Psychology Series: Part Two - Concentration & Focus

The second part of our new mini series, helping golfers to work on the mental side of the golf.

Jack Seddon's picture
Wed, 6 May 2020

With everyone stuck indoors during the coronavirus lockdown, it can be difficult to work on your golf game, but working on your mental attitude can be done easily and affectively, with the help of PGA Professional Paul Babbage.​

Paul Babbage - PGA Professional at Farleigh Golf Club

Firstly I hope that you are as safe, well and sane as possible in the current climate.

My name is Paul Babbage and I have recently done a series of short game videos for GolfMagic. I have been a fully qualified PGA professional for 10 years and I currently work at Farleigh Golf Club in the UK.
 
 
Last year I finished a Golf Psychology qualification through the P.G.A National Training Academy. I believe mental strength in sport and in any aspect of life is very important. The lockdown could be a good opportunity to start to realise the potential of improvement through golf psychology. There are a number of ways you can help yourself stop the above quotes applying to you, and enjoy your golf more.
 
Our first lesson in this psychology series was about self talk, which I hope you all tried and worked on, as believe me, your golf will benefit from it.
 
This exercise will be on concentration and focus. There are a lot of distractions on the golf course: birds/trees/other players/noises etc. The ability to notice them but then re-focus on what is important can really improve the consistency of your game. If we lose concentration, there can be disastrous consequences!

STEP ONE

Focus can be divided into INTERNAL and EXTERNAL and can either be broad or narrow. It is important to understand the differences, as the wrong type of focus in a particular situation can lead to negative results on the course.
 
Internal Focus (concentrating inside yourself or on the movement of your body) – this could be thinking about your swing or how you will play a particular shot. Thinking of your swing would be a narrow focus and thinking of a particular shot to play (maybe out of a few options) would be a broad focus.
 
External Focus (concentrating on the effect of factors outside of your body) – this could be focusing on the target or your ball. Thinking of the flagstick or wind direction would be a broad focus and thinking of a mark on the green, to help line up your putt, would be a narrow focus.

STEP TWO

When you play next or think about a round of golf, try to write down examples of when you may have used internal or external focus to execute a shot.

For example; a lot of us focus on ‘making a good swing on the 1st tee of a round' or, if it’s cold, we focus on how ‘stiff we are feeling’. In the seconds between having these thoughts and hitting the shot it would be very difficult to change your swing or become suppler/warmer.

Therefore, instead of this narrow internal focus, try an external focus such as: "my swing today is my swing and I am going to think about the area of the fairway I want to try and hit."

It may help to apply internal focus to your practice and external focus during your round.

Once you decide on a focus use it as a cue to hit your shot, by making it the last thing you think or say to yourself before making a swing.

Getting the right focus at the right time can help you play better shots more often!

Until next time!

 

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