How to Get Into the Zone

One of the most frequent questions I am asked by golfers of all abilities, coaches and parents is how to enter the zone or flow state in golf. The profession of sports psychology has different opinions about the ability to enter this highest level of performance.

Some believe it is random and more serendipity-like while others believe it can be experienced by effective decision making of selective attentional shifting. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian Psychologist, noted in his study on Happiness:

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times…The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” (1990, p. 3).

I believe that an athlete can proactively set the stage for entering “Flow” states by utilizing the model Csikszentmihalyi designed.

Every moment in practice and competition a golfer has the opportunity to choose where to place their attention. I will provide a more in-depth discussion in the future about how this system is employed so, for now, we will make it simple.

Read the rest of the article on womensgolf.com, and feel free to leave a comment or contact me and and let me know what you think. 

Contributing Post on Womensgolf.com

I’m thrilled to share my first article on WomensGolf.com. This will be the beginning of a series addressing issues specific to women golfers. 

In this article, I discuss the utilization of imagery during the golf swing. Dottie Pepper’s experience is indicative of the importance of imagery. Successful imagery results translates into a “feeling” that is then repeated on successive swings.  

Stay tuned for more articles on WomensGolf.com, and other outlets directed specifically at women golfers.

Sneak Peek at Next Appearance on The Golf Fix

The other day, I traveled to Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, NY to film a segment for another appearance on The Golf Fix with Michael Breed on the Golf Channel. On a cloudy, blustery day, we had a wonderful time discussing what to do when the wheels come off the wagon, and I think everyone will get a lot out of it. FullSizeRender-1 IMG_1074 IMG_1079 IMG_1084

Fixing the Yips and Southward Bound

It has been a whirlwind week! Last Friday evening @ 5 p.m.. I received a phone call from Michael Breed inviting me to be his guest on The Golf Fix on The Golf Channel.  The only trouble was that I was in NJ and I had to be in Orlando on Monday morning for taping.  I decided to journey on down Sunday to meet with Michael and his Producer, Jeremy Garrison, to watch them play Bay Hill.  It was a great day filled with great shots (and some not so great ones).  I had the opportunity to demonstrate some of my “mind mechanics” training to both Michael and Jeremy.

On Monday, the taping began, but at first I didn’t realize that the shoot would only be one take.  After being in the studio for 10 minutes and being instructed where to stand, I hear “..3, 2,–” and much to my surprise the filming started!  I was shocked and I am sure it appeared on air as being nervous.  The rest of the segment went well and I am very pleased with the results. We discussed how to fix the yips. Check out the segment on Golfchannel.com.

Next week I will be off to the University of Richmond to work with one of my players.  The rest of this past week continued to offer me new opportunities to work with new players on Web.com, collegiate, juniors and PGA Teaching Pros. 

Fixing the Yips – BRI

Nick&Michael Breed

Me & Michael Breed, host of The Golf Fix on the Golf Channel, discussing how to eliminate the yips.

It was thrilling to be on The Golf Fix last night with Michael Breed to discuss techniques for reducing anxiety and eliminating the yips. My advice would be to use BRI – Breathing, Relaxation and Imagery.

First, breathe in through your nose to inflate your diaphragm, hold, then breathe out through your mouth and pause. It is called “square breathing” because each of the components should have the same rhythm. You will notice that your entire body relaxes on the exhale. This should be done during your pre-shot routine.

For imagery, put a picture in your mind of the club impacting the ball perfectly. That should be one of the last things you think before you swing. With that image in your mind, your subconscious will get the club to where it needs to be. This also helps clear your mind of fearing the upcoming shot.

Finally, practice as you would play. Use the same pre-shot routine on the range and short game area as you do on the course. This helps train your body and your mind. With effective training, the yips will greatly fade away.