By: Charles W. Boatright
The sports psychologist Dr. Nick Molinaro was featured on GolfFix with Michael Breed on Monday night, April 25, 2016, to discuss how golfers can retain their focus during the round of golf. Dr. Molinaro used the phrase, Shift attention by being aware, not distracted. He explained how the golfer should think about something totally different between shots in order for the mind to remain fresh. He even suggested that the golfer should think about something pleasant, i.e., their family, friends, a place they enjoy visiting, or even talking with their partner or caddie about another topic or another sport or a pleasant drive in your favorite vehicle.
This shifting by being aware, not distracted is a technique that is taught to drivers in order to remain focused and not get distracted. The technique is called scanning to avoid being transfixed on one object. The driver needs to scan his/her surroundings, as this engages the driver and keeps his/her attention fresh and avoids mental fatigue.
There is another technique that can be used in golf that occurs while driving a vehicle down the highway. It is called Driving Hypnosis. While Driving Hypnosis is unsafe for driving a vehicle down the highway, it works great for driving a golf ball down the fairway. Driving Hypnosis, applied to golf, allows the golfer to use a highly-developed, specialized skill to execute the golf shot, without fail.
What occurs in Driving Hypnosis is that the golfer is able to get into a SUB-ZONE by developing a mental sequence. Once the conditions, target, and shot selection are determined, the golfer quiets the conscious mind and entrusts making the golf swing and shot to the subconscious mind.
For Driving Hypnosis to occur three factors must be in play: (A) The task and conditions must be familiar, both normal and routine; (B) A high level of relaxation, confidence, and muscle memory must be present; (C) The main factor, the conscious and subconscious mind are focused on two different tasks at the same time. Driving Hypnosis perfectly describes Dr. Nick Molinaro’s statement of Shifting attention, being aware not distracted.
A great example of Shifting attention, being aware not distracted is the baseball pitcher. Once the pitch selection been given, the pitcher starts his/her trigger point for that pitch in how the fingers grip the seams on the ball. The pitcher doesn’t think about their mechanics or techniques; they only focus on their trigger point and the spot in the strike zone. Great pitchers like Greg Maddux that are considered Rembrandt’s is not looking at the entire strike zone, but one particular spot in the strike zone. This is a great example of Shifting attention, being aware not distracted.
Once the golfer ascertains the conditions, target, shot selections, and goes through the setup routine, the golfer wants to shift attention to the subconscious mind from the conscious mind. I like to accomplish this by getting into my SUB ZONE by avoiding thinking about making the golf shot, that is distracting for the golfer, instead feeling a trigger point before I preset my wrists and start my takeaway swing. I personally focus on what I call the linkage, or muscle memory. Like a pitcher feeling the threads on the baseball with his fingers. Feeling used correctly can prove confidence to the golfer.
In my golf swing sequence, I like to think about how the ring metacarpal head and two carpal bones just below the ring finger metacarpal head (in the illustration) acts like a cog to supinate (CAM) and pronate (CAM-OVER) my hands and wrists to SYNCH and PRESET my elbow with my shoulders. The point that I’m setting is just above the thumbs, a small carpal called Trapezium. These carpals are the most important linkage in your golf swing preset. This creates a turbocharged component in the golf swing. This is cover in my book, The ESPY Golf Swing Coach, in Sections 1.1, 1.13.1, and 1.13.2. This was the very technique that Arnold Palmer was showing President Eisenhower on the practice range before a Pro-AM. Arnold Palmer noticed that the President’s elbow was separating from his side. Arnold Palmer was trying to get President Eisenhower to keep his elbow next to his side during the initial part of his backswing and when the elbow drops back down right before his club head enters the impact zone. The more visuals you can create during your golf swing the better muscle memory or routine you can develop and establish even under course conditions. In baseball, the pitcher does not think about the mechanics or techniques to make a pitch. Instead the pitcher is looking at a particular spot in the strike zone.
This approach to the golf swing was handed down to me by my grandfather, Homer E. Boatright. He had a very close friend that was a doctor that he played golf with each week. Dr. Choate. Dr. Choate during his spear time develop methods for maximizing the golf swing by properly applying the human body. To his surprise it wasn’t the larger components, but instead the smaller components that doesn’t even enter the golfer consideration. There eight small carpal bones linking the forearm to the hand. These bones are responsible for assisting the wrists in supination and pronation, key in the golf swing. Keying in on three carpals provide the golfer with POWER, SPEED, and CONTROL! Like Coach John Wooden stated– It’s the small things that make the biggest difference. Above is my grandfather on the Morrilton Golf Course in Arkansas in 1948.
One reason that we continue practicing our golf swing is because it is like walking down a path. The more you use the path, the more familiar and well-defined the path becomes. Even cattle are creatures of habit. You can place ten Black Angus in a 20-acre pasture for three months. When you go back to the pasture, the cattle have established well-defined, worn paths in the 20-acre pasture. This is what the golfer is trying to accomplish with the SUB Zone — to establish a well-defined path that does not change and is automatic similar to Driving Hypnosis.
In Driving Hypnosis, once a driver determines the designation and conditions are routine, the conscious mind relaxes. The subconscious mind takes over the majority, if not all, of the driving tasks, to the point that the driver does not remember passing certain landmarks. While Driving Hypnosis is unsafe to drive a vehicle down the highway, it works great for driving a golf ball down the fairway.
By: QATSPY GOLF Approach
Charles W. Boatright
The ESPY Golf Swing Coach– Price for Paperback $15.75 and E-Book $8.99, Hardback is also available on my website: www.espygolfapp.com/store OR your local bookstore and also:
Lulu Publishing: The ESPY Golf Swing Coach, Charles W. Boatright
Once you learn WHY, you don’t forget HOW!
Two decisions that you can make for yourself and your kids are to get a copy of my book and place the book and a golf club into their hands. You will never look back, but only forward. You will not miss with this for yourself and/or your kids.
A Recommendation for your Golf Game:
I would like to recommend a wonderful radio program that I regularly listen to on my I-Heart Radio app on KARN 102.9 FM station, out of Little Rock, AR. They air a golf show called “Arkansas Fairways and Greens,” at 7:00 AM CT each Saturday morning, hosted by Bob Steel and Jay Fox. Bob occasionally has on his show a guest named Shawn Humphries, a Professional Golf Instructor from Dallas, Texas. One thing that Mr. Humphries stresses is the mental part of golf, not focusing on the results but the process.
Until next time– Be Synched, Tee-to-Green, with The ESPY Golf Swing!