In watching much of the golf over the weekend, there was one thing that stood out in Dufner’s game that I think can help you out.
I’m sure you have all seen the exaggerated, numerous waggles Dufner performs before each shot. Well, during his pre-shot routine, Dufner focuses largely on the target, just as a reactive athlete would do in numerous other sports.
His long glances at the target and waggles to keep the body moving then lead to a very brief pause over the ball before he pulls the trigger and the swing begins.
This focus on the target is common in other sports, just as a basketball player prepares for a shot or a tennis player reacts to the ball that is coming over the net toward them.
The only problem, and therefore difference with golf, is that the golf ball is stationary, just waiting to be hit! The most similar example I can think of, is a free-throw shot in basketball, where the ball is effectively stationary.
However, what do players do? Do they stand stationary and let tension creep into their body, or do they bounce the ball to keep themselves moving, whilst almost exclusively focusing on the basket?
In golf, what this stationary ball often leads to is attention being drawn exclusively toward the ball, with little or no attention paid to the target. As a result, there is often an extended pause over the ball, as the golfer struggles to pull the trigger and begin the swing.
Lots of thought is placed on the ball and body movements, and subsequently the ‘reaction’ to the target is lost, and Dufner-esque fluidity is gone.
The next time you are out playing or practicing, try and flip this the other way around.
Your intention is to get the ball to the hole or what you have decided to be your target, so therefore, spend the majority of your time locked into the target rather than being fixated on the ball.