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Archived Newsletters - Concentration:

Newsletter May 2000
Vol. 1 Edition 6

Dear Golf Enthusiast,

PMI is pleased to provide this free electronic newsletter, Mental Coaching for Golf to give you information for balancing your mind-body-spirit so you can play golf effortlessly, free from distractions, trusting your swing, confident, focused, and enjoying the game more!

Thanks for subscribing. With your subscription you will receive tips and insightful information at the beginning of each month to help you develop a winner's mentality for your golf game by balancing your mental, physical and spiritual bodies. In the last four issues we have written about setting your goals for Y2K, balancing your physical body with the necessary nutrition for consistent energy, finding the necessary emotional and mental arousal level needed for consistent, high performance on the golf course, and how your beliefs and thoughts impact your success and enjoyment of the game.

This month's topic is about how to focus your attention so you can concentrate when you are over the ball.

Golf is a game that is played best when you are "in the zone" or "playing out of your mind." When you are playing at your peak performance, golf shots are easy and effortless, and you believe you have found "the secret" to always playing well. At those times, golfers report that their minds are so relaxed and absorbed that their bodies know without conscious thought how to hit the ball. The mind and body are in harmony.

On the other hand, when golfers are playing badly, they are giving themselves instructions on how to swing, judging their performance, and experiencing fear thoughts and feeling afraid.

The golfer who plays at his highest level is the one who knows how to apply his swing skills of hitting different shots with clear thinking. The "player" of the game is one who has graduated from focusing on his mechanics to having fun conquering the challenge of getting the ball in the hole in the fewest strokes.

Concentration is a mental activity that most people try to make happen. When you try too hard to do something, you actually move it further away. Concentration happens as the result of being engrossed in an activity. It is similar to happiness. When you do something that you enjoy, you feel happy.

During a round of golf, your concentration may be hindered by

  1. Anxiety. A golfer can become anxious when he is too concerned about his score, or what others may think of his performance.
  2. Lack of confidence. When golfers begin to play poorly, they tend to concentrate less, and then play even worse.
  3. Distractions. Outside noises such as a mower can affect how well you are concentrating.
  4. Boredom. Some golfers don't give as much attention to a short easy pitch shot as they do for a shot out of trouble.

The human mind processes hundreds of bits of sensory information every 2-3 seconds, so it is no wonder that we have trouble focusing on one shot at a time. This is obvious when we blame our wandering thoughts on Alzheimer's or Senior Moments. A lot of golfers believe they have to concentrate on the game for four hours when in fact it is a good thing to relax and joke with your partners between shots. Focus only when it is your turn to hit. Using the same preshot routine and swing key every time will help you stay focused.

There are different ways to focus during a round of golf. Ben Hogan, for example, concentrated on his round by not thinking or talking about anything else. If you find that you lose your focus during the round, it might be better to relax your concentration between shots. Joke with your partners, and then focus only when it's your turn to hit.

A mind that is busy, restless or indecisive will find it difficult to concentrate on one activity. Use the following steps to focus your attention.

  1. The first step toward improved concentration is to quiet your mind.
  2. Begin by breathing to relax your mind and body.
  3. Be decisive about your club selection.
  4. Mentally rehearse the shot, using positive images.
  5. When it is your turn to hit, "turn on" your focus by going into your pre-shot routine to keep your mind from wandering.
  6. Trust that you will hit the shot you have imagined.
  7. Enjoy the experience

For most people, concentration repeatedly shifts from outside yourself between shots to inside yourself during shots. Being engrossed in the process of performing a shot is known as being in the "flow" or "zone" where the golf swing almost becomes an automatic reaction to the target..

Concentration Exercise: Sit down in a comfortable chair in a quiet room where you won't be disturbed. Close your eyes and focus your attention on the space between your eyes. When you notice your attention moving away, notice where it went and bring it back. Did you lose your concentration because you lost interest in the challenge?

Do the exercise once again with soft music playing in the background. Is it harder to hold your concentration than when it was quiet? Where does your mind go when the music is playing?

Repeat the exercise once again with music with lyrics playing in the background. Is it harder to concentrate? Where does your mind go?

If you can hold your attention on the place between your eyes for one minute, it will be easy to concentrate on the golf course, even with distractions. When the Russian athletes trained for the Olympics, they practiced concentration by sitting between two radios playing different stations while mentally rehearsing their sport. Tiger's father challenged his concentration by throwing objects at him and making noise while he was hitting the ball.

Concentration may be the single most important mental attribute in golf. You can increase your powers of concentration by listening to the latest PMI audiocassete tape, Concentration for Consistent Golf. The imagery on the tape will put you into a focused state where your imagination will produce concentration that is easy and enjoyable.

"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."--unknown


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