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Article: Seeing Is Believing – Visualize Like A Pro

Seeing Is Believing – Visualize Like A Pro

Seeing Is Believing – Visualize Like A Pro

One of the most powerful traits shared by top golfers is their ability to use pictures and mental images. This amazing ability to control images is called visualization by golf psychologists. Most of the greatest golfers from history have all used some form of visualization and mental imagery, including golf’s all time leading major champion Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus has even affirmed that 50 percent of success in golf is a golfer’s mental picture. You might have heard Jack Nicklaus’ famous quote of imagining himself hitting the shot during his pre-shot routine. He describes having a very vivid image, like it was a color movie.
“I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head.” JACK NICKLAUS

Jack Nicklaus was one of those guys who was able to picture the entire shot from the moment it left his club into trajectory all the way to where it would land and bounce and roll out and stop. He never hit a shot until he could see it in advance. That’s how important visualization is.

Proven Benefits Of Visualization

The world’s best athletes all use the practice of visualizing a great performance before the action for a very good reason – it works!

Visualization has been proven to:

  • stimulate the muscles necessary to perform an action
  • program the mind and muscles prior to playing to increase confidence
  • control pre-round nerves and relax the body and mind
  • re-frame from negative to positive outcomes
  • Help with swing changes
  • Help recovery from injury
  • Improve concentration
  • Reduce doubt and increase commitment

The Science Of Visualization For Golf

Movement is initiated by the brain. When you want to perform a physical action, the best way to do it is to first feed the brain a picture of that action and the desired outcome of that action. The subconscious mind (which controls athletic movement) doesn’t know the difference between a real and imagined action. So, when you visualize a physical action, you’re actually stimulating the same muscles that you would use to perform the real action. Sports scientists call this “Functional Equivalence”.

In golf, if you don’t have a clear picture of the shot you’re about to hit, you’re quite simply wasting a valuable opportunity to prepare the brain to activate the exact muscles required to execute it. To access those muscles, the brains uses specific “neural” pathways to send impulses to those specific muscles. When you’re visualizing, you’re telling the brain which pathways it needs to use.

A pre-shot routine that includes visualization has positive outcomes. It gives you time to assess what your shot will be and what club you’ll use. This slows your game down and prevents you following what other players have done or what you’ve always used for this hole. Picking an aim spot and selecting a club you know will get you there whilst taking into account the conditions such as wind direction, is going to improve your game regardless of whether you close your eyes or not.

Jason Day Is The Master Of Visualization

Jason Day, one of the world’s top golfers and former World #1 uses visualisation as the best way for him to feel comfortable going into a shot. As Jason explains I started closing my eyes when I was at a very young age like 14 or 15 years old. I take two practice swings before my shot, I just really try and mimic what I’m trying to accomplish and then when I come back I see myself hitting the shot and watching it land where I’ve aimed”.

He continues, “My target is small. The smaller the target the more accurate I am. Most golfers have too big a target or an ill-defined one. If you’ve ever played darts, it’s not the dartboard you are aiming at, it’s a number and if you want a double it’s the outside circle of that number. Be specific, you should also putt like that. Don’t just aim at the hole pick a small point on that hole”.

Practice Visualization Whenever You Think About Golf

If you really want to make a difference to your game and your confidence, practice visualization whenever you think about golf. When you see it over and over again in your mind, it will lead to greater self-belief and less self-doubt, which makes you do everything with more intent and determination.

In addition to visualizing you reaching your goals and becoming the best player or person you want to be, visualize the process too. Studies show that people who visualize what they will have to do (process simulation) in addition to visualizing their goals, achieve more success than those people who only visualize the desired outcome.

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