How To Be In Control - While Letting GoCopyright © 1999 - 2035 Craig Townsend
Being in control on the golf course whilst swinging freely and relaxed - this almost sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it's not. It is the goal, every time you walk onto the course.
The reasons are many - so let's look first at the danger of being too much in control. Now, if your action is overly controlled, this means that your body gets its swinging instructions from your weaker 'conscious' mind (the center of all thought) - and this usually guarantees a stiff, wooden action that lacks rhythm and feel. This is the exact opposite of the flowing, rhythmic action we are after.
Your conscious mind's main purpose on the golf course generally has nothing to do with your strokes (as it is almost famous for ruining a great round!) - its role lies in brainstorming solutions to problems (ie. the best way to get out of the rough, avoid bunkers etc) and determining your strategies for each situation.
However, once this golfing reconnaisance work is done by your conscious mind, it's then up to your body to do the physical work - which is to create the perfect stroke which will enable you to execute that strategy perfectly.
The only way this is possible on a regular basis is to allow your powerful subconscious to almost totally run your body's performance, as this is your control center of all movement - and it knows exactly how to hit the shot you require, if it is only allowed to by the weaker conscious mind. The best way for this to happen is to be physically and mentally relaxed at the very moment you begin your shot.
So what we are really aiming for is to remain emotionally in control, but physically relaxed. This gives you the absolute best of both worlds - your conscious and subconscious minds working together on each shot, but separately - ie. you have a stable, rational and clear mind to consciously think and plan your shots with, but utilizing a calm, relaxed body which is getting its instructions from your subconscious to hit perfect rhythmic swings.
Of course, it's important to note that to be emotionally in control requires a certain level of mental relaxation. And as your mind controls your body, it's difficult to be physically relaxed if you are mentally tense or nervous. So if you are feeling tense, nervous or even angry during a round - take a few deep breaths and try to exhale some of the tension from your body. Also stretch your arms and shoulders a little to try and remove any physical tension from your shoulders, as relaxed shoulder muscles are important if your swing is going to be fluent.
Most of all, check in regularly with your own mind and body, maybe before each tee shot - and notice your current levels of emotional control, physical relaxation and freedom of movement. If you notice that either are out of balance, make some changes and keep moving yourself mentally and physically back towards that perfect balance again.
"The Mind controls the body, and the Mind is Unlimited"
The best of success, Craig Townsend
Mind Training for
Golf Mental Training Program