Trust your swing. You hear that phrase a lot from professional golfers. It means to rely on what you have practiced and play with what you’ve practiced instead of monitoring technical points as you play. That last part is still practice. Practice is over. It’s time to play.
I’ve heard Olympic athletes say that, too. They practice their skill over and over so when it’s time to compete they just do what they practiced. They don’t think about it any more. They just do it.
Recreational golfers, I think, would find this difficult to do. Very few of us (including me) practice enough that our positive habits become so ingrained and that we can rely on them without further reference.
In our game, when we address the ball, we’re often still not sure if this thing is going to work. So we decide to help it along.
There, my friend, is the worst mistake we can make on the golf course. That extra little thing, which is no more than a last-second guess, almost always makes things worse.
You might find instead that your best shots came when, by some lucky accident, your internal voice turned off for a moment and you just swung the club. What you had practiced is what came out and you got a great shot out of it.
When got to the ball for the shot after that one, you started to wonder what you did last time that made that shot so great so you began sorting through technical points, when all that really happened is you just SHUT UP for a change and played golf.
In order to trust your swing, though, you have to have something to trust. Start small.
A few weeks ago in the Transforming Your Short Game post, I asked you to hit every short shot forward, and let the club get the ball in the air. That’s pretty easy to learn.
When you go to the course, concentrate on doing that. Play all your other shots as you normally do, but bear down on those short ones and learn how to use your mind in a way that you play with what you practiced.
At first you will have to do it consciously, but after a while hitting short shots forward will become second nature. You will have learned how to trust.
Then pick another shot and work on it the same way. When you learn how to trust that stroke, move on to another one, and so on, working up gradually to your fullest swing.
I think you will see the payoff quickly.