Most of us take a practice swing before we hit the ball. Before a short shot, two or three. But what is it that you’re practicing? Probably not the thing you should be.
The purpose of a practice swing is to remind yourself of what you want to be doing in six or fewer seconds from now. And what is it that you want to have precise, accurate, and correct muscle memory for? Impact. Only impact.
So instead of taking a full practice swing, take a practice swing that is about 3-4 feet long — just a few feet on each side of the ball. Rehearse what you want your hands to feel like as they pass the clubhead through the ball: hands leading the clubhead, with the clubhead square, on line, and on the right vertical arc.
This is what you want to rehearse before you swing. I guarantee that if you swing while this feeling is still fresh in your mind, you mind will direct your body to make the rest of the swing realize that impact feeling.
Building this into your game does take practice. The practice it takes is to absorb this feeling from your mind into your body without filtering or screening — to shut off your thinking brain and allow your feeling brain to take over.
It might be a good idea to begin practicing this with simple swings, like short pitches. The four feet of swing through impact is a large percentage of that swing, so you won’t get distracted by the club’s movement at remove from the ball. As you get accustomed to retaining the impact feeling into your swing at a ball, move on to longer swings with bigger clubs.
Once you learn how to do it, and once you have the mental discipline do it before any shot, your shot-making will improve beyond measure.