Wellunless youre a playing professional, lifes every day obligations may restrict the number of rounds you get to play. Even so, this does not mean your game has to suffer. You can improve your game whether youre actually hitting balls or not. Often times Im asked by clients how to improve play ON the course. My response sometimes surprises them. I tell them they can develop the key performance skills both on and OFF the course. Of course, there is no substitute for playing the game but this does not mean the key performance traits can only be developed while on the course.
Top performers develop their overall games off the course as much as on. By developing your all around game off the course you create a longer term process that becomes something you can transfer on to the course more easily. Developing your key skills off the course creates a feeling of confidence and builds a stronger foundation. One big trap amateur golfers slip into is trying to turn it on when they get to the course. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. Why rely on something so inconsistent?
No matter what climate you live in or what your outside obligations; you can develop your mechanical and mental skills away from the game. Here are some ideas to consider to help develop your key Performance traits:
1. Create Mini-Routines
Whether youre putting on the carpet in your living room or hitting balls at your local range, try to implement a mini ritual. Rituals and routines are often taken for granted. When done properly, they are designed to set you up for success. Its been my experience that the majority of golfers do not use routines that are highly effective in triggering success without realizing it. Develop a mini routine that gets you mentally, emotionally and physically ready to succeed over every shot.
2. Train Your Body To Relax
I believe stress and muscle tension are responsible for the majority of errors made in sports. Simply put: tight muscles translate into poor mechanics. Tight muscles reduce flexibility and fluidity of the golf swing. They also restrict the flow of energy in your body which reduces power.
Triggering relaxation and reduced muscle tension is something that can be done every day. By practicing yoga, breathing exercises, taichi , meditation or any other form of deep relaxation you can train the body to return to that open and relaxed state. The more you train it; the more it begins to show up on the course.
3. Sharpen Your Focus
Sharpening mental focus is also something that can be successfully achieved off the golf course. Golf, as in life, is a matter of controlling mental attention and this is a skill that can be strengthened every day. The deep relaxation exercises listed above are also great methods to increase focus. Real concentration becomes effortless when you practice every day. For many golfers, concentration can be work and even tiring. Pure focus is not tiring. It is something that causes you to gain energy rather than lose it.
Away from the course try this simple exercise: place a lit candle 2 feet away from you at eye level. Sit comfortably and gaze at the flame for 2 minutes. Your task is to completely absorb your attention on the flame. As you do this you may notice mental noise wanting your attention. No matter what distraction you hear, simply bring your attention back to the flame no matter how many times you have to do it! This is a terrific exercise that allows you to direct your own attention and at the same time, remain open and absorbed on a single object (in this case the flame).
The challenge for many golfers is NOT in knowing these things are important but in actually DOING something about them. There is one fundamental truth that remains: in order to improve your game you must DO something; take action on something and do it on a regular basis. What we do on a regular basis becomes a habit over time. Are your habits helping or hurting your game? All of these skills are developed as part of the FlowZone Golf program and when people formally develop them they tend to see results.
Start improving your game every day!
Note: The FlowZone TeleCourse dates and times are now set up. Classes are set to begin in February. You also have the option of taking the class you want either during the week or on the weekend. To receive a complete course listing, dates, times and very reasonable fees; email: David@theflowzone.net. Class sizes are limited!
Copyright 2005 David Breslow. David is the author of Wired To Win and offers a highly acclaimed FlowZone program: Your Resilience Factor: Adapt and Excel in any Environment Workshop and TeleCourse that takes performance to the next level. David has appeared on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio, etc. For more programs/services/products or sign up for a free newsletter (write newsletter in subject box). Contact: David Breslow 847.681.1698 Email: David@theflowzone.net or visit the web: www.theflowzone.net For book orders call toll free: 1.888.280.7715