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February 2, 2024

Concentration

Someone said that, "You can't concentrate to concentrate", and they were absolutely correct. Each person can achieve a concentration state by different steps or methods. Whether you come by a central focus instinctively or manufactured, the result is the same. Your body and mind are focused on one central task and distractions are all but eliminated.

Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo are golfers that you would associate with the ability to deeply concentrate. The Scots called Hogan the "wee ice man". He was no talking and all business on the course. His concentration focus would last the whole round. Nicklaus was similar in his early years on tour, before becoming less stoic and relating more to the crowds. Tiger makes no eye contact with the spectators, and Faldo actions on the course were as an actor following a script that he must follow. Their extraordinary ability to compartmentalize and focus on the task at hand made them the players they became.

Lee Triveno, Fuzzy Zoeller, Chi Chi Rodríguez would be people that you wouldn't think had great concentration. They definitely did, but had entirely different ways of achieving their focus. The ability to hit the ball with a clear image of the target and the ball flight with little or no outside distractions is essential for a successful shot. Decision making, pre-shot routine, and execution of shot can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 seconds. That's all the time these types of players need to get into their concentration mode and preform. What they do between shots is their way of relaxing and defusing tensions and letting their personalities come out.

The ability to better concentrate needs to be a deliberate thought-out strategy. The focus should be on the most important steps needed for a successful golf shot. That would be the 30 or so seconds to make a decision, pre-shot routine and hitting the ball. In this time zone, the attention should be void of distractions. Lessening these distractions takes work and self-awareness.

A discussion on concentration is worthy of a large book. The central components to better concentrate are: quiet mind, elimination of distractions, detachment, singular focus, relaxed muscle tension, and controlled breathing. Outside problems can effect on course behavior. Mediation, exercise, and taking quiet time are methods to reduce stress and unclutter your mind. A balanced life is essential for a happy life and happiness on the golf course.

For our discussion today, we will center on one technique to help you better focus when hitting the golf ball. To better focus, you must be aware of what you are trying to accomplish. Those 30 seconds or so, before you make your shot, should be monitored and judged. The first part is determining the shot you want to hit, based on the conditions and circumstance. Then get a clear visual image in your mind and get your body ready to execute the imagined shot. Then there is only one more thing to do, and that is to hit the ball. Step into the hitting zone and keeping your mental image, with NO words, go and strike the ball. After the shot is hit, grade yourself on the routine your exhibited, not the result of the shot. Grade yourself from 1 to5 on your routine. Did you stay on task; did the mind wander; did you keep your image of the shot in your mind the entire process; did negative thoughts occur; did the body tense up. By monitoring your routine and mental consistency you will have a basis to mark your improvement to better concentration.

Johnny Miller lost his best chance to win the Masters by thinking ahead about what he was going to say when he received the Green Jacket. The game is not over until the final putt is holed. Golf is supposed to be fun. So concentrating for 4 plus hours like Hogan would not be fun for the average golfer. But centering on your pre-shot routine will help your focus and concentration.

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