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How to get rid of self-talk during the swing


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7 hours ago, NC Golfer said:

I'd love to get rid of the downswing thought. For the most part, being an avid student of the game, we're told we must have a lower body part to start the downswing.

If I don't think about it, I have a weak cut. With an arms swing. Would love to just swing. But, that's another message I can't get out of my head.

Even Pros have swing keys that they think about before their shots. Give this a view;  illustrates what @chisagdiscussed in his post.

 

 

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12 hours ago, NC Golfer said:

I'd love to get rid of the downswing thought. For the most part, being an avid student of the game, we're told we must have a lower body part to start the downswing.

If I don't think about it, I have a weak cut. With an arms swing. Would love to just swing. But, that's another message I can't get out of my head.

No such thing as an arm swing. There a 2 page thread on wrx about this. I’m going to post two screen caps from a very respected pro.

 

AD1035F9-7F5E-4DDB-BA32-A2CFF607F6BC.jpeg

5C8104C0-E41B-4AC6-8E5A-F79B90532F38.jpeg

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16 hours ago, cnosil said:

Even Pros have swing keys that they think about before their shots. Give this a view;  illustrates what @chisagdiscussed in his post.

 

 

Pretty cool. We rarely hear what the pros are thinking. I am not clear on what a swing key is vs a swing thought? Do you guys use either as a pre-swing and just let er rip on the actual swing?

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2 hours ago, EasyPutter said:

neither should we golfers try to improve alone on the course. 

 

... 👍  At Byron Nelson's tournament many years back, two young guys were on the range before playing their first round and as Mr Nelson passed by they wanted some of his expertise. They asked him about some things they were doing in their swings and if he thought they should change them before the round. Byron just looked at them a second and then said "Boys, if you didn't bring it with you, you aren't gonna find it here." Of course they could go back to the range after their round and work on some things but before the round just warm up and during the round just play golf, not golf swing. 

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3 hours ago, NC Golfer said:

Pretty cool. We rarely hear what the pros are thinking. I am not clear on what a swing key is vs a swing thought? Do you guys use either as a pre-swing and just let er rip on the actual swing?

 

... A swing key is one thought you want to focus on pre swing like many of the Pro's in the excellent video cnosil posted. "Keep your head still" as an example is a swing key. It is just a reminder before you shift your focus to your target. "Move your weight to your back foot but don't sway and don't over swing just keep it smooth" are swing thoughts and will dominate your thought process making the target secondary at best. Hope that helps....   

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Don't take such a slow back swing that allows you to think about positions or where your club/hands are. The range is for that the course is to play. Just like MLB players that have milliseconds to even think about their swing if they think about their swing they will miss the ball. Golfers aren't waiting on a ball but our tempo is everything for a smooth swing. 

 

My only suggestion is that if your set up doesn't feel right step out of the shot. Knowing something doesn't feel right is going to be a disaster because 1.) you already know something is off and 2.) you are going to try and compensate or tweak something that will contribute to a big disaster 

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I have simply convinced myself that my body knows what to do and that my mind needs to be quiet in order to let my body do what it knows.  Any mental noise over the ball is a detraction from the ability to hit a good shot.  The other thing is that I have bought into the concept that I do not step into a shot until I've completed my analysis of the situation and what type of shot I need to play.  Once i figure out the shot, I hold a clear picture of it in my mind.  Then, I step into address, look at my very specific target, clear my mind of everything else and let the shot go.  If for some reason I ever have thoughts over the ball, they will be more of rhythm or tempo or getting to the desired finish position.  Nothing else.

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Best advice for any golfer.  Read Every Shot Must Have a Purpose by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott or Google Think Box, Play Box. It changed my season. Vision 54. Follow the lessons and there is no room for thoughts.  

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Lots of good tips in this thread.  My swing is undertaking a revolution right now.  Everything is being overhauled.  Too many thoughts in my head before the swing.  They all make sense, and I need to do them, but I think I should be more concise in my mental chatter.  Eventually, words will turn to feelings in the swing and then those will be replaced by other thoughts and things I'm working on.  I'm not the OP, but thanks everyone!

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 “They call it golf because all the other four letter words were taken.”

‒ Raymond Flyod

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I fully believe your mind remembers the last word in your brain.  "Don't hit it in the water" equals "water".  That is why that positive frame of mind is so important.  Also, how many times have you been describing a hole to a friend who hasn't played the course, described the good shot, then hit that shot.  

I don't understand guys that stand up there and say "I have no idea where this is going to go, keep an eye on it".  That is just negative thoughts to start.  = bad.  

Fake it till you make it!

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I think any thought that addresses a specific body movement activates your conscious mind and is a recipe for disaster.  I try and keep all of my swing thoughts abstract and/or positive, like "solid contact" or "smooth".  On the range, making intentional manipulations of certain body parts is a must to improve, but in those instances the result means far less than the swing mechanic you are working on.  When I get to the course I picture where i want the ball to go and how, then let all your practice and years of playing take over.

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I play on occasions, with a good friend who does this, BUT he talks out loud and it affects everyone's game.  Analyses every shot, every mistake and it is very irritating.  If he did it quietly, it would be ok, but I do ride with him.  He is a very nice guy but this habit really slows down play and drives me nuts. Have said to him that he would stop self analyzing and just hit the ball he would score much better he would be much happier.  He says, I know and reverts back to his annoying habits.  Did not ride with him today and scored twelve strokes better.  Makes a difference.  

That little thing between the ears is a dangerous thing.  Thank you for not sharing your thoughts with your partners.  We all have that problem at times.  My golf coach tells me to to stop overthinking, relax and hit the ball.   Just sayin'.     

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This happens a lot and is a great feeling when that premonition washes over you complete with a way, a why, and a how, then just enjoy the show.  It may not always have the anticipated ending but it's a great movie.  

 

 

 

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The head tells the ball what to do, and the ball tells the head where to go

:macgregor-small:  :benhogan-small: :cobra-small:

 

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I say one hundred and one in my head while I swing. Goal is to hit the ball on the last one. helps with tempo and gets me out of the clouded thoughts mid swing. if it’s a bad day I will say it out loud. Helps me hear if I’m putting too much arm in my swing. 
 

if your talking too much during the approach. Set up a routine and each movement is assigned a number. Practice it and so that every time. I will get my grip and line up to the ball with my feet together. Count goes:

1. Set up lead foot

2. set up back foot

3. look to the target 

4 waggle 

5. Relax grip

and then 101. 
 

this helps a lot but requires some humility on the driving range as you do this out loud haha. 

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 Vision 54 talks about the think box, where you do ALL the thinking and planning. When you go to the play box, just hit the ball - no more thinking. 

Having a consistent process, like others have mentioned, helps too.  
 

Like the AT&T commercial says “Just hit the ball!”

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On 6/3/2022 at 2:45 PM, NC Golfer said:

As avid golfers, we often know too much and over analyze our golf swings. What I realized today, especially on the backswing, I do a lot of self-talk. Such as oh, you are taking it on the outside again or that's a sway. This can't be good. What is a good way to get rid of the self-talk during the swing, so it becomes more fluid?

Okay, I'm going to make a suggestion that works great, but that you probably won't try. 

To get rid of that, I suggest, talking to yourself OUT LOUD during your backswing. Seriously, if you try this you may end up loving it. But you will likely not try it. Here's what you do.

During your backswing. Literally talk out loud to yourself. Talk about what your backswing would look like, or what your perfect swing thought is. Talk about anything that's positive and promotes what ever it is your are working on. Right now, I like to say something like this "I'm going to take this club back, keeping its face pointed at the ball and make my weight shift to my front side as early as possible...." 

Now normally you won't get all of that out. You don't have time. But the awesome thing is it is all but impossible to think about anything other than what you are talking out loud about. 

A side benefit is that nobody else can distract you either. Who gives a s#!t if Bob is talking in your backswing when you, yourself, are talking in your backswing? 

Give it a try. But I warn you. It works great and you may want to keep on doing it. 

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As someone who fights his mind over the ball, those that are replying, “Don’t think,” or “Don’t have those thoughts,” um, if it WERE that easy we wouldn’t have the issue.

For those giving TANGIBLE ideas: GREAT STUFF! Positive thoughts, a phrase, “counting”, boxes, Mary had a little lamb, etc, all good ideas, and THANK YOU.

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This is a variation on the practice/swing box.  @DiscipleofPenick suggested to use a start line.  At its core its an imaginary line that is the border between having swing thoughts and making a swing.  Once you cross it, no more swing thoughts.

For me this means standing behind the ball, taking a couple rythmic swings to find a particular feel or swing key, deciding what yardage it would be best to hit it to based on my visualization of the shot, committing to the shot, then picking an alignment point.  The moment I step toward the ball the only things I'm supposed to do are to align, address, look at the target, look back at the ball, and swing. 

It's taken some practice but I find that if I'm committed to the shot the less time I spend over the ball the better.  When it works its surprisingly quick.  I've gotten to the point that I can mostly just think about only two things.  The target and the yardage.  I'm also generally talking to myself about both as I address the ball.  (165 yards at the palm tree right of the flag.)  I don't conciously start the swing anymore.  I just feel ready and swing.  The hardest part about it for me is teaching myself to back off the ball if I lose my alignment, my focus, or if it doesn't feel right.  My striking has never been better...  my aim and decision making need work though.

Edited by Syks7
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6 hours ago, PMookie said:

As someone who fights his mind over the ball, those that are replying, “Don’t think,” or “Don’t have those thoughts,” um, if it WERE that easy we wouldn’t have the issue.

For those giving TANGIBLE ideas: GREAT STUFF! Positive thoughts, a phrase, “counting”, boxes, Mary had a little lamb, etc, all good ideas, and THANK YOU.

 

... There really is no "don't" in golf and channeling my inner Yoda there is just "do". When you are struggling with your swing it is a learned, although very difficult discipline to play with what you have that day instead of an attempt to fix it during a round if you struggle with swing thoughts. Ideally go to the range right after the round and address it or the next day or whenever you have the time. A positive swing key is always a good idea to give your brain something to focus on if you can't just think about your target. "Make a smooth swing ... Make an aggressive swing ... Complete my follow through" kinds of swing keys can compliment hitting your target. You can look at your target and think one positive thought and accomplish both. But if you give your brain negative thoughts like "don't over swing" or "don't keep my weight on my back foot" it can't do both. 

... Fwiw, you can hit your target with a square, very open or very closed stance because your brain will adjust to get the ball to your target. It is a very powerful computer and given the right instructions, it will do it's best to accomplish the task it is given. So give it the task you really desire, hit the ball at your target and train your brain to have one swing key at a time. Not easy to break a bad habit I know but like Sheryl Crow lamented:


 

You say "It's just a question of eliminating obstacles" 
As you throw your dinner out the kitchen door 
You say "I know how you try" 
But honey let's eat out tonight
 
No one said it would be easy 
But no one said it'd be this hard
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Great ideas guys - thanks. An offshoot issue of this problem, is getting the thought out of my head, that you must swing from the ground up on the through swing or similar lower body key. If I just swing, how is the lower body supposed to move first? For some reason when throwing a pitch or football, the lower half engages effortly. Will it do the same in golf, if we allow it to?

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