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Maximum Football Training

MFT or Maximum Football Training is a complete off-season and in-season football training program that is endorsed by football’s best strength coaches and NFL players.  Here is what MFT will do for you and your football team:

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Go Pro Football Workouts

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Here’s My #1 Golf Tip For Longer Golf Drives

If you put a gun to my head and said…

“give me your best golf tip to help me hit longer drives.”

…here’s what I would say.

Focus on hitting the ball out of the center of the clubface more often (keep reading for details on exactly how to do this).

You do that and you WILL hit the ball longer. Because golf digest did a study, where they found these results for a 100 mph swing…

Center Hit – 258 yards
1/2 inch off center – 243 yards
3/4 inch off center – 237 yards
1 inch off center – 227

So contacting a golf ball an inch off the center of the clubface with a 100 mph swing speed, results in a 31 yard loss of distance!

Now a close second to that advice would be to speed up your swing at impact. That’s because for every 1 mph of swing speed you improve by, you’ll gain about 2.2 yards in distance.

So if you swing at 90mph at impact and you increase that by 10 mph, then you would have gained about 22 yards in distance!

Now imagine, combining swinging faster with hitting the ball in the middle of the clubface more often.

That’s a great combination, and I’m going to give you two things you can do the next time you go to the driving range to help you do that.

The first tip is to help you swing faster, and it’s really simple.

When you’re at the driving range, in between shots turn your driver upside down and swing it as fast as you can. Then carry that “speed” over to your next shot and feel the difference.

By doing that, it will force you to swing faster than you’re maybe used to – which is a good thing, because your mind likes to keep things exactly the same.

Now that increase in swing speed is only going to be of much use if you hit the center of the clubface more often.

To help you do that you need to get some feedback on where you’re hitting your driver.

But sadly, because the drivers these days can be so dead when you hit them, it’s tough to know when you hit it right out of the screws. However, it is doable if you increase your awareness.

And to help you do this I want you to get some impact tape and put it on your driver.

Then, hit your drives with your faster swing speed. After you hit each shot I then want you to predict where on the clubface your ball hit.

The strange thing about this is that often times awareness can be curative. For example, if you think you’re hitting the ball out of the middle of the clubface but 9 times out of 10 it’s on the toe you’ll naturally make corrections in your swing to hit the ball more in the middle of the clubface.

If you didn’t know this, of course you wouldn’t do anything different, because you wouldn’t know there was a problem.

But please remember this… you never want to think about impact or what you’re doing at impact.

Impact is not a position, it’s something you move through and you should not be thinking when you’re doing this.

So when you’re being aware of your impact ball position, do not try to hit the ball on the center of the clubface. Use observation and awareness to improve your results.

So there you go… use those two tips to help you hit longer drives and enjoy playing golf more

The post Here’s My #1 Golf Tip For Longer Golf Drives appeared first on Golf Swing Secrets Revealed.

Source: Golf Swing Secrets Revealed

How To Easily Improve Your Bunker Shots

Bunker shots no longer have to be difficult. Typically it’s tough for both inexperienced and seasonal golfers to play consistently good bunker shots, but it doesn’t have to be this way. These tips have been prepared to help you become more confident and improve your sand bunker play.

In fact if you’re new to the game you may have already fallen into the trap of thinking an explosion shot is the only way to play out of bunkers. If this is the case, you will hugely benefit from understanding how to adapt your bunker shots based on your lie and the type of sand you are in.

We have all seen coverage on TV where professional golfers have favoured being in a greenside bunker rather than in the semi rough beside it. They simply aren’t fearful of being in the bunker and know within themselves that they will have greater control playing from sand. In fact they relish the opportunity to get it close from the bunker, which may not necessarily be possible from deep rough. By practising the following techniques you will gain a similar confidence and be prepared for any situation you find yourself in.

Undoubtedly solid practice of these basics will enable you to develop a good rhythm and confidence of mind. Ultimately the mental strength you will gain from being an improved bunker player will also help with your approach shots, as you feel less intimidated playing over or between bunkers.

Bunker Shots In A Nutshell

The primary thought for playing out of sand is to think of the bunker shot as one where the club hits the sand creating an explosion of sand that carries the golf ball out of the bunker. When you first start playing this can seem kind of weird because you have to start by learning how to hit the sand first. One mental trick is to forget the ball exists and imagine instead that it’s a rather large grain of sand. Over time experience will teach you exactly how far behind the ball to hit the sand for different shots, but in the beginning a good rule of thumb is to hit 1.5 to 2 inches behind it.

Bunker Shots v. Chip Shots Comparison

If you’re already confident with your chipping but continue to have trouble in the sand, it’s worth making this comparison. Chipping and bunker play are the same in so much you need to break your wrists early and hold this position on the downswing. Importantly though when you play a chip shot the club face hits the ball, whereas with a bunker shot this isn’t a requirement and there’s more room for error in terms of how much sand you take. Thus technically a basic bunker isn’t harder to play than a chip shot. In reality though the real problems in bunkers come from not having sufficient confidence to strike the sand where you are aiming with adequate control and rhythm. Additionally golfers have problems because they never really take the time to understand the construction of the sand wedge and how it differs from other clubs. Therefore if this is you, please read on for an explanation and the specific tips for playing out of bunkers.

Understanding The Sand Wedge

It’s important to appreciate that the sand wedge is constructed differently from the other irons in your bag, due primarily to a feature called the bounce. The bounce is the term given to the sole of the club, otherwise know as the flange. The sand wedge’s club face can vary from 55 to 58 degrees of loft, with 56 degrees being the most common one. The bounce can vary on average from 10 to 14 degrees of loft. Critically you need a club that works for you. Having too much bounce will cause you to bounce the clubhead into the side of the ball. Equally not having enough bounce will cause you to thin the ball because you will end up digging into the sand too much, just as if you were playing with a pitching wedge.

How To Play The Splash Bunker Shot

There are two main ways you to play a bunker shot with your sand wedge. Firstly you can play with a square face where the leading edge digs into sand and secondly by opening the clubface to skim through the sand with the bounce. The latter and most popular is often called an explosion or splash shot.

Here are the 8 exact steps to playing a splash bunker shot

1. Open up the clubface so as it still pointing to the target and take your grip. Generally the deeper the bunker the more you will have to open the face. The clubface is fully open when it is totally flat and if you cared to you could easily balance a bottle on it.

2. Set up with an open stance by adjusting your body so as your shoulders point to the left of your target. Typically aim 10 feet to the left of the target, around 15 – 20 degrees. Opening the clubface will naturally result in the ball shooting to the right and therefore by aligning yourself more to the left you counter this.

3. Position yourself so as the ball is just inside the front heel.

4. Dig your feet into the sand and shuffle them until you are comfortable and balanced. Flexing your legs automatically lowers your centre of gravity and makes it far easier to swing through the sand. Furthermore this action also creates a solid base so as you won’t slip.

5. Break your wrists early in the same way you would play a chip shot and hold this position on the upswing.

6. Swing parallel with your feet (not the target line) on an out to in path. On the downswing accelerate into the sand, maintaining the wrist break.

7. Allow the bounce to skim into the sand as if you were taking a divot of sand. The clubhead should strike the sand approximately two inches behind the ball. By not releasing it through impact you will ensure the club face is open as it hits the sand.

8. Follow through smoothly and finish with your hands held high.

How To Play From Different Types of Sand

Understanding how to execute various types of bunker shots based on the firmness of the sand is crucial to playing well. The following examples describe when to open the face and when to keep it square and swing normally.

Testing the sand

Whilst you aren’t allowed to touch the sand with your club to test its consistency you can appreciate the depth and texture of it as you take your stance. Don’t get caught out by dismissing the effect rain will have on soft sand. In the rain the sand will compact and thus significantly effect how you play the shot. In the same way take note as the bunkers dry out throughout the course of your round.

Playing from soft sand

In soft fluffy sand it’s crucial the bounce glides through the sand. Striking the sand with the leading edge will lead to the clubhead digging into the sand making it harder to give the ball the high trajectory it needs to fly out of the bunker.

Make sure you play the shot with your weight back so as you shallow out your swing arc.

Playing from hard packed sand

Begin by acknowledging that the ball will tend to sit on top of compacted sand.

Where you find sand compacted hard packed due to being wet or on a links course you need to play shots where the leading edge cuts more into the sand. This is achieved by keeping the clubhead square and swinging with a square stance. This will prevent the clubhead bouncing off the sand and blading the ball.

Move your weight forward so as you can drive through and dig the ball out by ensuring the leading edge strikes the sand first rather than the flange.

How To Play From Different Lies

Much like playing from the fairway there’s no guarantee you will find your ball in a perfectly flat lie every time. Hence this section covers how best to play from bunker slopes and what to do if you find your ball plugged or buried.

Uphill bunker shot

Set up by playing the ball off your front foot as you would with a flat lie. Make sure you play with your weight on the back foot. This will allow you to shallow out the bottom of the arc as much as possible.

You need to play for the fact that the ball will come out high, thus can be countered by not opening the face so much.

Where the slope is very steep you need to imagine you are chopping wood, but instead of having an axe in your hands you have a sand wedge. The technique is to then bury the club about an inch behind the ball and swing through to a high finish.

Downhill bunker shot

When you play from a downhill slope the ball will come out low and run a lot when it lands. Thus you may like to experiment with a 60 degree wedge to add a little more loft.

Play with your weight forward so as you can drive the clubhead underneath the ball. Playing the ball a little further forward than you would on a flat lie will make the shot a little easier.

Buried bunker shot

In order to excavate a ball from a buried lie (sometimes called a fried egg lie) you need to effectively chop it out by swinging up and down with a closed face. The trick is to close the face by 30 degrees as this will part the sand as you swing through. Swinging with a square face is ineffective as you will end up digging out too much sand without getting under the ball.

Position the ball in the middle of your stance, swing with a steeper downswing than normal and strike the sand an inch before the ball.

It’s difficult to spin the ball from such a lie and in reality you should be simply happy to extract the ball from such a terrible position. Your control will be limited as the ball will come out with a lot of top spin.

Uphill buried bunker shot

Play with your weight forward to maximise the chances of the club hitting the sand under the ball. It’s important to keep your hands ahead of the club. Open the face and draw on the allegory of chopping a tree as you drive the club face into the sand.

Downhill buried bunker shot

As with an uphill buried lie you need to keep your weight forward. Play the ball further in your stance than you normally would. The ball comes out lower and thus it’s crucial you learn to lean into shot and keep your hands ahead of the club.

How To Play From Different Bunkers

This final section looks at the differences between playing from a fairway bunker and a greenside bunker.

Fairway bunker shot

When faced with a long bunker shot the goal should be to nip the ball off the surface with a three quarter swing. Don’t hit the sand, but instead catch the ball cleanly. Hit the ball first as if you were playing a pitch shot. By playing the ball back in your stance you increase the chances of hitting the ball first.

Instead of digging your feet into the sand, tread lightly so as you maintain your height. You can increase your control by gripping down the grip and slowing your golf swing down.

Take one or two extra clubs compared if you were on the fairway hitting the ball the same distance to the target, but not at the expense of being unable to clear the bunker lip in front of you.

Greenside bunker

In a greenside bunker typically follow the steps above for a splash shot.

On occasion it is better to use a pitching wedge with a lower bounce angle for playing out of shallow bunkers with low lips where there is space to run the ball up to the hole. Chipping from sand is the same as chipping from grass apart from taking your grip further down the club. One final word, you can produce a better crisp contact by focusing on left side of ball and not right.

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7 Drills And Tips To Improving Your Putting Confidence

The secret to putting well is confidence.

Putting is the most important part of the game and you can only excel with confidence.

The good news is that putting isn’t difficult, you know you can make a short putt. The bad news is you know how difficult it is to consistently make short putts. Once you start to miss the short putts, your confidence wanes. To start holing them again you need a boost to your confidence, and there in lies the problem. How do you regain your confidence? How do you conquer the game of confidence as putting is often referred to?

Repeatedly missing short putts is no fun and destroys the enjoyment you should have playing this wonderful game. Do you feel humiliated at missing another short putts, it’s simply embarrassing. No wonder it can feel like you are on a slippery slope as your game slips into an exercise of hitting and hoping. Putting with doubt and without confidence is a card wrecker, but I bet it hasn’t always been that way!

Your current putting is probably totally alien to how you played as a kid when there was no fear or tension. Can you remember the competitions you used to play with your mates, there was no room for thinking you would miss. You were all absolutely confident of taking the money. I have fond memories of playing 36 holes as a junior, having something to eat and drink in the spike bar, and then out for evening contests on the practice putting green. There simply wasn’t time for dwelling on the prospect of a three putt, instead thoughts were of how to hole yet another monster putt.

If you analyse what has happened over the decades, you may now find that the second you take your putter out of the bag, you are immediately in a love or hate relationship with the club. Quite simply, are you relishing the challenge ahead of you, or are you fearful of what might happen next? Are you fuelled with positive or negative emotions? Even before you start to read the line are you tentative rather than enthusiastic?

You definitely need the solid belief that stops you from being tentative, one that comes from having real confidence. The kind built on proper foundations because this is the part of the game where you mentally have to be at your toughest. The truth is you need a strong mental game to putt well. The pressure builds up as you get nearer the hole because there is no longer any more room to recover. You can recover from a sliced drive with a good recovery shot to the centre of the fairway. You can even recover from a poor approach shot with well played chip shot. But when it comes to putting there is no where to recover except from duly holing the putt in front of you!

Missing Putts Isn’t Your Fault

If you fail to hole the putt, you may be surprised to hear that for a large part it isn’t your fault. Yes you heard that right. If you are like most golfers, you have been you have sadly been spoon fed three myths that need to be dispelled now before you can start to rebuild your confidence today.

Putting Myth 1 – Exposing The Lie About Putting Confidence

Too many golfers believe that all they need to do is start their round putting well and from there their confidence will grow. This is a myth because you should actually start your round with confidence so as you immediately start to hole short putts on the first green. You should already be confident so as the putts you hole on the first only go to make you even more positive.

You can ill afford to let how you putt on the first few holes determine your confidence for the rest of your round. It’s imperative you are confident from the beginning and absolutely certain you won’t miss a short putt. Otherwise allowing a build up of disappointment and frustration from the outset can lead to a loss of concentration and poor play.

Have you ever played a round and suddenly found yourself holing everything under the sun and before you know it you feel like you just can’t miss? You have an inner belief that you will sink every putt. You hole a good putt early on and this builds momentum. The hole seems like a bucket and you just can’t miss. Your confidence is sky high.

Isn’t it a fantastic state of mind to be in, far from concentrating on your technique you are naturally putting in a similar way to throwing a ball. The truth is, this is the state of mind you should be in all the time. Imagine for one second the number of putts that you would sink if this was the case.

Unfortunately this putting success is often short lived and is only lasts for one round. That’s great for that round but how do you go about recreating that putting streak and confidence?

It’s a misconception to believe you will stumble across a golden nugget of confidence on the practice green. You need to work on your confidence well before this. Spending a few minutes putting before you tee it up on the first, is an ineffective way to create a reliable confident mindset that works in pressurised situations. If you miss a short putt on the first green, what of real substance do you have to fall back on? Only by seriously working on your confidence away from the course can you possibly hope to have strong deterrent to any doubt that may creep into your game.

It’s foolhardy to simply think having positive thoughts will turn you into a confident player. It isn’t enough to simply hole a few putts on the practice green before you go out to play. You need to earn that confidence, so as it is ingrained into your mind and body. Leaving you in no doubt that you can hole a putt wherever you are playing, whoever you playing with and with whatever is at stake. There are reasons for spending time on the practice green minutes prior to teeing off, but they shouldn’t be confused with trying to instill a sense of confidence in you before your round. Valid reasons include helping you judge the pace of the greens, particularly useful it you haven’t played the course before.

Thus whilst it might be a hard pill to swallow, there really are no shortcuts to building the confidence you need to putt successfully. Fortunately by following the lessons, drills and tips below you will discover proven ways to improve your putting confidence for long term success.

However having dispelled the first myth about putting and confidence, it’s important to discuss the second and third ones before detailing your road to success on the greens.

Putting Myth 2 – Exposing The Lie About The Putting Stroke

The second putting myth we are all taught is that if we improve our putting stroke our putting will naturally improve. The golf industry is built on trying to sell us the latest putting gadget, where the golfer is sold the idea that they will hole more putts with an improved putting stroke.

This is completely false. Focusing on your putting stroke is not the answer.

Falling for this myth means the golfer misses the point that putting is a target orientated activity. Like throwing a ball, putting is a reaction to a target not a mechanical action.

Consider for one moment throwing a ball to someone. Wouldn’t it be weird if you concentrated on how you contracted your arm as you made the throw. I’m sure you would agree this would result in a shambolic throw. Of course you don’t concern yourself with the mechanics of how far you pull your arm back, you simply let your subconscious take care of this. Equally putting is exactly the same.

The bottom line is you have to focus on your target. Too many golfers get caught up in analysis paralysis whereby they concentrate on too many mechanical details and miss the big picture. Focus on your target and not your stroke.

Therefore if you ever catch yourself thinking too much about your putting stroke as you putt, pick up your ball and throw it. But as you’re throwing it, focus entirely on your elbow and see how that works out for you. And seriously that is why you shouldn’t get confused with the technicalities of your putting stroke, such as watching the putter head as you make your stroke. Perhaps you are analytical by nature but on the golf course it’s time to switch off the left side of your brain. The putting stroke is about feel.

Putting Myth 3 – Exposing The Lie About New Putters

The final myth relates to the industry’s obsessive quest to get you to invest in a new putter. Whilst it is recommended you get your putter fitted to your height and stroke you shouldn’t jump from one purchase to the next as soon as you start to miss a few putts.

The simple fact is you can’t buy confidence. Have you ever wondered why you nearly always putt well with a new putter and then you are back to bad old ways a few rounds later? Having a new putter in your hands simply distracts you from your putting stroke because you are comparing it to your old putter. You are mentally saying this putter is lighter, heavier, shorter, longer, shiner and many more other thoughts. You are simply not thinking about technique, because you are distracted for a short time by the new putter. Hence during this honeymoon period you execute your putts with a clear mind allowing your subconscious to control the mechanics.

Now that all three putting myths have been dispelled it’s time to reveal 7 proven ways to improve your putting.

7 Drills & Tips To Improve Your Putting Confidence

These 7 putting tips will put you on the road to holing almost all of your putts under 6 feet. They will eliminate any ounce of doubt you may have and help you build a solid base of confidence, one you can rely on in any pressurised situation.

These drills will give you the confidence to spring back after a poor putt because you have diligently taken all of these lessons on broad.

1. Develop a putting pre-shot routine for consistency on the greens

Having a putting pre-shot routine simplifies the game. By having a consistent proven routine you can rely under pressure, you have a massive advantage over your golf buddies and opponents. Most golfers vary their approach from one putt to the next, thus introducing a large degree of error into their putting stroke.

Through trial and error you need to develop a pre-shot routine you can consistently repeat for every putt you make. By developing a routine you will have a proven way to help you focus on each and every putt. You will be able to repeat each putt, continually hitting one solid putt after another. Once you are mastering these skills your confidence will naturally increase.

Through regular practice of your pre-shot routine it will gradually become automatic and your best ally on the course. Ultimately your best putting will happen when you focus totally on the routine rather than the result.

Never think about the end result. Don’t think this is for birdie, par, bogey or worse, it will only distract you. If you begin to project your thoughts in the future, stop what you are doing and start again. Go back to thoughts of the process and successfully execute your pre-shot routine.

Only in a dedicated practice session can you specifically work out a routine that works for you and then be able to fine tune it. Remember you should be able to replicate what you do on the practice green on the golf course. Once your own personal putting pre-shot routine becomes a natural part of your game you will automatically hole more putts from one round to the next and see your confidence soar.

2. Build your confidence from regular practice

It’s crucial you practise your pre-shot routine, as this reinforces your belief and self confidence. By doing this you are not only developing your feel but strengthening your confidence on the greens.

Learn to focus for short periods of time. It’s recommended you practise in 2 blocks of 15 minutes for a total of half an hour, 3 to 5 times a week. During the 15 minutes you need to commit yourself mentally and physically to the task of performing your routine many times over. In between the two sessions allow yourself to relax, talk to friends, try some one handed putts, play around and then once the time out is over return to practising your pre-shot routine.

Refer to the drills below for specifics on what to practise.

3. Increase your confidence by commitment

Your confidence naturally increases when you stick to the line you decide on, commit to a putt, and hole it. There is no room for indecision on the golf course. It’s paramount you commit yourself to every shot.

You can ill afford to be indecisive on the putting green. Without the commitment, it’s so easy to change your mind on the line of a putt halfway through your setup. In fact without commitment you can easily panic as you address the putt. If you’re in two minds, start by reading the putt again so as you give yourself every chance to be committed to it. It’s often when you are indecisive that you get a rush of blood to the head and hit the ball well past the hole.

It’s key to be relaxed on the greens. Often you will tense up when you are scared of a putt. By forcing yourself to commit and have the right mindset you can immediately see the tension disappear and your confidence increase.

4. Gain confidence from the right preparation on the practice putting green

By following the advice above you will have the confidence to hole every putt before even before you reach the first tee or practice putting green. Your confidence will already be sky high and it’s best to spend your time on the practice green determining the pace of the green. This will ultimately give you even more confidence as you allow your subconscious to acknowledge any change in speed, compared to what you are used to putting on.

Furthermore instead of wasting time trying to find a hole on a flat part of the practice green and even getting distracted by other golfers putting to the same hole, it’s recommended you putt instead to a tee peg. Desperately trying to hole a few putts on the practice green before you go out for your round is really only for those that haven’t put in the hard work to build a solid foundation of confidence. Simply putting to a tee will enable you to concentrate more on repeating your pre-shot routine and testing the pace of the greens. Don’t even risk getting sidetracked by counting how many putts you have holed on the practice green. Why risk seeing yourself miss a putt before you go out to play. Remember to focus on executing the process rather than the final result.

5. Build your confidence by creating a selective memory bank

Confidence is built on a succession of success stories and experiences, these begin to form your very own private image and video memory bank. When it comes to golf you need to carefully select what you put into this memory bank. If you miss a short putt you need to be selective and delete it so as you are only storing positive mental images.

You don’t necessarily need to store all the putts that you hole. Sometimes you can build up confidence from a good miss. This would be where you have successfully read and executed a long putt that breaks a few times, leaving you with a tap in.

If you mentally have a whole catalogue of missed putts in your mind, it is time to go back to the drawing board. You need to start building a positive memory bank on the practice green. In principle this means repeatedly holing short 2 and 3 feet putts in blocks of 50 or 100. It may seem like a repetitive and at times boring exercise but the essence of great putting is confidence. When you have successfully holed 50 three feet putts in a row, it’s difficult not to be confident.

In conclusion when you start to feel your confidence waiver you can quickly replay some of your best putts in your head, immediately giving you a boost and ensuring you have the right mental approach for the next putt.

6. Using positive self talk to maintain your confidence

Any self talk that knocks you back after a missed putt is destructive. As humans we have a habit of undermining our confidence with negative comments. Thus in order to maintain your confidence your self talk should be supportive and encouraging. There’s no need to blame others, yourself or even your putter!

There are many reasons you may feel it’s appropriate to get upset on the greens. A few examples would be misreading the line, losing concentration, not putting over your target, not sticking to your pre-shot routine. The reality is, that these types of things will happen from time to time, the goal though is to ensure this one event doesn’t get to you. Negative self talk will only make you dwell on the error longer than necessary. Instead you should use affirmations to keep a positive mindset and outlook on the rest of your round. What exact affirmation you use is a personal choice, but making references to your memory bank in the tip above will definitely squash any doubt that might creep in.

7. Putting Drills to build confidence

Once you have a working consistent pre-shot routine, it’s time to practise it in tandem with the 6 putting drills explained below. All of these drills will help increase your confidence and keep you in the groove. Simply applying these during a 30 minute session will improve your technique and mindset.

i. Clock drill

First place 4 tees around the hole at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock, 3 feet from the hole on a flat area of the green. Next place a ball next to each tee. The objective is to to make 4 consecutive putts. If you miss a putt you have to start again and if you hole all 4 holes you move each tee a further foot out from the hole. Thus you are now faced with 4 putts, each 4 feet from the hole. Again if you miss you have to start from 3 feet and if you hole all 4 balls you move onto putting from 5 feet from the hole.

This is a perfect drill for practising your pre-shot routine, holing lots of short putts and storing a lot of positive images of successful putts in your mind. Additionally this drill recreates the pressure you will feel out on the course because you can’t afford to lose your focus and start from the very beginning.

You can alter this drill to fit your own personal preferences in a number of ways. Firstly you can decide to hit 3 balls from each tee instead of one. Secondly you can maker it harder by setting it up on a slope so as you can practise putting uphill, downhill and with varying amounts of break.

This clock drill can be expanded to the point you have 10 balls in a circle around the hole rather than four. Perhaps you have seen Phil Mickelson doing this on TV or in person at a tournament. Phil sets himself the task of holing all 10 and then repeating again from the same distance a further 9 times to make a total of 100 putts.

ii. One ball practise drill

This putting drill allows you to hole a lot of short putts under pressure, thereby increasing your confidence as you hole more and putt further from the hole. Start by placing 5 tees in a line, with the first one 2 feet from the hole and the last one 6 feet from the hole. Next hole a putt from the tee nearest to the hole and then more to the next tee a further foot away. The pressure will increase as you move away from the hole because if you miss you have to start from the beginning by holing the 2 feet putt again.

The alternative is to putt 3 balls from each tee. Seeing yourself hole a lot of putts definitely helps increase your overall confidence.

iii. Putting to a smaller target drill

Making yourself putt to a smaller target, helps you focus more and gives you the belief and confidence you can hole any putt when you return to the hole width of 4.25 inches wide

Placing a tall plastic drinks bottle in the hole creates a smaller target. Furthermore using a tee or coin increases the accuracy required to hit your target.

iv. Developing feel and distance control drill

Stand 36 feet away from the hole and have 5 golf balls at your disposable. The aim is to putt all 5 balls further than your last putt and shortof the hole. Ideally you will putt the first ball 6 feet and then using your feel and touch, putt the next ball 6 feet further than the one before. This drill gives you a real awareness of your distance control.

v. Reacting to a target drill

As stated before putting is a target orientated task. Putting is a reaction to a target and this simple drill helps you shift your focus to the target. It revolves around making 10 putts from 2 to 10 feet from the hole. These can be totally random, the key is to putt very quickly without spending anytime on alignment. You should look at the hole and then hit the ball, taking no longer than 2 seconds to execute from the time you initially stand over the ball. There is no need to worry about the result. After each putt, move to a new location and quickly putt to the hole. This drill helps you to tune into the target by reacting to it as soon as you see it.

vi. Improving your putting technique drill

Confidence can be ruined by poor technique that stems from swinging poorly on your back swing, causing the putter head to come inside or outside too much. To prevent this and shorten your back swing place a tee directly behind ball with a gap of 6 inches. Now when you putt back you are forced into making a short back swing as you touch the tee. This keeps your putter square and encourages you to accelerate through the ball towards the target.

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How To Improve Your Mental Golf Game

On 2nd October 2011 I followed Michael Hoey’s progress over the last 9 holes of The Old Course, St Andrews during the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Walking the final stretch it was a real treat to see all of the mental golf game processes built by Dr Karl Morris and Hoey prove to be so effective under such immense pressure. Equally the importance of having a strong mental game was evident back in 2010 when another one of Dr Karl Morris’ clients Louis Oosthuizen won the Open Championship.

Ever since I interviewed Karl back in 2009 I have considered him to be a friend and someone I can definitely turn to for the very best advice on how to improve my own mental golf game. This is a certainly a privilege considering Karl’s other clients include 2010 US Open Champion Graeme McDowell and 2011 Open Champion Darren Clarke.

Today I would like to share with you 7 ways Karl has taught me to improve my mental golf game.

1. Introduce a concentration trigger into your game

As previously mentioned one of the best displays of concentration and confident play around the Old Course I have ever seen was that of Louis Oosthuizen playing in the final round of the 2010 Open Championship. I can only imagine the number of distractions a player faces as they tee off in the last group of a major. Like me you you may be wondering how does anyone handle that kind of pressure and have the ability to concentrate for 4-5 hours.

Fortunately by carefully studying Louis’ play on that Sunday you can learn how to apply the same principles of concentration to your own mental game.

Surprising as it may seem, Louis’ goal that week was not to win The Open. It wasn’t even to qualify for the following year or make the top five. It had nothing to do with his score. He simply made it his goal to perfectly perform his pre-shot routine on every shot. In doing so he naturally scored well, but his attention was not on the numbers but instead on the task of repeatedly executing a successful pre-shot routine. There’s a massive lesson here for you, if a professional tour player isn’t preoccupied with their score why should you be?

You may then ask how did Louis have the focus to ensure he stuck to his plan and never waiver. This he did by drawing a red dot on his glove. The red symbolises the colour Louis thought best represented the word “concentration”, a word that he told Karl summed up the best round he had played that year. In an affect he anchored the good feelings that came from having great concentration on the course with the red dot on his glove.

Setting an anchor in this way, whereby a task is enhanced by programming yourself to relate to past experiences, is a proven Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) technique. The red dot is a visual “trigger” and by looking at it Louis was able to allow his unconscious mind to experience the mental state set by the anchor.

Alternatively you can also use a spoken or tactile version. My friend John Richardson used the word “brilliant” as an anchor for his own positive mindset during the year he broke par, where he went from a control round of 103 to an amazing one under 70. Fred Couples uses a tactile trigger. Notice the way in which he pulls at his shirt, this is his method of creating a confident demeanor prior to striking the ball.

2. Break poor thought chains and reset your round

How often have you finished a bad round of golf knowing that ultimately your high score was due to poor behavioural chains rather than a run of awful golf swings or poorly judged shot choices?

Imagine hitting a slice on the first hole, leading to a double bogey. This particular scenario can create frustration when previously you had spent half an hour on the range drilling the ball down the middle. You then start to get angry and ask yourself why did you even bother to practice. On the second hole you slice again, the ball is playable and with some smart course management you should still par the hole. Unfortunately this is far from your thoughts. You are still frustrated at wasting time at the range and you feel self doubt starting to creep in. You hear yourself thinking perhaps you should have worked on another technique and asking why did you bother changing your swing. Then next you are actually blaming your coach for your own shortcomings. Subsequently these negative feelings affect your putting, usually the strongest part of your game, and before you know it the first four holes are a disaster simply because you couldn’t control the initial frustration you felt after your opening drive. If this is you, you are not alone. We have all been there and it’s imperative you break this thought chain as quickly as possible.

The ability to be mentally tough and bulldoze any negative self talk out of your mind is critical to your long term success on the golf course. It’s inevitable shots will be dropped due to poor play. Once you accept this you are in a far better position to control your emotions and not let any frustration and anger build up inside you. Karl calls this building mental resilience and exercising damage limitation before playing the next hole.

3. Stop having too many swing thoughts and park your attention

Too many golfers play with cluttered minds, continually confused at how some swing thoughts tend to work well done one day and not the next. In a nutshell we are all guilty of having far too many swing thoughts out on the course.

Contrast this to what Karl recently told me. He said that all of his top players have their best performances when their minds are quiet. There’s no doubt that this calm approach leads to better scoring.

Initially every golfer begins their shot by thinking about their lie, the effect of the wind, the distance to the target, what hazards to avoid, but ultimately they must clear their mind before striking the ball. Having processed a lot of information and then deciding on the type of shot to play, it is essential to trust your decision and clam your mind.

The solution is to park your attention in one of four places, namely the ball, club, target or yourself. By focusing on just one of these four options you will drastically reduce the number of swing thoughts and allow yourself to successfully hold your attention during the shot. Karl talks further about conquering your swing thoughts in video 7 of these 8 free golf tip videos.

4. Stay focused and stop making judgements

It’s probably safe to assume you have been distracted once or twice on the golf course! It happens so easily, especially when you get side tracked thinking something should have happened. Here are some examples you can probably relate to. I should have made birdie. The ball should have gone in. I should score below my handicap based on my front nine. I should be more than two up. I should win this match easily. They should let us through.

These are all judgements about what should have happened in the past or what should happen in the future. To be blunt though they don’t serve you well, as they stop you from focusing properly on your next shot. As hard as it may seem you will play your best golf when you stay in a neutral mindset. You can’t continually be making judgements on what should happen, this disrupts your ability to concentrate. Golf is played in the present, not the past or future.

Take the advice given above using a trigger to turn your concentration on and off, so as you conserve the mental energy you use during the four to fives hours on the course. It’s important to realise that 85% of golf is not golf. The aim is to maintain your focus and concentration during the 15% of time you are actually playing golf. This means staying in the present and not thinking about what should have happened or what should happen in the future.

5. Replace the wrong questions with the right one

Picture the scene. You walk onto the tenth tee and ask yourself why you have dropped so many shots on the front nine. Next you immediately begin thinking where’s the trouble on this hole? The conservation continues like this. Where should I play to avoid the bunkers? Why does each hole seem difficult? Why aren’t I swinging as well as I did on the range this morning? Each question creates anxiety and removes you further from the relaxed focused state you should be in.

Of course you should take note of the hazards but only so as you can answer the principal question you should have for every shot. This question is “what’s my target?” Harvey Penick wrote in his book “The Little Red Book” that we should all “Take Dead Aim”. We should know exactly where we want the ball to land on the green or fairway. Once we are absorbed by thoughts of the target we allow the subconscious to take care of hitting the ball.

6. Don’t set your expectations too high

It’s hard to play golf without expectations. Typically you come to the course with expectations based on your previous round or practice sessions. It’s difficult to not raise the bar or lower our expectations based on recent events. It’s a natural thing to do, but ultimately will harm your ability to score well. Your judgement on whether you are playing poorly or well is all based on expectations, or in other words what you expect to happen in the future. This is a destructive way to think. Golf should be played in the present, concentrating on each shot in the moment.

Any kind of expectation can cause pressure and tension, leading to poor shot execution. Take the situation where you play the first nine in a medal well and start to dream about posting a good score. We have all been there and instead of focusing on each shot independently you start to focus on your scorecard. Your expectations increase, you begin to feel some tension and before you know it you have given back all the shots you gained on the front nine! It’s far better to follow the advice Karl gave to Louis Oosthuizen, namely stop thinking about your actual score and begin to score your round by marking the number of times you perform a perfect pre-shot routine.

7. Handle bad shots well and move on quickly

Whilst it’s a given you will a bad shot, only you can say how long you will ponder it and allow it to eat into your confidence. The longer you dwell on a poor shot the more you will frustrated and unable to concentrate on the present. Granted you can learn from your mistakes but spending too much time thinking about them is a waste of time, particularly on the course. The solution is to develop a strategy for dealing with bad shots. Karl recommends breathing out completely after a bad shot to expel negative energy and then replacing your club in your bag with the word “done”.

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