In almost every mental game book, you are told that having a swing thought can focus your mind on swinging the club the right way, and help keep out intrusive thoughts that would otherwise disrupt your swing.
Using a swing thought while you’re swinging at the ball is the fundamental mistake of the mental game. This is none other than allowing the conscious mind to intrude into a process that it should stay out of.
Most of what we do in life is automatic. We do not need conscious thought to eat a bowl of cereal, for example. We have done that so many times that we no longer have to pay careful attention to getting cereal in the spoon, and not spilling it while we bring the spoon up to our mouth.
In the same way, if we have a well-schooled golf swing, we don’t have to keep reminding ourselves how to swing.
A concert pianist spends no time thinking about where the fingers should go. To think about this during a performance would likely bring it to a frustrating halt.
When you’re over the ball, swing thoughts make you concentrate on just one part of your swing, to the detriment of all the rest. It’s best to avoid them altogether.
I have to admit, though, that a swing thought can work in the very short term.
Have you ever been on the range and had a hot swing idea pop into your head, started doing it, and hit three or four great shots in a row, and then, back to normal?
The magic can fade that fast. And then what do you do?
When you are swing thought oriented, golf becomes a continual search for the magic thought that will help you do what you can do quite well if you would just leave things alone.
Again, swing thoughts insert the conscious mind into a process where it doesn’t belong. If you can play golf with a calm mind, and make swinging the club as simple as eating your cereal, you don’t need any more help. You don’t have to remind your body how to hit this shot. It already knows what to do.
My new book, The Golfing Self, is now available at www.therecreationalgolfer.com. It will change everything about the way you play.