or Connect
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Talk › Swing thoughts as Words in Your Mind? Bad idea.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Swing thoughts as Words in Your Mind? Bad idea.

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
There's a forum in the practice ground called "swing thoughts". And we're often told that we should have one, or at most two, thoughts in our minds when we swing the club.

Well, I'm coming to doubt this idea. Since returning to the game five months ago, I've put in a lot of hours on the range, the practice ground and the course. And the more I practise, the less I think.

In my view, thinking simply gets in the way. The purpose of practice is to develop a conditioned reflex that one can repeat without thinking. As time goes on, I get more obsessive about thinking about my set-up, ensuring that my posture is correct and that I'm properly aligned, and then I try to get my mind out of the way and just hit the thing. If I'm thinking while I'm swinging, I'm sure to screw up.
post #2 of 51

I think people tend to equate "thinking" with "mechanical" when that's not what I mean when I say swing thought. It's more about a feel that helps you with your priority piece.

 

So let's say you're working on Key #2, you might make some practice swings making sure the left knee stays flexed, really pressing into the ground. Then on the play swing you have that feel fresh in your mind and try to re-create it over the ball. Sometimes a swing thought can be as simple as making sure your feet are turned out at address.

post #3 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post

I think people tend to equate "thinking" with "mechanical" when that's not what I mean when I say swing thought. It's more about a feel that helps you with your priority piece.

So let's say you're working on Key #2, you might make some practice swings making sure the left knee stays flexed, really pressing into the ground. Then on the play swing you have that feel fresh in your mind and try to re-create it over the ball. Sometimes a swing thought can be as simple as making sure your feet are turned out at address.

I don't disagree. Of course one needs to think about one's swing, because without thought, one can't change.

I'll try to be clearer. When I'm practising, I'm thinking. I'm rehearsing all sorts of moves that I hope will help me hit the ball better. And while I'm rehearsing them, I'm quite prepared for the fact that in the short term, they'll make me hit the ball worse until I get used to them.

But when I'm standing over the ball to make a shot on the course, I want my thinking to be done when I have set up to the shot. Once I have started my backswing, I don't want my conscious mind to intrude, I want my muscle memory to take over.

Forgive the indelicacy, but it's a bit like sex. It's better when you lose yourself in it.
post #4 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by chasm View Post


I don't disagree. Of course one needs to think about one's swing, because without thought, one can't change.

I'll try to be clearer. When I'm practising, I'm thinking. I'm rehearsing all sorts of moves that I hope will help me hit the ball better. And while I'm rehearsing them, I'm quite prepared for the fact that in the short term, they'll make me hit the ball worse until I get used to them.

 

I think even when practicing it's also best to only focus on one thing at a time. More on that in this thread

 Simple, Specific, Slow, Short, and Success - The Five "S"s of Great Practice 

post #5 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 

I think people tend to equate "thinking" with "mechanical" when that's not what I mean when I say swing thought. It's more about a feel that helps you with your priority piece.

 

So let's say you're working on Key #2, you might make some practice swings making sure the left knee stays flexed, really pressing into the ground. Then on the play swing you have that feel fresh in your mind and try to re-create it over the ball. Sometimes a swing thought can be as simple as making sure your feet are turned out at address.

Do you have a swing thought when your on the course or does it change depending on what your working on?

post #6 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by chasm View Post

But when I'm standing over the ball to make a shot on the course, I want my thinking to be done when I have set up to the shot. Once I have started my backswing, I don't want my conscious mind to intrude, I want my muscle memory to take over.

 

That doesn't work for everyone. I'd venture to say that it doesn't work for the majority. Most golfers, IMO, play better with a single simple swing thought that directly addresses their priority piece.

post #7 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakester23 View Post
 

Do you have a swing thought when your on the course or does it change depending on what your working on?

 

Yes I have a swing thought/feel when I'm on the course, it'll be directly related to my priority piece.

 

If I have to hit a specialty shot, then it might change and the focus will be more on the priority for pulling that shot off. If I have to hit a low shot under a limb or something, I'm going to make some exaggerated practice swings and make sure I stay flexed over on the followthrough. The priority is making sure the ball comes out low so I'm not going to "stretch" my lead side on the downswing/followthrough.

post #8 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

That doesn't work for everyone. I'd venture to say that it doesn't work for the majority. Most golfers, IMO, play better with a single simple swing thought that directly addresses their priority piece.

Maybe we're at cross purposes. When I'm setting up, I'll think about a bunch of stuff to go through my routine. Alignment, posture, slowly away, all that stuff. But once I am taking the club away from the ball, I don't want a conscious thought in my head because my conscious mind can't keep up. I just want to replicate the feel that i know (because of a lot of practice that I've been thinking about ) is right.

Maybe it would be easier to understand my meaning if I use an analogy. When I'm driving my car on a busy street, all sorts of things are happening. Pedestrians and cyclists potentially getting in my way, lights changing, all that stuff. I don't think consciously about that - if I did, I couldn't possibly process the information fast enough - I just react and implement the moves that I have practised through driving for 30+ years. It's a conditioned, unthinking, reflex.
post #9 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by chasm View Post

Maybe we're at cross purposes. When I'm setting up, I'll think about a bunch of stuff to go through my routine. Alignment, posture, slowly away, all that stuff. But once I am taking the club away from the ball, I don't want a conscious thought in my head because my conscious mind can't keep up. I just want to replicate the feel that i know (because of a lot of practice that I've been thinking about ) is right.

Maybe it would be easier to understand my meaning if I use an analogy. When I'm driving my car on a busy street, all sorts of things are happening. Pedestrians and cyclists potentially getting in my way, lights changing, all that stuff. I don't think consciously about that - if I did, I couldn't possibly process the information fast enough - I just react and implement the moves that I have practised through driving for 30+ years. It's a conditioned, unthinking, reflex.

 

Who is to say that if during your backswing (there's plenty of time to think of things there in particular) you wouldn't think of something and be a 15?

 

We've all heard stories PGA Tour players winning events talking about how they had a swing thought that carried them through. You can't make sweeping statements about how everyone would best function.

 

I have a swing thought I use currently in transition. It's not a sentence, it's not really even a word. But it's a "feel-thought" that I use. Thoughts are nearly instantaneous. They don't take a lot of time, and they can be done during a golf swing. If you can't do that, then perhaps that's good for you to know, but it may not apply to everyone.

post #10 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

That doesn't work for everyone. I'd venture to say that it doesn't work for the majority. Most golfers, IMO, play better with a single simple swing thought that directly addresses their priority piece.

 

I agree with this. I get all bad when I start thinking, "Ok head still, make sure not to do this, ok stop swing there, SWING EASY!!! Why is the ball going over there!!!" 

 

For me I really like feeling my priority piece and feeling 60% tempo right now.  

post #11 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by chasm View Post


Maybe we're at cross purposes. When I'm setting up, I'll think about a bunch of stuff to go through my routine. Alignment, posture, slowly away, all that stuff. But once I am taking the club away from the ball, I don't want a conscious thought in my head because my conscious mind can't keep up. I just want to replicate the feel that i know (because of a lot of practice that I've been thinking about ) is right.

Maybe it would be easier to understand my meaning if I use an analogy. When I'm driving my car on a busy street, all sorts of things are happening. Pedestrians and cyclists potentially getting in my way, lights changing, all that stuff. I don't think consciously about that - if I did, I couldn't possibly process the information fast enough - I just react and implement the moves that I have practised through driving for 30+ years. It's a conditioned, unthinking, reflex.

 

I would typically put the address, alignment, posture into the kind of thinking you do when you drive. Unless of course you're working on change something like a grip change or adding foot flare.

post #12 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

Who is to say that if during your backswing (there's plenty of time to think of things there in particular) you wouldn't think of something and be a 15?

LOL. If I could putt I'd be a 12. Seriously. I'm working on it. But the fact that I'm a poor golfer is almost immaterial to this discussion, whatI'm interested in is how people misinterpret the idea of a "swing thought".
Quote:
I have a swing thought I use currently in transition. It's not a sentence, it's not really even a word. But it's a "feel-thought" that I use. Thoughts are nearly instantaneous.

Now we are getting somewhere, and this is exactly the idea I had in mind when starting this thread. "Thoughts" don't have to be words, they don't have to be entirely conscious. What we are trying to do, it seems to me, is reproduce the impulse, or feeling, that triggers the move that causes us to reliably repeat the successful swing. My main point is that for me (and, I suspect, a lot of others who struggle to interpret the advice they receive from professionals) describing it as a thought, rather than a feeling, is unhelpful.
post #13 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by chasm View Post

LOL. If I could putt I'd be a 12. Seriously. I'm working on it. But the fact that I'm a poor golfer is almost immaterial to this discussion, whatI'm interested in is how people misinterpret the idea of a "swing thought".

 

It's OT, but I doubt it. Perhaps you're the one-in-a-million, but PGA Tour players aren't the putters people think they are. Post a video of your putting stroke in your My Swing thread or read the many putting threads here.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chasm View Post

Now we are getting somewhere, and this is exactly the idea I had in mind when starting this thread. "Thoughts" don't have to be words, they don't have to be entirely conscious. What we are trying to do, it seems to me, is reproduce the impulse, or feeling, that triggers the move that causes us to reliably repeat the successful swing. My main point is that for me (and, I suspect, a lot of others who struggle to interpret the advice they receive from professionals) describing it as a thought, rather than a feeling, is unhelpful.

 

And for many it's an actual thought, an actual word, and not just a feeling.

 

I'm going to refuse to make generalizations in this thread except to generalize that people are all fairly different from each other.

post #14 of 51

I try to have two.  

 

1. Steady head

2. Tempo - actually I think, pause or hesitate at the top.

 

Then again, I'm not a scratch golfer but I can usually hit the ball well when I remember these two things. 

post #15 of 51

@chasm. What was that you said about sex?  Now there's a thought worth having. 

post #16 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joekelly View Post
 

@chasm. What was that you said about sex?  Now there's a thought worth having. 

LOL. 

 

I was serious, though. I find I need to be "in the moment" and that raising thoughts to a conscious level is simply a distraction. And just for the sake of clarity, I'm now talking about golf.

post #17 of 51

the only thing I'm thinking while swing is to "remember to look at the ball." It's the same swing thought everytime on golf course when taking the stroke!

 

maybe it's because my neck flexibility isn't perfect to be honest. It's because of too much computer gaming I think.

 

I think I get only 80deg neck turn comfortably. Trying to guesstimate the amount of neck turn from mirror.

post #18 of 51

I like to keep one swing thought in my head for the practice swing and sometimes for the actual swing if I am struggling.  Something simple and usually my priority piece.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Golf Talk
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Talk › Swing thoughts as Words in Your Mind? Bad idea.