Most golfers want and need to increase their focus on the course. The difficulty is not their inability to focus, rather their struggle to center their attention on the right things at the right moment that enables them to achieve consistent peak performance.
Sport Psychologist, Dr. Terry Orlick described it best when he wrote, “Where the mind goes, everything follows.”
The great golfers do not achieve greatness as a result of perfect focus, but because they are able to sustain their attention on the things that are most relevant to their performance. Golf, as in most sports, requires a player to fluctuate between a broad and narrow focus. A broad, or wide-angle lens perspective is necessary when assessing the challenges of a hole, determining the direction and strength of the wind, or calculating the distance of a shot. Selecting a target, choosing a club, and addressing the ball requires a more narrow or zoom lens perspective – your mind is fixed on the task at hand. Focus is developed by learning to control your thoughts and emotions, knowing what to attend to, understanding distractions, refocusing, and managing performance stress. In a 5-part series, I will cover each of these areas starting with how you can gain some control over your thoughts.
Good focus starts with the right state of mind. You have to decide how you want to feel, whether or not to maintain positive thoughts, and what will help you perform at your best. How you think about yourself and your game is a choice that only you can make each day. Your thoughts and emotions will be driven by your internal dialog and mental images. Choose to leave the negative behind and fill your mind with supportive statements and memories of your greatest golf moments. Negative thoughts, worries and doubts tend to creep in easily because they are closely tied to our emotions. The best way to control them is to be aware that they are there, mentally gather them into a box, and make the decision to leave them in the car or in your locker while you head onto the course. Negativity is like a bunch of lead weights that are going to distract you from your purpose and drain your energy – why would you choose to carry that kind of weight around on the course with you?
You are the creator of your thoughts — therefore you have direct control of them. Learning to direct your thoughts begins with being aware of the constant dialog that goes on between your ears. Secondly, you must assess the content of your thoughts. You need to determine whether your thoughts are tearing you down, or building you up. The goal is to create thoughts that are in alignment with the outcomes you desire. Finally, if you find that you are often dealing with negative or poorly focused thoughts, it is not a matter of erasing or stuffing them — you have to change the direction your mind is directing your body by replacing them. Mentally change the channel and focus on creating thoughts that support your performance. I like to teach my clients that every shot should be sandwiched between two slices of positive. Following these three steps will help you begin to regain some control over your thinking and shift your focus to achieving your goals on the course. If you have specific questions about your game, I would be happy to talk to you. Contact Me to discuss how we can move your game forward.