The Way We Think! Thinking Styles for Golf

The Way We Think! Thinking Styles for Golf

“The way we think, the way we learn, the way we practise.”

Fellow PGA Professional Paul Thompson is the resident professional at Powerscourt since 1995. In addition to providing coaching on-site he also is a coach with The Golfing Union of Ireland.

Check out our blog where Paul will regularly be posting articles guiding you through all facets of your golf game. This week Paul provides guidance on thinking styles.

Paul Thompson Coaching

Thinking styles:

1. Internal Focus – traditional technical instruction where your attentional focus is on your body movement. Emphasis is on conscious control of physical self.  (Examples: The Golf Machine, The Plane Truth etc.)

2. Proximal External Focus – self awareness development where your focus is shifted away from body on to club head movement or similar. Golfers who discover this phase recognise how it develops trust in their technique that they have developed in Phase 1 learning (Examples: Instinctive Golf, Extraordinary Golf etc.)

3. External Focus – Attentional Focus golf instruction where your focus is moved entirely AWAY from your technique in practice and play and on to your TARGET. This is where you perform skills successfully. Externally focused.

Although it is widely recognised and understood that thinking externally is very much at the heart of performing well, it must also be accepted that good golf technique is for the most part built from internal thought processes. This is especially true of the full swing. In other words, if a golfer has ineffective posture he is not going to alter it by thinking of the target. However it is also known that too many golfers go onto the range and get involved only in internal focus thoughts. Being clear and precise about what we are trying to achieve in our practise allows us to adopt the right thought process.

“Should we think of hitting the ball with the club or should we think of hitting the target with the ball!”

Percy Boomer

Learning Styles:

Visual external – this is just straight forward being able to see or watch something being shown or demonstrated visually.

Visual internal – this is creating an actual mental picture of something in your mind. (the strength of our visual images and the perspective we use can also be examined)

Auditory external – this is just straight forward being able to hear someone talking or expressing instructions verbally.

Auditory internal – this is when we talk to ourselves without using our mouth and voice.

Kinaesthetic external – this is when we use our sense of feel (touch) to be aware of something.

Kinaesthetic internal – this is when we recreate the feel sensations of the position or movements in our head.

Most people would agree that people have a dominant learning style from the above list, (although there is no definite clinical evidence around at the moment to back this statement up). We also must understand that we can only be in one of these learning styles at any one time.

Using our default learning style when practising our golf is not always conducive for the activity we are trying to improve. For example, practising our distance control with long putts would suggest we would optimise our learning if we use our KINAESTHTIC (feel) style.

Applying the right thoughts and learning style to our specific tasks in our practise allows us to utilise our practise time much more productively.

Many thanks Paul. Appointments with Paul can be booked via Powerscourt Golf Club Reception: Tel (01) 204 6033 or the Golf Shop Tel (01) 204 6031. Read more about lessons from Paul Thompson by visiting the Powerscourt Golf Club Website.

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