It seems every mental game coach and psychologist has a different view on swing thoughts. However, Eastern philosophy offers a simple alternative for improving your game, as Jayne Storey, Founder of Chi Performance GOLF explains…
The mind is naturally restless and scientists aren’t even sure how thoughts occur, only that they are electrical impulses in the brain. However, it’s possible for every golfer to learn how to reduce the incessant chatter of the internal dialogue, which ultimately sabotages even your best efforts around the course.
All technical improvements and maintenance of your swing should be done at the driving range…and then, rather than focusing on technique while playing, Eastern philosophy suggests you simply focus on your breathing, relax your upper body and root into the ground, thus developing a strong, athletic and above all balanced posture from which to swing.
Swing thoughts instead become swing feelings, connected to the body as a whole, focusing on the key postural points posture of address, which as the great Jack Nicklaus says is the only part of your swing over which you have conscious control.
Activating Swing Feelings at Set-Up
- Empty your chest: emptying or hollowing the chest is the first key to developing rooting as it relaxes the upper body, freeing the neck, releasing the shoulders and emptying the lungs – you’ll find that exhaling deeply is a natural part of this process which releases pent up energy and tension.
- Focus attention on your navel: lowering your centre of awareness, by concentrating your mind at the navel (t’an tien), is a key focus in T’ai chi and extremely useful for your golf. As you gently focus on your navel, you will find that you start to breathe more deeply and this in turn sends increased oxygen along with your ‘feel-good’ chemical signals (endorphins) to your brain.
- Sink into the feet: Eastern philosophy tells us that your energy (Chi) follows your thinking, so if you focus on your feet you will feel more stable and rooted. Oftentimes when coaching a client, I ask them to address the ball and then give them a little nudge in the sternum, only to watch them fall backwards into the driving bay! With just a few moments practising this set-up drill – empty the chest, mind at the navel, sink into the feet – it becomes impossible for me to budge them from their stance, which just shows how much more balanced and rooted they are…which in turn accounts for the longer, straighter drives they hit.
Learn more with the help of my online course ‘Recreating the Perfect Golf Shot‘ - currently available through the Kajabi website. if you have any comments or questions on your training, please get in touch!