Golf mentally is the toughest sport. There is bound to be lots of opposition to this statement as each sportsperson defends how hard it is to compete in their particular sport at high levels. Let me keep it to ball sport comparisons for this exercise though.
Comparing ball games
One of the reasons golf is harder than games like tennis, baseball, basketball, football or even cricket is because you have more thinking time as the ball starts from stationery. If you have to hit or catch a moving ball then it’s more instinctive and you do it quickly. There is only time for one thought and no time to change your mind or look for a better alternative. No time for your muscles to react to anything except the way you first thought of. You hit or catch the ball a certain way and muscle memory takes over to help you do it.
When you play golf you have as much time as you want, following players allowing of course, to size up a variety of shots and possible landing places. The choices depending on the lie of the course, the distance and even the weather. Having got a variety of options in your head then the wise choice would be to pick one route and go for it.
What are you thinking?
What usually happens to the untrained mind is that all possible combinations are still running through your head when the ball is struck. This means that the shot in the mind and the muscle memory to execute it may not line up. If you also add in other distractive thoughts then unless the muscle memory is operating correctly then the ball could end up anywhere.
Distractive thoughts can be anything related to the game or anything at all. Game related thoughts are usually repetitive or stress related. Examples are: I always hit the ball too much to the left here. If I miss this shot I will not be leading any more. Got to get this or it will be my turn to pay at the clubhouse. Non game related thoughts could literally be anything but are usually to do with suddenly remembering things about work or home.
Other stationary ball games
There are other games where a ball is struck from a stationary position. Snooker, pool and billiards for instance. You can also take as long as your opponent will let you to work out your shot too.
The biggest differences here are the distances involved and the course you are doing it over. The distances being shorter means very little deviation over five foot compared to over one hundred feet. The table is always flat whereas a golf course is forever changing.
Plus, if it is a competition game, then there is usually more money involved in golf. That’s always good for a nice bit of distractive stress.
Ok, we know what should NOT be happening. So what SHOULD be happening.
The expertly trained mind will purely automatically go through a well rehearsed sequence that will pick a shot then shut out everything except getting the ball in the hole. Sound simple doesn’t it?
Once it is rehearsed and committed properly to memory, it is simple. That is exactly how the top professionals do it.
I can hear you saying what about technique? What about deciding how to take the shot according to conditions. What if x, what about y, etc., etc.,?
Down to mental practice
Well, all that will come with on course experience and practice. What I am talking about is mental practice to keep your mind on just one thought to enable you to put your physical practice to best use. The better you can use your mind then the more useful will be your physical practice will become.
The way to control your thinking is also through experience and practice. The great thing about that though is that you do not have to be on the golf course to do it. Nor do you have to limit your practice to only certain times. You can practise almost anywhere whenever you have a bit of time to spare.
One thought. One vision
How you practice is through the use of visualization. This can be enhanced through the use of hypnosis if you wish. There are quite a number of hypnosis programs for sale on this subject but if you want good results then it will be better if you choose a program that is being presented by someone that really knows about golf as well as hypnosis.
It is also advisable to get a program by someone whose voice you like too. I found that some voice tones are not soothing and just plain irritate to such an extent they become a distraction rather than a help. However, what irritates me might be perfect for you. Listen before you buy.
What hypnosis and visualization does for you is to take your mind through situations many many times. So many times that it becomes second nature to react the way you do. And of course, in your visualization your shots always go perfectly.
Visualization, hypnosis and practice shots with the experts
One way I discovered to really get the best out of hypnosis was to read or watch a professional golfers tip then go into a hypnotic state and mentally rehearse that tip over and over till I had it down perfect. It took a few sessions. Back out on the course and the only thing I could think of was the way I’d visualized it earlier. No more mental distractions. Golf mental games became golf success reality.
Many golfers do not realize they are practicing to fail. There are two very big secrets to practicing your golf shots that you ought to know about. To discover the first secret click on this golfing mental link.