Most golfers know that to play well an important, if not the most important part, is to focus on playing one shot at a time and not get ahead of yourself and count the victory or score. This is not just true for golf, but can be applied to any competitive sport.
It’s one thing to know this and another to do it. In a recent article, Professional Golfer Ben Crane, after winning a tournament talked about how he set his goals this year to develop and focus on a process for hitting each shot, not winning.
There are a couple of ways that you can begin training your mind to do this. Next time out, keep track on your scorecard with a system of a plus or minus to identify whether you followed your swing routine. A second method is to rate your focus on each shot on a scale of 1 to 5. Either way or any combination will help remind you to stay focused on one shot at a time. Do this each time out and your mind will become more disciplined to this way of playing.
From Oregonian, April 2, 2010:
But the victory and rewards were less important to Crane than each shot he executed.
“My goals look very different that winning,” Crane said. “I used to think I wanted to win, and now I realize that for me, it’s not about winning, and if I’m thinking about winning, then I’ve missed the boat.”
So what is he thinking about? Crane says his sole focus on the course is the process he goes through in hitting each shot.
“I have certain things — I guess you could call them checklists or progressions — that I go through before, during and after each golf shot, no matter what kind of shot it is,” he said. “I’ve committed myself to doing those things. And then I grade myself on how I did those things. I don’t grade myself on where the ball went.”
Golfers have long touted “one shot at a time” as a course strategy, but few have ever committed to it as totally as Crane. It was the result, he said, of a meeting he had with eight of his advisors in November in which they dissected his game.
The end result was Crane’s third victory on the PGA Tour. But he was so consumed with the process of each shot, he says he had no idea he was in the lead on Sunday until he holed his final putt.
“I certainly didn’t know what the people were doing in front of me, and I didn’t look at the leaderboard all week long, and that day,” he said.
About the Author: Mark Henry is a Licensed Professional Counselor passionately committed to helping athletes identify and develop the mental skills that will take their game to the next level. In addition, he brings years of experience coaching college basketball and numerous sports at the high school level.