During winter months it’s very understandable to be cold, but don’t find yourself frozen over a golf ball out on the links during the season. At times it can be hard to realize how fast we actually move or the rate at which we do things; especially, when our minds are preoccupied with something else. “I’ve gotta hit this fairway” or “If I can hit this wedge close I can probably make birdie” are usually the first things that come to mind. However, you pick the club you like address the ball and…waggle. Look up. Waggle again. Stare at the ball for a few seconds. Waggle again. Ok stop! By now, the chances of you hitting the shot that you wanted have diminished quite a bit. This may not be your routine, however any dead time created in your process of hitting a golf shot can be damaging to your game.
Freezing over a golf ball causes tension to set in, negative imagery to be created and feel in the shot to be lost. All three of these have compounding consequences. Tension is probably the top wreck in a golf swing. In fact, tension in the hands, arms and shoulders is usually the root cause to major slices. Negative imagery ranks high on the list as well of unforced errors. When you stand over a ball for too long, you allow your mind the time to recall shots that may not have been so great. This negative imagery sends messages to your body to react accordingly, thus making swing errors which caused the bad shot from the last round. Now let’s say you were able to even recall a good shot, in the 10 seconds that it takes you from the time you’ve addressed the ball to actually take the club away, your body had probably lost the feel and sensation needed to execute the proper shot. As you can see, the more dead time spent over the ball, the more time you allow for something to go wrong. Let’s make that time more productive, and let’s make that time work for you!
To be more productive with our routines we must first understand what is holding us back from maximizing our efforts. I have found that the two most common causes in freezing over the ball have been the attempt to control your shot and too much thought. In attempting to consciously control the ball and club, your brain must coordinate functions of all body parts, figure out how to get the clubface back to square, with the proper path, and enough club head speed to execute the shot. That’s not including other factors such as wind, lie and elevation. This is too much to be done in the time given, for anyone to execute efficiently.
To shake this habit, the goal would be to think athletically and be reactive to your target. Take into consideration all external factors such as the shot you’d like to hit, the wind, distance etc., before you pull the club out of the bag. Once you feel confident and ready, visualize the shot you wish to execute. Visualizing can be anything from seeing you ball fly to the target with a white streaming light behind it, a trail of something attached to it or something else flying en route to the target. As long as it visually represents the shot that you wish to execute. In doing so, you allow your mind and body to become focused in on the target, providing it with something to react to.
After seeing the shot, the next step would be to associate your body with the visualization by feeling the necessary movements to create the shot. This can be done by simply taking a practice swing or two. It is important to note that these practice swings must be reactive to your target and the shot to be executed. Once you feel primed and ready to hit your golf shot, EXECUTE! For every couple seconds you spend over the ball, your body will lose the sensation you have created. By the time 8 seconds has passed you have lost nearly every stimuli that works in favor of hitting the shot desired. Just as in every other sport, allow your body to athletically react to the shot, which will be maximized by everything you have done in preparation. See, feel and execute your way to lower scores!