“Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half inch course, the space between your ears.” – Bobby Jones
Most often athletes ignore the psychological aspect of sport and concentrate merely on the physical aspect instead. Famous golfer Jack Nicklaus says, “Psychological preparation is the most important factor at top levels of competition.” Not everyone competes at the top level, but what he is saying is that the more you progress in your chosen sport the more important the psychological dimension becomes. Perhaps athletes neglect psychological preparation because it seems to be too complicated. Or maybe they don’t want to read about it, in fear that it will make them think too much, which will affect their game. Some sportsmen have a day where everything just happens and they perform instinctively without much preparation. Though it’s been proven that even the top players cannot rely on this theory. One has to concentrate whilst being competitive and plan your game.
When you are playing a game of golf you literally have hours of thinking time, plenty of time for any negative gremlins to move in on you and give you a mental run-around. This can happen when you a playing poorly but sometimes it is even more likely when you are playing well.
Visualisation, mental rehearsal, concentration or imagery are all ways of saying the same thing and are vital skills for the game of golf. We will all visualise or see the big picture better when we are relaxed. Tension and anxiety will have a tendency to create a sort of mental tunnel block that will prevent any golfer from “seeing the big picture.” What is in the mind is in the body and vice versa. When you are tense it inhibits you from being focused and as a result may effect your swing or your game in general. If you can learn to relax, your mind will open up and you will be able to focus on your game as well as thinking positively
One should never hit a golf shot without having a very sharp focused picture of it in your mind. First ‘see’ the ball, where you want it to finish, focusing on the target. Then the scene quickly changes and you ‘see’ the ball going there; its path, trajectory and shape, even its behavior on landing. Then there is sort of a fade out and the next scene shows you making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality.
This exercise should be part of your pre-shot routine which will get you into the best possible physical and mental state each time you swing and have a holistic approach to ones game.