend time logically working through a particular course of action or do you just trust your instincts so that if it feels right you let it happen?
When you play golf do you spend hours practising, analysing and work methodically through a routine before each shot or do you quickly approach the ball think of the end result and hit the ball without thinking it through at all?
When we are in ‘left - brain mode’ we think and behave logically, sequentially and methodically. We plan and analyse - sometimes to destruction. When we are in ‘right - brain mode’ we think and behave intuitively with feeling and imagination, going with our hearts but maybe not paying quite enough attention to the goal. It is generally said that men are left brain dominant and women right brained. Pedantic male versus intuitive female.*
There is of course no right or wrong way to think but golf is a game that requires and improves when a perfect balance is reached and when we are able to use both sides and swap sides as and when needed.
Usually - but by no means always it is the right side that could benefit from a little development to allow your game to become more creative.
Try the following exercises;
1. Change BULL to GATE changing one letter at a time in as few goes as possible.
2. Work out the seventeen times tables … backwards.
3. Think through your pre-shot routine.
4. Imagine in your mind’s eye that you are a bird. What bird are you? Are you small or large? What colour are you.
5. Being your imagined bird fly over the top of your favourite golf course and see how it looks from above.
Now think about which of the above you found easiest.
If it was 1 &2 you are able to be very left - brained.
If it was 4 &5 you are able to be very right - brained.
Think about number 3 - this one uses both sides because you think about your routine sequentially and you imagine or visualise yourself carrying it out.
Notice how you do things generally and when you play golf:
If you function a lot using your right brain side practise thinking linearly and logically. Carry out mental tasks that involve numbers and sequences, maybe get a puzzle book.
If you use your left brain side spend some time allowing yourself to daydream and use your imagination. When you do different things think about how you are feeling.
So now how can all this be transferred to your golf? It is important to develop a routine that is right and comfortable. Think again now about your pre-shot actions and notice what is going on in your mind. Are you worrying about your stance, are you easily distracted, are you focused on the task in hand? Practise being methodical and organised in your thoughts and behaviour and develop your routine so that it becomes second nature and automatic but doesn’t take forever or you run the risk of distractions nipping in or being hurried along for slow play.
Bring in to your mind what you want to happen, from hitting the ball and imagining where you want it to go to the ball actually landing. Trust your instincts and ‘feel’ the shot. Then all you have to do is hit the ball !!
You will find that it stops being necessary to concentrate on every little action before each shot because your subconscious mind has all the information needed. You do not need to re-learn each time you approach the ball.
Consider driving a car and how hard it would be if you had to instruct yourself second by second to park or reverse for instance. Driving becomes programmed and automatic. Good golf can too.
What can happen if you are constantly adjusting and changing is that the mind becomes muddled and doesn’t quite know what you want - so be clear in your self instructions.
After each shot a quick analysis is all that is needed, take from it the good aspects and do not berate yourself. Enjoy the walk to the ball and begin your routine just as you approach the ball. Begin to trust your subconscious mind to know what to do. Our minds do know what to do but we create confusion and reduce our success rates by interfering with our conscious minds.
A brief summary : Discover your preferred brain side and have fun exercising the less dominant side. If you over analyse, reduce this before and especially after each shot. Do not autopsy the autopsy. Allow feel to become part of your game and be creative in your actions. Be sure of your desired result and you will achieve just that.
To achieve excellence seek balance in all things - particularly your brain.
Originally Women & Golf sometime in 1998
This hypnotic meditation will enable you to enhance your mind game of golf.
Habits and negative attitudes are stored in the subconscious; to make changes it needs to happen on that level. The mind game is as important as any club selection or coaching. Being uncluttered, clear with a focused mindset is the aim.
Clicking on the image will take you to Barb School.
Written by Herself
I write as the muse takes me and here is a blend of blog posts and articles.