What is the "Secret" of the Mental Game for golf?
We are always fascinated by the idea of learning a "Secret".
Knowledge that very few people have access to and can help us move closer to achieving our goals.
Hogan's ball striking secret.
Nicklaus consistency secret.
ANY distance secret.;-)
The truth is... very few secrets exist anymore.
In golf... science has explored and explained most of the key dynamics of physical side of the game.
In the Mental Game of golf... the same is true.
In the last 40 years, research has been able to track "Key Metrics" of the Mental Game and explain the science behind how the mind, the emotions and the body need to work together so you can perform your best.
The touring professionals are training and using these "Key Metrics" to help them play their best when it matters most.
Collin Morikawa's mental game strength in the British Open was no accident.
In this age of research and data... secrets have been replaced by "Key Metrics".
I definitely miss the fascination that a good secret could inspire. 😊
But when helping golfers play better... it's nice to have trackable information so they can chart their progress and have a clearer picture of what to do to improve their game.
What are the "Key Metrics" for the Mental Game of golf?
Presence is the foundation.
When you are Present in the Moment in Your Senses as you hit a shot:
1. You trigger optimum brainwave frequency for performance.
2. You trigger optimum brain chemistry for performance.
3. You trigger optimum physiology for performance.
4. You trigger the optimum systems in your brain for performance.
Presence is the "Floodlights".
If you were playing golf at night:
•Presence is what turns on the lights so you can see what you're doing.
•Presence is what turns on your sense of feel so you know what your body's doing.
•Presence is what turns on your spatial awareness so you know where you are relative to the course.
•Presence is what turns up the volume of sound so you can hear the club striking the ball.
If you can't access Presence... then you cannot access all of the sensory data you need to hit good golf shots.
The stronger your ability to stay Present... the less effect that negative emotions and pressure will have on your shots.
When you feel negative emotions and pressure in the moment it's only because you're focused on something that happened in the past or in the future.
When you are fully Present in the Moment there are no emotions and there is no pressure of results.
Presence can be measured by brainwave frequency using an EEG sensor.
If you know what to look for it can be also be trained experientially.
Which means... when you feel certain things you will know you are being dominated by certain brainwaves.
This is a huge piece of what I help golfers with.
Learning to understand what it feels like to be in the right brainwave state when you hit a golf shot.
There is an ideal state and you can train for it... even if you don't have your own EEG sensor. ;-)
Focus is the "Spotlight".
It is the "Floodlights" of Presence turned into a small, powerful, concentrated beam that is tuned directly on the target.
The ability to direct your "Spotlight" on your target and not be affected by any distractions is one of the most powerful peak performance tools at your disposal.
If there were a secret... Focus that is stronger than any distraction and directed to your optimum target is it.
Focus can also be tracked using EEG sensors.
It can also be trained experientially.
Recognizing what it feels like to be Focused as opposed to distracted is another big piece of what I do with golfers.
It seems like it would be easy to recognize the difference between Focus and distraction.
The reality is that it is not that easy.
We spend so much of our lives being distracted... for most of us it is very difficult to turn on the spotlight of Focus on command.
In my experience it takes daily training to learn the skill... and regular training to reinforce the skill and continue to strengthen it.
You need to exercise your Focus on a regular basis if you want to keep it fit.
Target Connection is the "Cue" you Focus on while you are hitting the shot.
What is in your mind when you are hitting a shot is one of the most powerful influences on quality of your shot.
Research science tells us if you want to be in the peak performance mental "Zone" when you hit a golf shot... you need to have to have one clear Goal/Cue.
If that Cue does not connect you to the target... your chances of hitting the target dramatically decrease.
Unfortunately I have seen far too many golfers whose Cue is only related to their swing or to a specific part of their swing.
This can be really useful when you're training your swing... but not when you're trying to hit targets on the golf course.
How it connects you to the target is what can be different from golfer to golfer.
Some golfers connection is dominated by visual senses or a picture.
The picture may just be the target itself.
It may be the shape of the shot.
It may be picturing what the club does in the impact zone.
Some golfers connect to the target by feel.
It may be the feel of rhythm in the swing.
It may be the feel of a specific speed in the swing.
It may be the feel of a specific effort level in the swing.
Some golfers even connect to the target by sound.
In my experience...
We all need to have some visual connection to the target.
If you're throwing a ball to a friend it's much harder to throw it to them if you're looking somewhere else.
Aside from the universal need for some form of visual connection... your connection to the target will be unique to you.
Which means... You need to test and track different ways of connecting to the target to find what works best for you.
This is often one of the most powerful exercises that I do with golfers.
Knowing the most effective Cue to direct your focus on for all of your shots... is a huge trust boost and performance enhancer.
No more latest shiny object search for the Cue of the day, the Cue of the hour or the Cue of the "please just let me hit a decent shot" frustration of the moment.
But very powerful "Key Metrics" if you know what they feel like and you know how to train them.