Golfers must look at the ball but maintain their attention to where they are sending their golf balls. Without systematic training in this key skill, for this moment of action, golfers may unwittingly switch their focus of attention to the ball, club, body, swing, or potential hazards rather than their balls destination.
When this switch occurs, your target is nowhere to be seen. You are not visualising your shot before you step in and play it if you think about something else whilst executing it.
Success is NOT predicated solely by your technical skills but by your ability to focus.
The ability to separate what you are looking at from what you are thinking about is an essential skill for playing golf (and another other game or activity). What you focus on before hitting a golf ball is a huge factor in how well you will succeed.
Visualisation is one of those things that doesn’t require any physical or specialised skill to learn. It’s one of the most powerful tools you must have.
The world’s best athletes use the practice of visualising a great performance before the action for a very good reason – it works!
So, what great achievement and outcome are you visualising for yourself now to succeed in the future?
The science of visualisation
Movement is initiated by the brain. When you want to perform a physical action, the best way to succeed is to first feed your brain with a successful picture or outcome of that action you intend to take.
Visualise the desired outcome of your actions.
Your subconscious mind – which controls your movement – doesn’t know the difference between a real and imagined action.
You are stimulating the same muscles that you would use to perform the real action when you visualise a physical action. Sports scientists call this ‘functional equivalence’.
When you think about physical action, you are essentially getting those muscles you need to be ready for action.
But if you do not have a clear picture of the shot you are about to hit, you are wasting a valuable opportunity to prepare your brain to activate the exact muscles required to execute the successful shot.
Likewise, if you do not have a picture of success for yourself, you will squander the opportunity to prepare your brain to execute things that will make you successful.
To visualise a golf shot, you need to get a clear picture of the path the ball will travel on to reach its target.
Is it a fade or a draw?
Low or high?
How will it bounce when it lands?
Make the picture as vivid as you can.
The other way to visualise is seeing yourself hitting the shot. Include the flight of the ball too. Imagine yourself hitting the shot during your pre-shot routine. Look at the swing you need to make. This will help you repeat that movement.
Focus on your desired outcome
Always focus is on an image of your desired outcome to succeed.
Golf is a hard game because you are not looking at the target when you hit the ball. When you throw a basketball, you have the information on where the target is in relation to you as you make the throw. Your focus is on the target in front of you as you throw the ball, not on your body. This makes it a lot easier. This is called ‘external focus’.
But when your focus in on what your body must do to hit the target, it’s called ‘internal focus’. It makes the game a lot harder. Your movement is not as fluid and free-flowing. This could lead to more inconsistencies in your swing and success.
In golf, the best way to achieve this external focus and make sure you don’t have technical thoughts is to use visualisation. Try to imprint an image of the target in your mind. You must ‘see’ it when you are not consciously looking at it.
90% of the game of golf is in between shots. Visualisation can help you manage this downtime. What you think about during this time between shots can affect your mood, your tension levels, and your execution of the next shot.
Likewise, in between of your projects and busyness, you must constantly think about what success looks like for you – at work, for your personal life, for your family. Have or create a long-term vision or mission that will provide that constant visualisation of your long-term success or achievements.
The power of imagination is a powerful mental ability that can be used to create your future. To take advantage of it, you must devote consistent time and effort to develop your mental powers.
You could create a photograph or picture of yourself with your goal as if it were already completed. If one of your goals is to own a new car, take your camera down to your local auto dealer and have a picture taken of yourself sitting behind the wheel of your dream car. If your goal is to visit Paris, find a picture or poster of the Eiffel Tower and cut out a picture of yourself and place it into the picture.
Visualisation requires time, patience, and diligence. It is something world-renowned creators and thinkers engage in often. They apply laser-like focus to envisioning an idea until it comes to life.
The daily practice of visualising your dreams as already complete can rapidly accelerate your achievement of those dreams, goals, and ambitions.
Create a picture or a visual representation for every goal you have — financial, career, recreation, new skills and abilities, or things you want to purchase.
Use visualisation techniques to focus on your goals and yield four very important benefits:
- Activates your creative subconscious which will start generating creative ideas and actions to achieve your goal.
- Programs your brain to perceive and recognise the resources you will need to achieve your dreams and goals more readily.
- Activates the law of attraction. It draws into your life the people, resources, and circumstances you will need to achieve your goals.
- Builds your internal motivation to take the necessary actions to achieve your dreams or goals.
Write down your goals. Using the power of visualisation and repeating your daily affirmations, you can achieve amazing results.
You can also use visualisation to take you to a calm place. It helps you stay relaxed. You can avoid thinking about something stressful.
What you visualise is a personal preference. It could be a favourite vacation spot. Or spending time with friends. It is anything that is going to make you feel relaxed.
Visualise any change you want to make
To make a swing change, you need to create new neural pathways. Neural pathways are what connects your brain to the muscles. That change will be part of your “muscle memory”.
When you try to make a swing change, you must try to imagine what that looks like before you do it. Each time you make that movement, your neural pathways are strengthened and you’ll more likely be able to access them on the course.
Visualise the change you want to make when changing your current habits.
If you want to change and perform better, visualise that change and better performance. Develop a better picture of the outcome you want to achieve from where you are at now.
Look up beyond the horizon towards a successful future. Don’t look down on your current circumstances and struggles and get stuck in the weeds.
It’s so important to know what success looks like for you
To visualise and manifest the kind of life or success you want, it is very important to have a clear idea of what you want and why. This can be achieved by understanding what you value and what brings you the most joy in life.
When you want to manifest the life you want, you must create a clear vision of what it should look like. You can write this down in detail or you could create a vision board. This will help you create a clear and full picture of what success would look like for you.
Rather than focusing on your current or immediate actions and circumstances, focus on the outcome or goal you are seeking to achieve.
Do focus on the long-term, rather than the short-term. Avoid dwelling on your current struggles and challenges.
It is, therefore, vital to visualise a successful future instead of focussing on your current circumstances that are annoying you.
Many people act impulsively without giving any thought to what they want. They constantly think about what they don’t want and are disheartened when it ends up not as expected. This is because they have not devoted enough time or energy to get clear on their desires and what they want.
Unfortunately, many people spend more time than necessary for observing what is wrong in their life instead of imagining what their future success could be.
Daily rituals help you to establish the right balance between thinking about the future and living in the moment. Start by picking a time during which you will review your goals and visualise your success.
Read your goals or affirmations out loud for the greatest effect. After each one, close your eyes and create the visual image of the completed goal in your mind.
You may hate your current job now. But when your focus is on the long-term goal and success, it will be worth your effort.
It may also be an opportune time to up-skill yourself. Enrol yourself in a certificate or post-graduate course. You may hate going back to study again.
But after you get that certificate, you are creating a better foundation to earn more in the future. Or being successful in your chosen profession.
Therefore, always create a picture of success that you can strive towards rather than focusing on your daily struggles and challenges. Focusing your mind on the ultimate goal, your success. Avoid looking at the ball that is in front of you.
Visualisation + Inspired Action = Success
Visualisation without action is futile. Mental preparation and inspired action are both necessary to bring to life your desires and success.
Visualisation is the seed fertilised in the mind. Action is the flowering plant that blossoms. You need both to manifest your goals and dreams into reality.
“Rome was not built in a day”, as the saying goes.
Similarly, the life and success you want to create won’t happen in one day. It will take a series of days and actions of daily working towards achieving your goals.
Don’t get too caught up with how far you are. Instead, focus on the present. Set yourself daily or weekly with actions or small steps that will get to where you want.
Ask yourself, “What is one thing I could do today that would help me get closer to the life I want or to my goals?”
Everything you do must have a purpose.
When creating the life that you want, there will be challenges, even hardships. Include in your visualisations challenges that you may encounter. Then find ways to overcome them.
Ask yourself, “What would help me persevere and succeed when I am faced with a challenge?”
Be open, try it and see where it takes you!