Your ‘mind' will always do what it thinks you want, whether that’s useless or useful, at that moment in time. In general, it will want to please you and by doing what it ‘thinks’ you want, it is basically obeying orders. It also cannot understand a negative command! As an example, if you say to a child ‘Don’t touch that radiator’, their mind hears ‘Touch that radiator, don’t’… but by then it’s too late! In other words, you have to think about that thing first, before not thinking about it! Adults, generally, are the same, if you get handed at your table a hot plate, the waiter/waitress will often say ‘Don’t touch the plate, it’s hot’…. before you go ahead and touch it! What your mind ‘hears’ here is ‘Touch the plate… don’t’ and if you want further proof (and I’m not even with you whilst you read this)… If I said to you, ‘Don’t think of Pink Elephants and Blue Apples’… in your mind you have created the very thing… even though they don’t exist (Well, other than in your mind)!
Tell yourself only what you do want. Standing on the tee, saying or thinking to yourself, ‘Don’t go left, Don’t go right, don’t be short, don’t go into the bunker’ purely gets the mind thinking about all these things! Instead, stand on the tee, pick out a point where you want to land the ball, and visualise that ball landing. Then, select a club that you know you can reach with, and swing! Will it ALWAYS go to that point? No, of course not, but there is a far greater chance of it doing so, and as we know, golf is a game of consequence, and if you were just 30% more consistent, that would be a bonus, wouldn’t it?
Most people tell me about a ‘Nemesis hole’ on their course, or one on a course they have played many times. In reality, they are simply golf holes. Stand on the tee and tell yourself, what you WANT to do. Pick out a line, maybe a tree in the distance, and line up to that… ignore everything else around you. At The Open recently, Shane Lowry actually lined up towards the end of his final round with a 'steward in a blue jacket, 5 yards to the right of the pin’… I heard him discussing this with his caddy.
No, it won’t always go to plan, but there is a much greater chance of it happening. (I can refer here to The Open, when both Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson both shanked a ball, when players, including Lowry, Fleetwood and Westwood all missed putts that you’d generally expect them to make), but if you miss fewer putts then your game will improve. Bob Rotella wrote a great book once, called ‘Golf is not a game of perfect’, which is so so true.
Start to build GOOD cortical pathways in your mind, by developing a process that works for you… not someone else.
If you’d like more information on this, how The Mind Zone can help you or you’d like to discuss running a Mind Zone session at your club or for your society then do get in contact.