Aim & Alignment Series
The Golfers Mind
Learning And Focus
The amount of data received by your brain through its senses, sight, hearing, feeling, taste, smell and the functions that your brain carries out automatically are quite simply astounding! Your mind is an incredible bio machine capable of far more than the average person realises. A few people have figured this out and their minds have taken them to the top of their chosen fields. You would do well to trust your unconscious mind more with your golf too.
Your mind also loves to learn and in fact it is even a necessary survival tool. It is from learning that your unconscious mind adapts, improves and scans for new and better ways to achieve your desired results. The important thing here is to accept that when your brain gets either no information, poor information or false information, the results are going to be far from good and perhaps even disastrous. Certainly if you give your brain imprecise information, you will get a lot more imprecise results. Poor information in = Poor result out. In computer terms – Garbage In = Garbage Out.
If your boss asks you to prepare a presentation that is vital for the company and you go off and spend days preparing the presentation but unknown to you, the information you are getting is wrong… Well you probably won’t have a job soon after the disastrous presentation.
The brain learns instinctively not only to avoid injury or death but also to improve and better your circumstances. Do you have trouble setting your mind to learning about something you love to do?
Where am I going with this and what has all this got to do with Aim and Golf?
Here’s the scenario. You are on the T and decide that you will be happy just to get the ball somewhere in the fairway. You may even have a little hope for the middle but by and large you are just thinking “keep it in the fairway.” Now let’s suppose that on this occasion your swing actually manages to do this and the ball ends up on the right edge of the fairway. Just how much can your brain learn from this? Let’s suppose you miss the fairway and end up 10 yards into the rough, what is the best that your brain can learn from this? Perhaps a little more than the first example but again not much.
The best your mind can learn is that it missed a big target (perhaps the fairway is 50 yards wide) by only 10 yards. In your mind’s terms that is not too bad, after all, the target you gave it was huge and imprecise and on one shot it hit it and on another it was very close. Input average to poor information and get average to poor results back. Perfect match.
In Terms of Performance.
If you have a precise target to aim at, then the information going back to your brain
on its performance is precise and it will be able to make far better judgements on
what it needs to do to adjust in the future for better results. Precise information
is critical in a game such as golf which has such small margins for error. Remember
that your clubface only has to be out of alignment by a few degrees as the ball comes
off it, and the ball goes no-
You must input precision by targeting precisely. This will give you better results in the first place and allow you
to feedback quality information to yourself on the actual results good or bad, so you can learn and improve.
No professional golfer would take targeting lightly. They know the immense importance of asking precision results of their mind and how this helps performance and they know the importance of being able to judge results and get accurate information back. IE – Targeted small spot of greener grass in left half of fairway for best approach to green, Missed by 5 yards. Good precise feedback of results to brain which challenge it and get it "thinking" of ways to improve and give you your desired result.
I am not saying that precise targeting will give you precision results every time, it won't, but it will give you better results more often and your mind is constantly challenged to learn.
As we have mentioned in previous articles, you must not target the fairway, you must target and exact spot in the fairway. Do not use a tree in the distance as a target line, use a small branch or the smallest part of the tree you can see without strain.
Focus – There is another fantastic advantage to picking precise targets, as small as you can see without eye strain. It helps to zero down and get into a more focused state of mind, which is always good when preparing to hit a shot.
Try This Exercise
Stand looking along a fairway or along the field at your practice range. Take in the whole panoramic view from as far left and right as you can see. Keep your head pointed down the fairway and just notice how wide you can actually see using your peripheral vision. Virtually 180 degrees, quite fantastic. Now zero down and only focus on an area 100 yards wide in front of you. Then zero down to just fifty. Keep going, zeroing down smaller and smaller until you are focused completely, intently with almost binocular vision, on a tiny spot. A precise target. Notice how this routine really starts to focus and concentrate the mind. The more you practice zeroing in to a precise target and increasing you concentration and focus, the better you will get at it.
This increased Focus and Concentration, combined with Precise Targeting and Quality Learning Information back to the brain based on results, will start to improve your performances very quickly. For some of my clients the results are immediate.
Next – Article 6 In series – Consequences Of Poor Aim & Alignment
Author Mark Wright -
Copyright Mark Wright 2009
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