Practice Your Focus to Play with Focus!

“I never hit a shot, not even in practice without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head.” Jack Nicklaus

Our ability to visualize and see shots is a way of telling the brain what movement the body should make. Jack was crystal clear before every shot. Can you say the same for yourself?

There are times when there is so much clutter between my ears that I’ve hit shots and had no idea what I was thinking. At other times I’ve let fear dictate my thoughts. Lately I have been working on the range on my ability to see shots and to focus. Moving away from technical practice and moving forward with mental practice.

“It’s like a color movie. First I ‘see’ where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes and I ‘see’ the ball going there: its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing.” Jack Nicklaus

With the invention of the top tracer lines we are all familiar with seeing lines and shapes of shots on TV these days. Jack invented his own, but for us we are given these visions every time we watch golf. Incorporating these lines into your game can really help your process of visualization. Jack goes into the smallest of details of his shot, from the flight, to its landing spot and how it reacts on landing. When you next play or practice have a think about the detail you use to create your shots. Is there any detail or is it sometimes just hit and hope?

Like everything, these visions need to be worked on in practice. Our focus needs to be honed on and off the golf course. The place to work on your visualize is in your pre-shot routine. Mastering it and making it automatic is the comfort blanket you can carry from hole 1 to 19. Lately I’ve been focusing on my visualization and pre-shot routine with the help of the Collin Montgomerie warm up routine.

The Montgomerie warm up helps you from getting stuck with the same club in your hand on the range, flirting with one technical thought after another. It also keeps you honest and makes you work all the clubs in your bag. I’m not sure where I learned about his warm up or even if it’s true that it’s his, but this is how it goes.

The Collin Montgomerie Warm Up Practice Session.

“I always start with a few basic stretches and then hit two balls with each of the clubs in my bag. I start with my sand wedge, work up to my driver and back down to my sand wedge.” Collin Montgomerie

Hit 2 shots with each club in your bag from LW to driver.

For each shot step off the mat and go through your whole routine.

Try to keep your tempo and timing the same for each shot.

Try to clearly visualize each shot flying through the air. Pick a color for your mental shot tracer line. I like red and gold.

Try to keep the routine the same for each shot.

You only get 2 shots. You can’t hit 3 if one isn’t up to standard.

If you have 13 clubs in the bag not including your putter that’s a 26 ball warm up. After that you can work on the clubs you weren’t so happy with.

What I like about this drill is that it makes you practice everything in the bag, not just your favorites. If your focus is on visualization and routine it will help you transfer your practice on the range to the course. It will turn your block practice into variation practice, though I often keep the target the same. Your aim should be to use visualization and follow the same routine and process for 26 shots. This isn’t to difficult a task.

The Collin Montgomerie warm up is a great way to begin working on visualization and concentration. Once you can concentrate for 26 shots you can increase the difficulty by trying to concentrate for 3 shots per club, or going up and down the bag, or trying to work each shot a different trajectory or direction.

Working on your visualization through the Montgomerie drill will for sure help your creativity and help impact your game for the good

Hope you enjoyed this weeks post.

Mick Parry

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