I have some students that I work with that struggle on the course not because of poor mechanics, but from lack of focus on what matters to them to perform their best.
Many people struggle in this game due to paying very close attention to their mechanics at the time they are performing! Wow, that can be a very big problem for many people and can create stress in the motion causing outcomes that are nowhere near the caliber of shot they can truly hit.
One of the techniques that I use with these “overthinkers” is to focus their attention on the target – not their mechanics or the “feel” of the swing or on their swing keys (hopefully, there is only 1 swing key). I try to get them to clear their mind of the “how they are going to swing” and shift their mental effort on hitting the ball to their target.
Many times these lessons sound very different that what the student thinks may be coming their way as they are focused on mechanics and they think I will do just that with them. The goal that the student has is to get better, and many times I help them get better is by helping them “get out of their own way” during the swing and keeping their mind focused on what is best for them.
Many good to great players have a nice balance between how much they are focused on what they are doing and how they talk to themselves and how much they focus on their ball going toward the target and the outside factors of the shot like wind, pace of play, their opponents, looming hazards….etc. My goal is to help the student in every way possible, so I am quite aware when a student becomes too aware of their mechanics and when to help them make the shift from themselves to relieve the stress before the shot.
Peak performance occurs when we are not overly focused on ourselves nor on the external things about the shot, but when we are paying attention to all things relatively equally. I have had someone recently tell me that he likes to “go blank” when over a shot and not focus on anything. This seems like a poor idea to me because when we are truly not focused on anything at all, we will not get any thing because we have not programmed ourselves to perform. Look out – no one knows what is coming now!
Focus on the shot and trust your mechanics. You will get a good outcome better than half of the time with many of those being very good if you do just that. Steer clear from focusing on mechanics and you will enjoy the game much more. You have your own best level of focus for your peak performance – find it.
I use a terrific tool that helps me help players get to a higher level of focused attention while they are on the course – the Focus Band. Be sure to ask me about how I can help you with it!