How can we, at times, feel as though we are putting so much effort into our games yet feel as though we are gaining little in return?! We’ve put hours in on the range, read every book and article, enjoyed success in our lessons only for it to be snatched cruelly away from us just days later!
The elusive magic move!
Our mindset, emotions and belief systems must be brought into the equation when discussing long term progress and improvement, however some of the frustrations involved with improving our game ride on the back of an unending and sometimes overwhelming search for the latest ‘magic answer’. There is a huge resource and some fantastic information readily accessible at our fingertips whether via a magazine article, online video or instruction book and when used to our advantage, can provide great steps forward to improving our game. The flip side however, is that it can also create a never ending frustrating loop of ‘find it, lose it, find it, lose it’ within our games as we continue to experiment and search for the one piece of magic that will cure all. Continued experimentation, combined with an underlying uncertainty about the correct concept of our own golf swings, can make progress feel like an uphill battle.
So how can we achieve a more consistent flow of progress and get the most from our games, coaching and practice sessions? Let’s simplify things down. Having a basic understanding of your swing in its simplest form is extremely helpful and is key to preventing that continual search. Often, when you find the primary factor within your swing that may need a little attention, it tends to have a positive chain reaction and knock on effect on the sequence which follows. Focusing on these points alone will suffice; do not confuse yourself with an excessive overload of thoughts. There is often the worry that once the backswing is fixed, focus should then shift to perfecting the downswing, impact and follow through! A solvable problem in the set up may very well bring resolution to an issue at the top of the backswing or at impact, for example. This is never 100% guaranteed but understanding the concept will allow you to relax a little and have a clearer point of focus without worrying that once you fix one area of the swing you will then have to work on, and fix another. This is where guidance from your Golf Professional, ideally, is your first port of call. Your professional is there to help you focus on the most important areas in your swing which may need some attention. It can become a frustrating challenge to try to work things out alone or through the aid of a well meaning playing partner! Often what you feel is an issue within your swing is simply a compensation or reaction to a position or movement that has happened a little earlier on, i.e. feeling difficulty in transferring weight through impact. The brain is an extremely clever tool and it will always find a compensatory movement in order to hit the ball as successfully as possible whilst maintaining the body’s balance points. If we try to work on the compensatory movement in isolation without tackling the root cause, it can feel an extremely frustrating process. Generally, the better the set up, the better the take away, the better the takeaway the better the backswing and so the chain reaction continues. Of course impact is the critical area and we cannot guarantee that a perfect set up and backswing position will deliver a perfect impact position but it will certainly help it happen more often. Every action in the swing has a reaction and the less reactions and compensations we have to make pre and post impact the easier the game becomes. The fewer compensatory movements the body has to make within your golf swing the easier and more repeatable the movement becomes. The more simplified the motion and the more we can rely on natural forces the easier it is to repeat, particularly under pressure. So the ‘Magic Answer’ does not necessarily rest in one ‘Magic Move’ that works for all but in gaining a simplified understanding of your swing and the primary solution that creates a positive impact on the sequence that follows. This enables you to simplify your focus, gain trust in what you are working on and encourages a self reliant understanding of your swing, minimising the temptation of never ending experimentation.