“No conscious effort whatsoever went into that putt. There were no thoughts about ‘this is for the open’…I stroked it in”. – Sergio Garcia
Part one of this two-part blog introduced the idea of flow and the first step toward achieving flow in your game.
The aim of this blog is to provide an insight into the second step, how thoughts might be translated into skilled action and ultimately flow.
The ability to consistently engage in ‘System 1’ thinking (fast and automatic) is difficult to achieve and requires effort during practice.
Players know that by training the body to effectively execute a skill they should become better at doing so.
The same principle is applied to the mind. Implementing effective ‘brain training’ strategies allows players to develop their mind ready for the demands of competition. The following focus areas and example drill can help train the brain to engage in ‘System 1’ thinking.
To begin you require a clear focus on…
- The target
- Instinctual decision making
Avoid thoughts on technique, previous shots or ideal outcomes.
- Bringing out your natural athleticism, being as natural as possible in creating the stroke.
Releasing yourself from trying to control your technique or path.
- Complete trust, full commitment without any fear of missing
- Creating the putt, no concern about the result
- Not allowing the previous result to dictate how you create your next putt
To assess how well you engage in ‘System 1’ thinking, ask yourself these 7 questions:
- How free was your mind?
- How clear/trusting/committed were you toward your line?
- How free were you of tension?
- How free were you of thought?
- How instinctual was your decision process?
- How well did you avoid a focus on technique?
- How free were you from fear of missing the putt?
Training your brain to engage in ‘System 1’ thinking is best practiced in putting drills and then you can work your way up to applying it in your full game.
Various Clubs Drill
The various club drill involves creating a 6 foot (2 metre) putt using a variety of clubs (fairway wood. iron, driver, etc.).
This drill aims to help you release yourself from a focus on technique and simply focus on creating the shot with your natural athleticism and instinct.
Flow is achieved in ‘System 1’ thinking- Implementing drills such as this into your training schedule can help train your mind toward a state of flow when the stakes are high. The more you implement drills such as these, the more your mind adjusts.
You should find that as you continue to practice these focus states, they will become instinctive to your game and your natural and developed physical abilities will occur without engaging in ‘System 2’ thinking.
This information can be a useful starting point toward achieving flow in your game.
An appointment with a MNC psychologist can introduce more drills to engage ‘System 1’ thinking and work with you to refine thought control strategies and implement skills most suited to you.