It has long been said that Tiger Woods is one of the most focused athletes the world has ever seen. I believe that there are few athletes that have the quality of focus that Tiger possesses, and he is obviously in a class above all amateur golfers that enjoy the challenges that the game of golf offers.
But what if I said that it wasn’t the quality of focus where Tiger stands heads and shoulders above his competitors; but rather it is his ability to switch his focus ON and OFF during the course of a round. This enables Tiger to have the same quality of focus for the last 6 holes of a round that he had in the first 6 holes.
During Tiger’s teen years, he learnt to be able to switch his focus ON and OFF for each shot, helping him stay in the present and give himself the best possible chance of hitting a great shot “right now”.
A lot of players believe that switching your focus ON is the most important aspect to achieving a consistent high level of focus. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The switching OFF after each shot is the most important component to being able to store enough focus for the latter stages of a round so that you can eliminate those late round mistakes.
Tiger worked extensively with a Sports Psychologist in his teen years and one of the important mental game components that helped Tiger store this much needed focus, was to create what he called the “Ten Yard Line”.
The “Ten Yard Line” came from the National Football League (NFL) in the US, whereby there are incremental lines on field every 10 yards. When Tiger was on the course, for every shot he would visualize his golf ball in the middle of two Ten Yard Lines. When he walked over the first line heading toward the ball, this would be his mental trigger to switch ON for the shot he was about to play. Once he had finished his shot, he would cross the second Ten Yard Line, and this would be his mental trigger to switch his focus OFF and enjoy the time in between shots, not analyzing or worrying about the next shot until it was time to switch ON. This is where Tiger has an edge over the competition in being able to sustain a high level of focus on the last 9 holes on Sunday as this is generally where his competitors begin to run out of that all-important focus energy.
If the gridiron image isn’t to your liking, there is an even easier trigger to help you switch your focus ON and OFF during the round.
The Golf Glove has been used as a trigger to help golfers all over the world switch on and off, as it is the one piece of equipment that a high percentage of golfers use for every shot. Another aspect to why the Golf Glove is a great trigger is that it uses 3 out of the 5 different sensory systems, which means it can be developed as an extremely powerful trigger: you SEE, FEEL and HEAR the glove being put ON and also taken OFF.
The next time you head out to the range or practice fairway, I want you to use your Glove as a trigger to switch your focus ON and OFF for every shot. A great exercise to help you achieve this is to pretend you are playing the first 6-9 holes of a course, changing clubs for each shot until you have reached the green, and then moving onto the next hole. This exercise will help you to create the Golf Glove as a specific trigger to help you switch your focus ON and OFF for each shot, as well as helping you to better prepare for what you will experience in competition.
If you can train your mind to use the Golf Glove to be a trigger to switch your mind ON and OFF for each shot, you will begin to see the quality of your focus be sustained and available to you over the crucial finishing holes that seem to play an enormous role in whether your handicap drops, or your frustration levels rise!