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Mental Focus

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

So you always hear about Tigers mental game and how good he is. But what exactly does that mean? What should be running through your mind during a round? How can I improve?

 

If I had to guess Id say I have a fairly good mental game but have no Idea! I keep myself very calm with ease and dont suffer much under pressure. Al ot like the Duf.

 

Thanks

post #2 of 20

I wish I know the magic.    If I am able to focus on every strokes in a round, I will be shooting scratch instead of 90.   I think the lack of mental focus is costing me the most strokes by far.   But there aren't too much instruction out there on keeping it together in between ears.     

 

 

I do play better if other players are watching my shot.   Perhaps, their watching my shot helps me focus better (so that I won't look foolish).   Perhaps, I should visualize people are watching my every shot :-D.

post #3 of 20

It's hard to do without having real confidence in your game (tough to fake it I mean).  I've played probly 15-20 rounds where I knew without a doubt I was going to hit every shot solid (then you're free to focus on the shot itself), and they're the best rounds I remember playing.  It's hard to keep that going though when you're not playing or at least hitting balls every day.  The pros are going out there and feeling that kind of confidence with every shot, that's half of what makes them so freakin good.  Tiger's got this "I'm gonna beat the crap out of you" attitude that's tough to play against, and he actually believes it too.  That's powerful, and the reason why he used to be so intimidating.

 

I'd say for mere mortals such as ourselves, the best thing to do is practice blocking out all expectations of a certain result and focus on what you want to do with each shot, then execute without thinking about it.  You hit it crappy?  So what.. Also, you can think back to good shots you've hit recently and get that "hey I know I can hit this shot" feeling.

post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick1998bunker View Post
 

So you always hear about Tigers mental game and how good he is. But what exactly does that mean? What should be running through your mind during a round? How can I improve?

 

If I had to guess Id say I have a fairly good mental game but have no Idea! I keep myself very calm with ease and dont suffer much under pressure. Al ot like the Duf.

 

Thanks

 

First, i think majority of the mental thing was because he was so good that the people around him crumbled more than him being that strong mentally. I think a lot of people feared him. Now your not seeing that. Its not Tiger isn't as intense or focused, its the field has caught up. 
 
 
Taking this from Urban Meyer and my Ohio State Buckeyes. They wear bracelets saying
 
E + R = O, Event + Response = Outcome
 
Its that simple, you can't control the event, all you can control is your response. How you respond determines your outcome. 
 
Lets take an example, lets say your playing a match a guy drains a long putt on you for birdie. I hate that, so annoying ;) Its a tight par 4 on the next hole. The guy jacks a ball into the trees. What my friend would call, PBFU, post birdie **** up.
 
So here's your event. Your down, the guy gained momentum, you see he messed up, you have a chance now. What's your response. This is where it gets tricky. You have to bring in many factors. Hows your game now, are you aggressive, do you pull the driver, do you just put the ball in play. Cause I know some people might think, "Oh here's my moment," and pulls the Driver. Maybe they had success hitting hybrid or iron off the tee on this hole before, but they go out of character. This could be a bad response to the event at hand. 
 
You have to take in many factors and come up with a response. This is what made Tiger so good. Its the CLUTCH gene. He was able to see the event, and make a response that gave him an advantageous outcome. 
 
To me its knowing all the variables with your game, knowing your self mentally, and then implementing your response. 
 
Here's the thing, pressure is part of this. Its something you can control. Its a reason a lot of people go with strict routines in their golf game. It just depends on how you want to handle it. For me, its just becoming comfortable with my game. I really don't get anxious anymore. Like lets say I have a putt to win. Basically I just get into the zone of putting. I get absorbed into what I need to do to make this putt. Stress of what the outcome of my response is thrown out. 
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the responses. I'm pretty good at course management especially under pressure
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutter View Post

It's hard to do without having real confidence in your game (tough to fake it I mean).  I've played probly 15-20 rounds where I knew without a doubt I was going to hit every shot solid (then you're free to focus on the shot itself), and they're the best rounds I remember playing.  It's hard to keep that going though when you're not playing or at least hitting balls every day.  The pros are going out there and feeling that kind of confidence with every shot, that's half of what makes them so freakin good.  Tiger's got this "I'm gonna beat the crap out of you" attitude that's tough to play against, and he actually believes it too.  That's powerful, and the reason why he used to be so intimidating.

I'd say for mere mortals such as ourselves, the best thing to do is practice blocking out all expectations of a certain result and focus on what you want to do with each shot, then execute without thinking about it.  You hit it crappy?  So what.. Also, you can think back to good shots you've hit recently and get that "hey I know I can hit this shot" feeling.
and how do you block out expectations without thinking about it. For me if I think about tht I have a better chance of messing up. I try and just play it like normal

I also need to work on that confidence thing. I got really good awhile ago then went on vacation and came back with the sh****. Lost all confidence then got good again but then lost it from a lingering pull and not working on my short game. But I'm a little better now. Hitting good shots without confidence
post #6 of 20

One shot at a time. Know what you brought to the table that day and lean on it.

 

And mostly make putts. The more par putts I make the smarter I look.

post #7 of 20

Part of our practice hours every week is devoted to mental training.

 

Lately our sports psychologist has been talking about where your focus is.  He has used the saying plenty of times "Where the mind goes energy flows."  It makes alot of sense to me, and I have used it alot on a shot where there is alot on the line.  Instead of focusing on that water, or "damn am I going to hook this, what if I do I bring in a big number"  Instead simplify things.... ie, What would you tell a 6 year old in this position?  Hit it there, this way, at the flag, on the green, on that shelf, etc.  This morning, we were talking about the analogy "getting to green light and staying there."  What I mean by that is, say you hit a bad shot, or maybe even 2 or three in a row, you go into what was explained as yellow light or red light.  You start degrading yourself, "you suck, why do you play, you are awful," rather than trusting what you have put into the game and really focusing on the positives, remaining loose.  It is alot easier said than done, especially when your fear of ball-flight comes in.... ie am I going to hook this or slap cut it in the weeds?  In the past we have talked about playing fearless and really trusting yourself.  Is there a 240 carry over water going for a par 5?  Have you hit the shot before?  Trust yourself and rip it.  Play fearless and stay aggressive, especially in 36 hole tournaments.  Although if you aren't hitting it great and are in the yellow light stage, maybe laying up to 50 yards would be a better play, not only for your scorecard, but for your teammates.  If you're in green light RIP IT and do it!  Don't be afraid to make eagle.  What could go wrong?  You would go -2 on a hole?  Are you not suppose to do that?  YES yes you are suppose to.  Play fearless!!! Tell yourself you're awesome.  When someone asks how is your day?  It's going GREAT.  How are you playing? PURING IT.  If you say something long enough you start to believe yourself, whether that is positive or negative talk, thats up to you.  #2cents

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick1998bunker View Post

I also need to work on that confidence thing. I got really good awhile ago then went on vacation and came back with the sh****.

First things first. If you're ever going to be good at golf, you need to learn to not bleep out the word "shanks." It's just a word, and it can't hurt you.

Shanks shanks shanks.

Unless you meant to type "came back with the shits," which I suppose isn't all that uncommon after a vacation. In that case you should see a doctor.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
A gun is just metal, it can't hurt u

I like to play it safe
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick1998bunker View Post

A gun is just metal, it can't hurt u

I like to play it safe

 

I'm trying to think of a nicer way to put it, but how do you expect to go low if you aren't aggressive?

post #11 of 20

Just telling you from what I've learned from playing around better players.  They hit shots I didn't even see in my arsenal.  Played at a pub links with a kid that played at Indiana University.  He had 230 over a waste bunker uphill into a 15-20 MPH wind... What does he do?  Rips 3 wood just over the green, gets up and down, and makes a birdie.... It just opened my eyes to how to play.  To play aggressive and trust yourself.  He makes birdie, I make a par, which isn't a bad score, but there are just ways to score out there.

post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick1998bunker View Post
 

What should be running through your mind during a round?

 

Confidence in your ability is all you really need.

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickolasjt View Post
 

Part of our practice hours every week is devoted to mental training.

 

Lately our sports psychologist has been talking about where your focus is.  He has used the saying plenty of times "Where the mind goes energy flows."  It makes alot of sense to me, and I have used it alot on a shot where there is alot on the line.  Instead of focusing on that water, or "damn am I going to hook this, what if I do I bring in a big number"  Instead simplify things.... ie, What would you tell a 6 year old in this position?  Hit it there, this way, at the flag, on the green, on that shelf, etc.  This morning, we were talking about the analogy "getting to green light and staying there."  What I mean by that is, say you hit a bad shot, or maybe even 2 or three in a row, you go into what was explained as yellow light or red light.  You start degrading yourself, "you suck, why do you play, you are awful," rather than trusting what you have put into the game and really focusing on the positives, remaining loose.  It is alot easier said than done, especially when your fear of ball-flight comes in.... ie am I going to hook this or slap cut it in the weeds?  In the past we have talked about playing fearless and really trusting yourself.  Is there a 240 carry over water going for a par 5?  Have you hit the shot before?  Trust yourself and rip it.  Play fearless and stay aggressive, especially in 36 hole tournaments.  Although if you aren't hitting it great and are in the yellow light stage, maybe laying up to 50 yards would be a better play, not only for your scorecard, but for your teammates.  If you're in green light RIP IT and do it!  Don't be afraid to make eagle.  What could go wrong?  You would go -2 on a hole?  Are you not suppose to do that?  YES yes you are suppose to.  Play fearless!!! Tell yourself you're awesome.  When someone asks how is your day?  It's going GREAT.  How are you playing? PURING IT.  If you say something long enough you start to believe yourself, whether that is positive or negative talk, thats up to you.  #2cents

 

 

I agree with this.  You sound like you are perhaps a little more intense about it, which is perfectly fine, but I am constantly trying to keep a positive attitude and convince myself that I'm a good golfer. Golf is a very mental game, and your attitude is just as important as any other factor when on the course. I think that's why so many people seem to hit the ball great on the range, but then struggle on the course. At the range, it's much easier to "get to the green light." A few good swings and you think "man, I'm hitting the ball well today." That is because you have no worries except focusing on the shot itself. When you get on the course though, despite having the same shots that you practice at the range, doubt and uncertainty start to work their way into your head. "I need to watch out for the water on the right" or "Stay out of the OB on the left." It's good to conscious of these hazards, but it's still the same shot that you crushed 20 times in a row at the driving range with no problem.

 

A certain amount of arrogance in sports can be a good thing. You don't want to act like a prick, and really don't even have to come across as arrogant to competitors at all, but it's okay to think that you are good. In fact, if you don't think you are good then how can you expect good results.

post #14 of 20

Practice. of course, and confidence in the next shot.

 

I remember a few years back when I was playing some awful golf and didn't have a positive attitude over any shot. One day I was playing with the Club champion (+2 handicap) and we were on one of the more difficult greens on the golf course. I had a brutal downhill-sidehill putt and I said, "this is a three-putt waiting to happen." The Club champ (who was my partner in the game we were playing that day), ripped me up and down for even thinking that, let alone saying it out loud. "Stop moaning and make the friggin' thing!"

 

Because he thinks he is going to hit every shot where he wants and will make every putt he sees, most of the time it happens. You get what you ask for, and if you think you may three putt, you will. If you think you will make it, it is likely you will.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickolasjt View Post
 

Part of our practice hours every week is devoted to mental training.

 

Lately our sports psychologist has been talking about where your focus is.  He has used the saying plenty of times "Where the mind goes energy flows."  It makes alot of sense to me, and I have used it alot on a shot where there is alot on the line.  Instead of focusing on that water, or "damn am I going to hook this, what if I do I bring in a big number"  Instead simplify things.... ie, What would you tell a 6 year old in this position?  Hit it there, this way, at the flag, on the green, on that shelf, etc.  This morning, we were talking about the analogy "getting to green light and staying there."  What I mean by that is, say you hit a bad shot, or maybe even 2 or three in a row, you go into what was explained as yellow light or red light.  You start degrading yourself, "you suck, why do you play, you are awful," rather than trusting what you have put into the game and really focusing on the positives, remaining loose.  It is alot easier said than done, especially when your fear of ball-flight comes in.... ie am I going to hook this or slap cut it in the weeds?  In the past we have talked about playing fearless and really trusting yourself.  Is there a 240 carry over water going for a par 5?  Have you hit the shot before?  Trust yourself and rip it.  Play fearless and stay aggressive, especially in 36 hole tournaments.  Although if you aren't hitting it great and are in the yellow light stage, maybe laying up to 50 yards would be a better play, not only for your scorecard, but for your teammates.  If you're in green light RIP IT and do it!  Don't be afraid to make eagle.  What could go wrong?  You would go -2 on a hole?  Are you not suppose to do that?  YES yes you are suppose to.  Play fearless!!! Tell yourself you're awesome.  When someone asks how is your day?  It's going GREAT.  How are you playing? PURING IT.  If you say something long enough you start to believe yourself, whether that is positive or negative talk, thats up to you.  #2cents

 

I get what your saying there. But i think you got to be careful because even sometimes if your mental state says green, the shot might dictate a yellow or red.

 

Basically I've just gotten to the point were I play each shot as its own event. I don't feel guilty about horrible results, I don't feel obligated that I owe a team to make up. It is what it is. I use to get upset, but that's because it was my own personal expectations of my own game. I don't feel pressure of other things around me, just the type of person I am. I still get upset. If the next hole is wide open, i might let out some frustration and rip into one. But besides that, I just try to play at a flat line level of emotion. The only time I get anxious is if I know I need a birdie to break par for 9 or 18 holes. Then I turn that anxious energy into focus energy, and really dig deep into the shot at hand.

post #16 of 20

I find not thinking about anything works best. I have no swing thoughts, when I am standing over the ball my mind is blank. I think of it like when I play basketball. When you catch the ball on the wing in transition your not thinking about what you're going to do to beat the guy in front of you, you just react to what he gives you.

 

The people I have encountered who are going through their 1-5 swing thoughts while they are approaching/standing over the ball usually are terrible.

post #17 of 20

For me, swing thoughts are just a part of it.   If I can remember to hit two practice swings on every shot (putting to drive), I can shave 2 - 4 strokes per round.  If I can avoid hitting an unpracticed shot, I can shave another stroke per every two or three rounds.   If I don't tee off on certain holes with driver, I'd shave yet another stroke per round.   After I get tired after walking 13 - 14 holes, I forget to rally my mind and body to have a strong finish.  If I do that, I can shave off another stroke or two per round.   Then again, if I tried too hard to focus, it may backfire.  

post #18 of 20

For me, it comes down to being able to see the shot you want in your mind before you hit it.

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