Trigger #1 for getting in the Zone when you swing a golf club:
Full engagement in the task.
Full immersion in the process.
The key element for being able to do this on command is... Presence.
If your mind is:
In the future
In the past
Distracted by something
Distracted by someone
Focused on the result
Focused on your score
You are not Present.
You will not have access to the Full Engagement/Full Immersion trigger.
Knowing that you need to be fully Present every time you swing a golf club is a good starting point.
It gives you a definitive mental goal for your pre shot routine.
Knowing how to consistently achieve that goal is when your mind will start giving you access your best shots more often.
You can train to strengthen your Presence at home or at the range.
At home... Mindfulness exercises are a great way to strengthen your recognition of whether you are present or whether you are distracted.
Mindfulness exercises can be as simple as brushing your teeth opposite handed and paying full attention to what everything feels like.
You can take any movement skill at home or at the gym and turn it into a Mindfulness exercise.
Use your imagination and have fun with the Mindfulness exercises.
The goal is to pay Full Attention with all your senses to what you are doing... While you are doing it.
It's not about controlling what you are doing... It's about monitoring what you're doing.
If thoughts are sneaking in... you are not present. The monitor is no longer home.
Directing all of your Attention/all of your Focus... to what you are seeing, hearing and feeling while you are performing a movement skill.
That is Full Immersion/Full Engagement... Presence.
At the range... I recommend picking one sense at a time for your Mindfulness/Presence training.
Make some swings focusing 100% on the Feel of the swing.
The feel you are experiencing will be centered around your body.
How much effort
Then make some swings focusing 100% on the visual aspects of a shot.
When you focus on the visual it will be centered outside of your body since you can't see yourself while you're swinging.
The shot shape
The club in the impact zone
The goal is to put 100% of your focus on a specific feel or a specific visual for each swing.
No swing thoughts allowed!!
As with the home training... It is not about controlling what you're paying attention to It is about Monitoring.
You will notice after doing the exercise that you will have very different levels of trust depending on the senses you're focusing on.
You may even find it difficult to trust that you can swing the club and hit a shot at all... when you are focused on some of the sensory feedback I've suggested.
The big picture of this drill is learning to pay attention with your senses and be fully engaged in the process of hitting a shot.
The added bonus is that you will start to learn whether you perform best focusing on the feel of the swing or focusing on the picture of the shot.
When you're under pressure it's important to know which senses you trust the most.
Speaking of senses... That is a preview of Zone Trigger #2.
Make sure to check back tomorrow!