How To Remain In 'The Zone' Once You Get There!Copyright © 1999 - 2035 Craig Townsend
When you are having a great day on the course, almost everything you try comes off. This is called playing in the zone, which means that your conscious mind has ceased interrupting and allowed your body to get its instructions directly from your control center of movement, your subconscious. And what a great feeling it is!
Unfortunately, often when we begin to play our best golf, many golfers sadly seem to sabotage this process shortly after, causing a major drop in thier playing level. Most often this sabotage is brought on simply by trying to analyze their current game, and trying to work out why they were playing well!
Ironically this the the very thing that makes it disappear! This is the last thing we should ever do when we are playing well, because as soon as we bring our conscious mind back into the equation (through analysis), it immediately overrides any instructions your subconscious directs to your body. Result: the zone disappears very quickly - and even works, this often sends our golf crashing down in the opposite direction.
And there are few things more soul-destroying than finishing a brilliant round with a double bogey!
So what form does this analysis (or self-sabotage) take, when you are playing well? It comes in the simple form of:
1. questions that your mind begins asking about your brilliant game
2. observations about how you are hitting certain shots today, or
3. focusing upon future outcomes such as scores you may attain, handicaps you may beat, etc, because you are playing so well.
All of these forms of thought should be avoided on the course at all costs!
These might include fatal thoughts such as:
"I wonder why I am playing so well? Maybe it's because I'm..."
"Im sure that tee shot went better because I was..."
"What will my score be if I make this putt?"
"Is this the best round I have ever played?"
"If I make this shot, I will be one shot ahead of Bob!"
Basically, the thoughts we should avoid are those that either analyze what we are currently doing (which breaks the mental process that delivers our best golf), or thinking of the possible future outcome instead of focusing upon the current task at hand - which only puts additional pressure on your current shot.
The only possible future outcome you ever want to think about is visualizing the outcome of your current shot. Any other form of projecting your thoughts into the future (or 'thinking ahead') will only sabotage your present shot.
Always remember that you do not have the luxury of thinking cumulatively on the golf course, it must be one shot at a time.
The worst pitfalls to avoid in golf are the mental ones which are intangible, as these are far more difficult to notice than trees, bunkers, tough greens and rough!
So next time you are playing brilliantly, never analyze how you are playing until you reach the safety of the nineteenth hole - that way you will ensure you finish the round as well as you began it - and have something to truly celebrate!
"The Mind controls the body, and the Mind is Unlimited"
The best of success, Craig Townsend
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