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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Golf


Focus Your Focus

How to Ward Off Distraction During Your Golf Swing

Tracy Reed

There is a great possibility to lose your mind when playing golf simply due to the constant shifting of focus. I think the brain doesn't like to change focus. It wants to stay in one place until the job is done, but in golf, we think about the present; the stance, and we think about the future; the shot.

The mind wants stimulation, and the stance simply doesn't fill the bill. The shot on the other hand has hope and excitement, wondering whether the ball will go where you want it to, where it will land, and what you will need to do next.

When you set up and look downrange, your mind almost instantly locks on to the shot thoughts....and abandons the task at hand of taking the backswing and making the transition.

If you think about your daily life it works the same. It's much easier to let your mind wonder off to the next vacation than to keep working on the mundane task of work. At times like that, you must call your brain back to work and get back to whatever task you're doing.

To get the results of a golf swing, you have to do the same thing. Usually, just before you take the backswing, you take one more look downrange. This is the mind's last opportunity to escape, and it often does. If you can keep the mind interested in the swing, it wouldn't go running off to the future all of the time, but how?

This is one reason I stress visualization during the swing process. If you have a movie of the impending swing in your mind, the brain will want to hang around and see if the body followed instructions.....(it's a power thing, the brain wants to be in charge and it thinks the body wants to take over.)

But sometimes a good picture isn't enough. You need to remind your brain to get back to the task at hand. I do this with a trigger. I want something visual that will tell my mind, "hey, get back to the swing!" Mine is a little complicated to describe but it's simple as a picture. When I take my backswing, as I am feeling the weight building up under my back foot, I want to feel my shoulder touch my chin and I want to see that the line across my back is behind the ball. Once I see that, I know I can start the transition.

All I have to do is to remind myself before the round that I won't start the transition until I see and feel what I have described. The picture I'm looking for, combined with the self instruction that it has to be there or I can't finish the swing, brings my focus back to the swing.

Do you want to make sure your focus is where it should be during your swing? Find a trigger picture that has to happen before you can make your transition. Then train yourself that you can't swing until it's right. Instead of concentrating on hitting the ball, concentrate on making sure everything is right before you pull the transition trigger....the rest of the swing will take care of itself.

When do you set the stage for the round of golf? On the way to the golf course. Think about your trigger, and decide that you will be patient no matter what situation rears its ugly head. After you do this for a while, your patience in the face of adversity will carry over to your daily life.

Tracy Reed is a Golf Biomechanic, International Golf Coach, and author of "Golf Swing Control" now sold in 28 countries. Learn How to Gain the Unfair Advantage on the Golf Course. Go to

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