By Elena King and Dr. Denise McGuire, CWCC Members
You may have noticed how difficult it is to maintain good balance in your life. Life balance is challenging for many of us because there are so many important things for us to juggle such as family, work, leisure time, nutrition, fitness, finances and so on. Living a balanced life seems to require both an awareness of when you are out of balance and a desire and willingness to make frequent adjustments. Balance is as important in golf as it is in business and life. In all three areas, you perform better when you are balanced. For optimal performance in golf, balance is required in the mental, emotional, physiological and technical parts of the game.
Here are a few examples of how balance is important in golf:
- Pre-Swing: Being in balance at address is very important. Tip: Get grounded by keeping your center of gravity low. Make sure that your weight is evenly distributed (left to right and front to back).
- Back-Swing: Your body is always trying to find balance in any motion that you make. For example, during your back swing if your weight is out on your toes, your arms, hands and club will tend to swing more inside or behind you to counter balance your weight. Tip: During practice: swing with your feet together to stay centered; use balance discs or swing standing on one foot.
- Forward swing: To swing in control you must create a balanced finish. Tip: Take a practice swing and find your perfect balanced finish and assign it a 10 on 1-10 scale. The goal is to re-create this balanced finish while hitting your shot. This is a great playing focus to take to the course and one that does not involve mechanical thoughts.
- Putting/chipping: – Balancing the length of your stroke back and through will give you better consistency and distance control. Tip: Use a yardstick to measure the length of your back swing and forward swing. In addition, holding your finish will create good balance with your putts and chips.
- Balancing your brain. For optimal decision making it is important to use both hemispheres of the brain. The left side of your brain tends to analyze details such as yardage, target selection, lie and so on. The right side is more holistic and is involved in visualization, emotions and the overall feel of your swing. Tip: In your pre-shot routine, use visualization, feeling a positive emotion, or a practice swing with good tempo to engage the right side of your brain.
- Balancing your nervous system. When you are feeling too much emotional intensity whether it comes from being nervous or from being too “pumped up” from hitting a great shot it will create an imbalance in your nervous system. Experiencing too little intensity such as when we are feeling bored can also affect performance. Tip: Use deep breathing to bring balance back into your nervous system so that you can perform from that optimal state. Shifting to a neutral emotional state is also effective.
- Balancing your attention and focus. It is important to balance your attention or focus between broad and narrow in order to sustain focus for an entire round. Tip: In between shots give your brain a break by taking a mental time out to broaden your focus such as humming a song, looking up at the horizon, or thinking about something fun.
By paying closer attention to these areas in your golf game and applying the tips to your business and in life, you can regain balance more quickly and perform better in all areas of your life. Balance is key!
Put your balance to the test at the CWCC 6th Annual Golf Tournament on July 14, 2011. If you’re still learning the game, receive instruction from Elena King during the Golf Clinic that same afternoon.
ExperienceGolf coaches golfers of all abilities by sharing simple, holistic and scientifically-based processes that enable their students to tap into their own resources to achieve their best on each shot, resulting in a more enjoyable golf experience.
Dr. Denise McGuire, Performance Coach, Get in the Zone, LLC
Dr. Denise McGuire is a licensed psychologist, performance coach and founder of Get in the Zone, a company which utilizes leading-edge technology and scientifically grounded methods to help golfers optimize their performance both on and off the course.