Finally, the weather is improving and most of us have had a chance to get out and play. How are you doing? Are you happy with your game? Hitting it the way you like? Getting it up and down? Making most of your putts? Or, are you struggling? That slice just has not disappeared. Maybe you are continuing to chunk your chips?
I have had the honor of witnessing an extremely high number of cases of ball-it-tis this year. What is ball-it-is you ask? It is when the player tries to hit the ball. He/she tries to make the ball go somewhere instead of swinging the club.
- What causes ball-it-is? For Amateur players it is the urge to try to hit the ball. For Professionals it is the urge to try to steer the ball toward the target.
- Are there pills you can take that cure this? Unfortunately, not. If there were, I would be selling them.
- How do I get over it? There are a few steps you can take to alleviate the systems.
The first thing you need to do is become aware that you are trying to help the club hit the ball. This can be difficult. It is imperative that you’re able to immediately reflect on the shot you just hit. Are you seeing things clearly or do you overreact? Are you able to uncover your patterns objectively and unemotionally?
You must be open and willing to discern and detect your underlying issues. There is almost lways something lurking beneath the surface. What could those be?
- Not planning your shot.
- Lack of commitment to the shot you are hitting.
- Not focusing on the task at hand.
None of the above issues have anything to do with a golf swing. All of the above items have everything to do with your mind.
There are steps that all good players take to hit the ball consistently. Most players go through this following before they choose the shot they want to hit.
- What is the yardage?
- What does my lie look like?
- Where is the wind blowing?
- Acknowledge stupid. (Where is the trouble? ALWAYS play away from it)
- What is the playable yardage?
- What is my smartest play from this location?
- What club will I use?
- Step behind the ball. Find the target you want to start the ball on.
- Walk into it. Take your stance.
- One last look at the target.
If you have a routine you follow and take the time to plan, prepare and produce your shots, your mind will be busy on the task at hand, and will have a harder time distracting you from that. However, if you don't have a routine, your mind can wander all over. You will not stay focused on the task at hand and terrible things can happen.
Doubt, apprehension, and fear are the three worst thoughts and feelings you can have while playing golf. You MUST know what you want to do with the ball and think clearly enough to plan the shots.
DURING THE SHOT
All good players have simple thoughts or feelings while swinging the club. They do not have detailed thoughts, just simple swing keys. Typically, auditory, visual, or kinesthetic (feeling) cues work. Try to develop one that works for you.
How do you know whether you want to see it, feel it, or hear it? Pretend you had to drive somewhere you had never been. You don’t know where you are going and cannot use your cell phone or GPS to get there. Would you want to read written directions, see a map, or have someone tell you how to get there? If you said read written directions, you are a kinesthetic learner. You want to feel the swing. A feel swing thought will help you. If you said look at a map, you are a visual learner. You should picture the picture swing while playing. If you said have someone tell you how to get there, you are an auditory learner. You should create a mantra you can say to yourself while you are swinging.
Knowing yourself is key to playing better golf. If you are open to the truth and want to reveal the root cause of your misses, improvement can truly happen.
Cindy Miller is a former LPGA Tour Player, a current member of the Legends Tour of the LPGA, and a Golf Channel Academy Lead Coach. She is a Certified Behavior, Motivation, and Judgment Professional who is sought after as a speaker, coach, and corporate trainer. Reach out to her at email@example.com . Follow Cindy at https://cindymillerinc.com and on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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