Allow me to introduce you to 3 distinct PSYCHOLOGICAL phases golfers should be SYSTEMATICALLY coached through in order to play and perform consistently.
Phase 1. Internal Focus – this is your traditional technical instruction where your Attentional Focus is typically on the conscious control of your body movement. Unfortunately, this is where the vast majority of golfers worldwide begin and end their golfing lives due to the lack of attentional focus training of coach and player (Examples: The Golf Machine, Stack and Tilt, The Plane Truth etc. and a variety of other technical teaching models explaining how to SWING golf clubs efficiently).
Phase 2. Proximal External Focus – self awareness development where your focus is shifted away from body on to club head movement, ball flight or similar. The minority of golfers who discover this phase recognise how it can develop a trust in their technique faster than Phase 1 only learning (Examples: Instinctive Golf, Inner Game of Golf, Extraordinary Golf etc.)
Phase 3. External Focus – Attentional Focus golf instruction where your focus is moved entirely AWAY from your technique in practice and play and on to the Target. This is where performance lives with ALL other life skills. External focus. From riding bicycles to driving cars, playing music and typing on keyboards. This golf skill has NEVER been coached systematically in practice. Welcome to Target Orientation.
We actually transition to the 3rd stage AUTOMATICALLY with all other life skills we master. It does not happen in golf due to the way we are uniquely taught and practice the game. The most significant element of understanding the above coaching model is this. You develop the ability to practice on the range in 2 very distinctive modes: Training (internal/proximal) for developing technical skills and Trusting (external) when practicing how to play golf. Ultimately, Trusting needs to become your dominant behaviour on the range in order for you to trust your technical skills under perceived tournament “pressure”. This perception is for another discussion.
If you think it sounds difficult, go and throw a ball at a Target and simply notice where your focus is and anxiety level. You are physically free, in the present, visually operating with a quiet mind. This is the ultimate Golf State of Mind! Notice how the Target gives you your COMMITMENT. Take it away physically or mentally and notice what happens. The internal self talk and the self doubt begins. No Target in mind as you execute a golf shot results in little commitment in your physical actions when driving, chipping or putting. Does this feel familiar to anyone?
IF you have ever wondered why you can trust your subconscious self to drive a car where your life is at risk but struggle to trust it to putt a golf ball, my work will be of interest. If you wish to understand this learning curve concept better, a sample chapter of my DVD can also be found here: http://www.targetorientedgolf.com/sampler.htm
Attentional Focus Coaching of most value to Professional and low handicap golfers but if you are a relative beginner, the sooner you become aware of these skills the faster you will develop technical proficiency. It is always important to understand where you are heading before you set off on any journey or you may, like many have done, wander down many country roads looking for the ‘perfect’ swing for what you thought was the answer to your poor golf performance and you will never arrive at your intended destination. Hopefully, the joy of playing anxiety free consistent golf.
Target Oriented Golf is a comprehensive alternative remote GOLF COACHING program brought to you with the support and to complement Sportsmind. When you are ready to receive, we are ready to help with remote video coaching services wherever you may live. Please visit www.TargetOrientedGolf.com for details.
Until next time, enjoy your golf!