Numerous studies have been conducted on the positive effects of imagery and sport performance. However, little has been written in the golf world, on how exactly to employ imagery, or as to what it is for that matter.
The word imagery, suggest vision and sight, however imagery really involves all the senses. The most important senses for golfers are sight, feel and sound. A pre-shot routine is the place where imagery takes place, and the litmus test of a pragmatic pre-shot routine is found in this question: Do you have a clear picture, feel, and anticipation of the sound you want this swing to make? That’s it. If your routine does not achieve that, then while you may look really cool throwing grass around and making practice swings, you are just wasting time before your shot.
Good golf shots start with a clear picture of where the ball is to end up, and how it is to get there (trajectory and bounce). Once that is established, a feel for how that shot should play can be created and rehearsed with practice strokes. Finally, the sound of the golf shot, is like the cherry on top of imagery in the pre-shot routine. If you can begin to anticipate the sound a quality golf shot makes, you enter into an advanced plane of imagery, and prime the neural pathways that are responsible for executing the best possible movement you can make. When the picture, feel and sound is clear, it’s time to swing with a commitment to the result we have created in our minds.
Here are 3 quick ways to improve your imagery skills:
- 1)Sit, Breathe, and quiet your mind. Then, practice creating images of simple things in your mind first. Then progress to creating movement oriented and golf specific images.
- 2)When you hit a quality shot while playing of practicing, immediately take stock of what exactly felt good about it. Relive those shots over and over. Attach happiness, confidence, and gratitude to these memories. Good players fill their minds with good shots and positive emotions; mediocre players ruminate over the missed shots and anchor them with negative emotions.
- 3)Close your eyes and listen to your playing companions shots when they swing from time to time. Start to really decipher bad sounding shots from good shots. Quality strikes that compress the ball and leave divot in front of the ball sound weightier, create more of a crack at impact, and in general are more efficient. Poor strikes often sound tinny, lifeless, hollow, and uncertain.
I promise you that in golf, just as in life, clear pictures create clear results, while vague pictures generally lead to vague results.