Enhancing Your Performance with Visualization

Visualization is a fundamental skill used by top athletes the world over. As a golfer, good visualization skills are as important as any swing skill you possess (or hope to learn), so you must make it a point to learn and practice visualization as much as any other aspect of the game.

To be most effective, visualization must go far beyond the simple task of reviewing or "seeing" where you want a golf shot to go. As used by peak performers (in any field), visualization is a vivid, dynamic, and extremely detailed mental movie which actually helps build a mental blueprint for performance. Once programmed into the nervous system, you can turn over more control of your shot making to the subconscious mind, which is where your true golf skills reside.

For best results, make these mental "practice shots" as detailed and positive as possible. Avoid visualizing any kind of an encounter with a hazard or out of bounds, and never let any fearful thoughts to invade your mind programming. You are the producer, cinematographer, and director of the movie, so make it an Oscar winner!

Here's an example. Start by examining your lie and alignment, as well as the ideal ball flight and landing area, then begin "shooting" your mental movie of the desired shot and outcome. Replay the movie two times, and take one (real) practice swing to help program "feel" into your movie. Now, just step up to the ball and pull the trigger. Let a great shot happen--don't try to make it happen.

Begin using visualization before every shot, whether at practice or play, and you will take your game to the next level!

Lisa Ann Hörst is Lancaster, PA-based teaching pro. Her new book, Golf Training: The Secrets to Effective Practice and a Lower Score (Finally!), is being heralded as "the most comprehensive guide to better golf" available that will "positively transform your game."

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