Before we hit a shot, our mind must be relaxed and at peace with what we are about to do.
Now it might sound odd to think about being at peace with something as minor as hitting a golf ball, compared to the truly big things in life that deserve that frame of mind.
Yet, whenever we are challenged and have to perform our best, we are challenged in the same way, and we respond in the same way, regardless of the nature of the challenge. That’s the way our mind works.
Since this is a blog post, and not a book, I can’t address all the issues that arise from this simple beginning. I’ll just pick out one, and hope it helps you in some small way.
The mind leads the body. What you feel in your body is a reflection of what you feel in your mind.
When there is tension in your mind, you will feel it somewhere in your body, guaranteed. You might have become so used to it that you do not notice it, but it’s there. I promise you.
In golf, mental tension is often felt in the upper body, in the shoulders and across the upper chest at shoulder level. That tension radiates down to your arms and hands. They all feel tight, like force is being applied, but not against anything. It’s just there, and it’s an indicator that you’re not ready to hit the shot.
When address the ball, check yourself for this tension. If it’s there, get rid of it. It won’t help you swing the way you have trained yourself to. Remember the tension there because of what’s in your mind, so you get rid of it by relaxing your mind.
Ask yourself. How much tension do you have in your mind when you make a practice swing? None at all, I would imagine. Then step up to the ball with that same feeling in your mind and swing away.
I’m not promising you that you’ll hit a stellar shot, but I am promising you the odds of hitting shots like you expect to hit will be much greater with a relaxed mind than with a tense mind.
If you think about it, many of your bad shots were caused by mental tension in the moment rather than bad technique. This is one way to solve the problem.