The Value of Visualizing Your Golf Shot
There has been plenty of talk within sports on the subject of “visualization”. Likely the first time I heard of the concept was from Jack Nicklaus, who supposedly had a visual picture of his golf swing and the flight for the golf ball with each shot, and the roll for every putt. It’s also been utilized as a training tool for other sporting activities, like shooting free throws in basketball, but can visualizing your golf shot make you play better golf?
Visualization Works Better for Visual Learners
A lot of people are better proficient at this in comparison to others, and it possibly will involve just how an individual’s mind processes information. So-labeled visual learners are thought to process ideas and data better by using images. This can probably be developed to some degree, but if you can make use of this concept to picture your complete golf shot, it could help to become more consistent and provide a golfer better confidence with shot-making.
When visualizing shorter, makeable putts you should visualize striking the golf ball, imagine it rolling over the intended line and always right into the hole. When imagining putts that are within the two-putt range, or in most instances ten feet or more the initial order of business would be to always keep the ball in a situation for the straightforward two-putt.
Visualize where You want the Putt to End
Now I’ll go against what appears to be standard thought. It is my opinion you must check out the golf hole and find out just where ideally you want you’re subsequent putt to be from. This obviously would be a straight, uphill putt, the easiest putt in golf. That can be your real target, and based on wherever the initial putt is from visualize a circle one or two feet around that target, after that visualize rolling your putt to that target.
I have heard very informed golf teachers say that you need to visualize a two-foot circle all around the hole and aim to get the ball in that vicinity. But even by successfully completing this task you may have a difficult two-footer when it is downhill with some break. Give me the four-foot straight uphill putt as opposed to a slick, downhill two-footer with break any day of the week.
Visualization may be used with golf shots from the fairway or off the tee. Obviously somewhat more is needed for visualizing these golf shots being that they are in three dimensions in comparison with two for putts. But the principle is the same: imagine the whole golf swing along with all swing keys that you are trying to employ at that time. After that imagine the shot using the correct flight-path that you wanted to opt for. It could take a little practice but for lots of golfers who’ve mastered shot visualization it’s really helped their game.
The Tiger Woods Swagger Came from his Father
Much of the previous success of Tiger Woods was due to his inner circle. The most critical and forgotten figure in that circle was his dad, Earl Woods. Few people make an impression on a young boy as much as his father. This is certainly no exception with Tiger. He owes his Dad for his focus, the basis of his world-class swing, his determination and that killer instinct. Earl’s most important contribution, though, may have been that swagger – his belief that there was nothing his son couldn’t accomplish, as long as he put in the work. And as we all know, Tiger isn’t afraid to make an effort. But with Tiger’s dad passing, this has caused a kink in his golf game.
I recently authored a book called Don’t Stop The Swagger: Preparing the Mind Body and Soul for Peak Performance, that identifies unique characteristics that peak performers possess. I think beyond those characteristics of mental toughness and perseverance, a peak performer must also have understanding of self. To study Tiger Woods as a golfer is more a study of the mental aspects of the game than to consider his length off the tee or any other aspect of the physical part of the game.
The Strength of Tiger Woods, His Inner Circle, Shrank
Anyone who desires to achieve at a high level in any field must have a physical body that that is healthy, clean of toxins, and able to heal. Additionally, they need the mental traits mentioned above. But beyond that they need the complete mind, body and soul element, specifically the inner strength to continue on through tribulations when intellect and physical acumen have run dry.
When looking at Tiger, it is apparent he struggles a bit with his circle, but he does have a few people worth mentioning. The second and now only real person in his inner circle is his mother, Tida Woods. Tiger has often joked that his mom was the strict parent when he was growing up. But Earl’s values couldn’t have entirely been handed down to Tiger without Tida’s loving support and loyalty to Tiger and his father.
A wise person once said that a mother’s love is instinctual, without agenda and forever. I say a mother’s love is neither perfect nor imperfect, it’s simply always there. You need look no further than the nearest sideline at most athletic competitions. As most fathers know, it is extremely difficult to cultivate and equip a child to be successful in life without the mother’s support. Equally critical is the ability to trust that the mother edifies the relationship the father has with that child.
Given that his father has passed, Tiger Woods is left with his mother’s love and inexperience when it comes to making it through life as a man. The rest of Tiger’s inner circle comes down to an ex-wife with a 100 million dollar divorce and shared custody of two beautiful daughters, a nasty public separation with a caddy who apparently enjoys to take public and disrespectful jabs at Tiger.
It began when this former caddy, Steve Williams, took jabs at Tiger when his new golf partner Adam Scott won the WGC Invitational over Tiger. Tiger didn’t really respond. But Williams comments really hit the ceiling when he presented a speech at the Annual Caddie Awards dinner and very defiantly stated his goal after Adam Scott’s victory in the Bridgestone Invitational at Akron. Regarding Tiger, he said, “My aim was to shove it right up that black ass hole.” Once again, Tiger gave little response and even came to the defense of Williams, saying that he is “In no way a racist.”
Tiger Woods Defines Himself as a Cablasian
The funny thing that is forgotten is, given Tiger’s comments in the past, he doesn’t even categorize himself as black. Appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997, Woods indicated that it bothered him when people called him an African-American. He said, “Growing up, I came up with this name. I’m a Cablasian.”
Regardless of how Tiger Woods or others categorizes him, or what people say about him, as a man in this world you must have the ability to ignore the critics – whoever they may be. And your response must be one of positive action. Hone in on your task with an unwavering knowledge of self. It’s possible that was lost following the passing of Tiger’s dad and he doesn’t quite know who he is anymore. Perhaps his father was the closest thing to providing him the foundation of that inner self.
The next in his so-called inner circle or what I consider paid loyalists is Hank Haney, who is now coming out with a book highlighting the life and success of Tiger Woods. The rest of his circle consists of Butch Harmon, Mark O’Meara, John Cook, and especially Micheal Jordan and Charles Barkley, who never really handled success quite as gracefully as they are given credit for. Many think those two benefited from an era when the internet practically didn’t exist, Twitter was still just a thought and Facebook’s creator was just an infant . Tiger’s media scrutiny is huge when you compare it to the Jordan day. This seemed to hold true as Tiger was exposed in the Thanksgiving fender bender fiasco and Charles darn near begged Tiger to call him on national television.
Excluding Tigers deceased father and loving mother, all that remains is a group of people he either pays or entertains. If the past few years of divorce, caddy jokes and swing issues have not taught him a little about his circle, I don’t know if anything will. There is an old proverb that states, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Another proverb can be translated, “Wealth creates many friends; but the poor is hated by his by his neighbor.”
The point is that the Tiger Woods circle is a result of his wealth, not of him uniting with people because they share cultural similarities, cultural experiences, social backgrounds, religious beliefs or possibly race. I’m not sure how to find other Cablasians, but maybe Tiger has better insight. So as we know, Tiger Woods has many acquaintances around but finding a brother born through adversity might be more difficult. Unless, of course, he’s willing to pay for it.
When it comes down to it, after you’ve tapped all the mental and physical ability you possess, the only thing that remains is that fire inside. The key to Tiger’s new walk to golf wins probably won’t be found in a stronger knee, a new golf swing, or more time running on the treadmill, but somewhere deep within his mind, body and soul.
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How to Think Your Way around the Course
Most golfers that play only on an irregular basis think too much about their golf swing technique when playing a round of golf. Which is expected simply because people normally don’t have a great deal of time to work on their golf game. But look at it this way: if you pay good money, and often rather a lot to play a game of golf, just why would you use that time working on swing basics. Therefore my advice, which I currently follow myself, would be to work on the golf swing off the golf course, then put aside swing action fundamentals and focus on the mental aspects of the game and think your way around the course.
Make Playing the Game Fun
The fun part of golf, as with any sport, is competing. This means that you virtually must accept where your golf game is when you step up to the first tee. To make the game enjoyable, realize what you have to deal with that day, anticipate a few miscues, and more than that think your way around the golf course.
Here are just a few considerations which can keep your confidence elevated and steer clear of those hated recovery shots:
1. Recognize your capabilities. Know the true length you hit every club, and not just your distances you used to hit them ten years ago. Do you typically hook the golf ball or fade it? Recognizing those things is going to be vital to your decision-making around the golf course.
2. Choose your target intelligently. Anytime you set up for a shot, you’re basically looking for a way to put the golf ball somewhere to set up the following shot. This may appear clear-cut, but a lot of players always try to strike every ball as far as they can, thinking that the easiest shot will almost always be the one closest to the green. This typically raises the possibility of finding problems, since your shot control goes down with your longer clubs.
3. Be aware of where the trouble is, then block it out. In order to play with full confidence, you don’t need a lot of negative thoughts on your mind. Pick out a safe target then place your focus on reaching it by utilizing a golf club that you are the most at ease with. The sport gets much easier when you are routinely hitting clear shots from excellent lies, even if they are a little longer.
4. Play one golf hole at a time. I understand playing them one at a time is a cliché that every sport uses, but playing every hole individually instead of all eighteen at once will make you focus in the moment. It has happened to everyone that has ever enjoyed the game: you’re sailing through six or eight holes in a row and then you experience a hole in which nothing will go right. You need to have the attitude that the next hole is going to be a new game. It’ just one more way to continue to make your game fun as well as competitive.
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