Some Food For Thought...
Target Oriented Golf is of most benefit to Professional and low/mid handicap golfers but if you are a beginner the sooner you become aware of these skills, the faster you will develop your skills. It is important to understand where you are heading before you set off on your golfing journey or you will, like myself, wander down many country roads looking for the 'perfect' swing for what you thought was the answer to your poor golf performance and you will never arrive at your planned destination.
Let me introduce you to a coaching model which describes 3 distinct PSYCHOLOGICAL phases you need to pass through. Determine where you are on your golf journey:
- Phase 1. Internal Focus (TRAINING mode)
- Phase 2. Proximal Focus (TRAINING mode)
- Phase 3. External Focus (TRUSTING mode)
We often transition to the TRUSTING phase NATURALLY leading to many life skills we master. This does NOT happen in golf due to the way it is being taught. What do you think happens to the boy's ATTENTIONAL FOCUS when a swing coach gets involved? Goodbye Tiger. Understand that you are not being taught HOW to develop external focus in golf and sadly for all concerned that is exactly where golf performance lives.
The most significant element of understanding the above coaching model is this. You can develop the ability to practice on the range in 2 distinctive modes: TRAINING (internal/proximal) when improving technical skills and TRUSTING (external) when practicing how to PLAY golf. Ultimately, trusting mode needs to become your dominant behavior in practice in order for you to trust and perform in competition.
If you think it sounds difficult, go and throw a ball at a Target and simply notice where your focus is and anxiety level. You are physically free of swing thoughts, in the present, visually operating with a quiet pre-frontal cortex. THAT is how to play golf. Notice how the Target provides a COMMITMENT. Take it away, physically or mentally, by focusing on something else and notice what happens. Self talk and self doubt. The lack of target orientation when executing a golf shot results in poor commitment from your physical actions when driving, chipping and putting. Familiar?
IF you have ever wondered why you can trust your non-conscious brain to control a car where your life is at risk but struggle to trust it to putt a golf ball, TOG reveals why.