So how do you Apply Mental Imagery?
In describing how he employs mental images to enhance his performance, Jack Nicklaus once wrote:
“I never hit a shot even in practice without having a sharp in-focus picture of it in my head. It’s like a colour movie. First, I “see” the ball where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes, and I “see” the ball going there: its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behaviour on landing. Then there’s a sort of fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality – only at the end of this short private Hollywood spectacular do I select a club and step up to the ball.”
The world’s greatest living golfer – advocating mental imagery.
However, having this skill on tap comes only through practice – it doesn’t become second nature overnight. If you want to perfect and use mental imagery to your fullest advantage you can start by doing two things:
1. In every practice session, before you play a shot, first imagine it happening as perfectly and precisely as possible. See, feel, and experience yourself moving through the shot in your mind as you would like it to actually happen.
2. In competitions, before the round starts, mentally recall your game plan, shot making skills, focus skills, reactions, or feelings that you want to carry into the round. To become highly proficient in the use of mental imagery, you have to use it every day, on your way to practice, during practice, after practice, and in the evenings before sleeping.
Another way of looking at this is Daydreaming. How many times a day does your mind wander to your next round of golf on Wednesday or at the weekend? You are already using mental imagery when this happens – all I’m suggesting is that you become your own movie director and get a bit of cohesion and structure to your daydreams.
And the idea of being your own movie director is not as far fetched as it may seem.
Enjoy your Round!
* These phrases and concepts are fully explained in the Inner Golf Coach Audio Program.