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Paralysis of Analysis –‘Over Thinking’ the golf swing.

By Jenny Jones

Analysis paralysis involves ruminating or spinning the same thoughts over and over. But this overthinking typically doesn't lead to any new insight. Continuing to analyse possibilities when you already feel fatigued and overwhelmed is what eventually triggers the “paralysis,” aka inability to decide / take action.  

How does this translate to golf?

When a golfer is over the ball and is about to action the shot, if she/he has a hundred swing thoughts running through their head (left arm straight etc), eventually the mind decides I can’t process this all quick enough and get my body to follow ALL those instructions in this amount of time, so I am just going to give up and forget all that and just try and hit the ball somehow, and with a completely different swing, to the one I practiced on the range or even my practise swing just now.

Feel familiar to you?

“My practice swing feels good, and yet I can’t repeat it when the ball is in front of me!"

Imagine if you could change that? Would that make a difference to your game?

Then consider these steps to take.

Step 1. The Awareness of what is going wrong. For example; I am thinking too many swing thoughts.

Step 2. Willing to try something different.

Step 3. Persevering with the new mental routine until it becomes the new normal. 

Photo Credit: Hannah Green by Steve Dykes Getty Images


Understanding that there is a process to making a good golf swing is the key to great golf. Each player needs to learn to create a golf swing, not just TRY to HIT the ball. The mind instructs or moves the body, the body moves the club, and the club moves the ball. My opinion is we should remove the word ‘hit’ from golf instruction. We need to train our body to move, so that the club attached to our grip makes contact with the ball.

 How do we train ourselves to do this consistently? Well, once you have learnt the fundamentals of the golf game, it is then necessary to learn how to self-instruct. Giving the mind clear instruction on how to instruct the body, then coaching the emotions to trust the swing and results will happen automatically.

It takes discipline, practice and constant repetition to master this process. Once learnt it is easy to do. But we must be aware that the mind will forget if we don’t constantly remind it of the process. Just like going to the gym, if you don’t keep training those muscles, their memory will disappear and you will go back to the old unhealthy you. This happens in the golf game too. Everybody who plays golf knows to ‘watch the ball’. But I often hear, oh, “I forgot to watch the ball”. Fortunately I know how to fix this too…..

The Process:
Learn to give yourself simple instructions on every practice swing. Note: this is where you give yourself swing thoughts, NOT when you’re over the ball.)

Try saying the following.

  • Take your grip.
  • Feet shoulder width apart.
  • Slight bend of the knees.
  • Stick your bottom out.
  • Tilt forward from the waist.


Tip: try saying the words out loud as you do them.

Now, just turn the shoulders. Complete the backswing. (Pause slightly, ONLY DURING THE PRACTICE SWING). Start the down swing with your hips and hold the follow through. Say these words on EVERY practice swing.

After that practice swing feels good, say the words to yourself - “That Felt Good”.

This is practicing self-encouragement. Walking over to place the club behind the ball, say something like - “I trust my swing.”

OVER THE BALL

Self-instruction now is nothing to do with technical swing tips or techniques.

You have created muscle memory in your practice swing.

The 3 keys now are:

  • Drop all expectations.
  • Focus on tempo.
  • Develop a swing trigger.

This looks like the following: Self instruction through your own thoughts and words. “This is just another shot”, remember the pause, slowly back.

Then the process continues. After each shot, we reset and do it again. My 4 ‘R’s’ for consistent golf are Routine, Reset, Repeat = Results. Give it a go!

For more detailed understanding of this process and how it will work in your game would you consider a zoom call or phone session to improve your game? What if you just learnt how to remember to ‘watch the ball’. If you’re seeking more information and better golf results, please contact me for a lesson without even having to go to the course. I’d love to help you play the best golf of your life. I even have a GOLF MIND GYM to train your mental game, so that you don’t forget to watch the ball and more.

Contact Jenny on 0402 235639 or go to www.mindfulgolfcoaching.com


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