If you tend to have a bad case of the Yips on short putts, or if you find yourself so tensed when you step on to the course that the game of golf is more of a torture than a release of tension, you have to do something about it.
The best you can do apart from maintaining a good fitness level and eating nutritious meals is focusing on your mental state. Mental skills once developed and honed can take your body and your game of golf a long way.
Without proper mental preparedness, golfers often find themselves losing concentration at key moments, having their emotions interfere with their performance, and having even the fittest of bodies fail them at crucial periods within the game.
If you take golf lessons, mental preparedness is usually focused on after you have mastered swing techniques.
There are various methods by which you can develop your mind so that it can in turn take your body’s performance to new heights. Reducing stress is key. Practicing yoga, meditation, deep relaxation techniques, engaging in exercises such as Pilates, and even listening to and learning to play an instrument are some of them. Yoga
Practicing yoga has numerous benefits such as decreasing anxiety, relaxing the mind, improving alertness and concentration, increasing your ability to judge depth and distance, augmenting the mind/body connection, and overall heightening your sense of well-being. It has also been shown to increase memory capacity and learning.
Of course, it has its physiological benefits too–it increases your energy levels, muscular strength, flexibility, range of motion, posture, and balance. For golfers, the added benefits are that it increases grip strength, which is very important for that proper swing; reaction time–so that you have the added advantage of extra time to adjust your posture, position etc, before that key stroke; and depth perception–so you can masterfully vary the power of your swing.
Besides, yoga focuses also on proper breathing techniques, which results in proper oxygenation of the brain, improving your ability to think coherently. Pilates
Pilates is a technique that involves a series of controlled movements that engage both the mind and body. Designed to build your body’s core muscle strength and flexibility without building bulk but instead streamlining your body, Pilates is now widely used for rehabilitation purposes as well. The key is that the mind plays an important part in the healing process. For that matter, the mind is all-important for any activity; golf being no exception. Meditation
Rob Nairns explains in his book, “What is Meditation?” that meditation is a highly alert and skillful state of mind.
Yoga practice goes hand in hand with meditation. You are psychologically present with whatever is happening–even though you are going through physical movements, you are concentrating on your breathing, your posture. The same is true of Pilates.
The whole concept of a “mental shift”‘ really makes sense because neuroscientists have long known that when we meditate, brain activity shifts to different regions of the cortex. The right frontal cortex is the stress-related region and meditation moves brain waves from there to the left frontal cortex, which is the calmer region. This negates the harmful effects of stress or anxiety, or even those down-in-the-dumps feelings. Meditation also reduces activity in the amygdala, which is the fear-processing region of the brain. Relaxation and Other Mind Techniques
Relaxation, which can be accomplished as easily as setting yourself in a calm environment and just letting your mind and body rest can be an effective stress reducer. Imagery
Imagery is the practice of imagining yourself in a situation or accomplishing a task before the event actually takes place. This method can be used as a rehearsal technique before any major event, even if you cannot actually physically rehearse or practice everything.
Top sports people invariably use this technique to visualize their next move, strategies that they can employ in different situations, and as a method to control their actions, even if the actions may not be taken immediately following the visualization. When the events that they have mentally rehearsed actually take place, their response is effective and so natural that it is perceived as habitual.
Sometimes, people have difficulty even mastering the swing. And, most often, all it takes is a mental shift to free your body from the restrictions your mind is imposing on it.
It’s always a good idea to also use imagery to pre-experience achievement–imagine yourself swinging the golf club to perfection and hitting every fairway or green. This helps to give you confidence each time to step out on to the golf course.
There are other mind development courses that you can do, which will help to increase your mental acuity, improve visualization, and even improve your eyesight.