Intentions & concepts that will shortcut your way to flow in golf
An intention to the flow is a clear and positive statement of an outcome we want to experience. It is a goal, or vision, that guides our activities, thoughts, attitudes, choices and effectively drives our attention and focuses our energy in the direction of the flow.
People who are able to generate flow states in other areas of life are more likely to generate flow on the golf course. This tendency is related to the way that they view what they are doing as well as the activities that they choose to do become deeply involved with and committed to almost anything they are doing.
Golfers experiencing flow always describe their feeling of it as having a “perfect rhythm”. Playing in a perfect rhythm means also low mental and muscular tension. As we think in rhythm, our body and mind are synchronized accordingly and as a consequence our golf swing flows in rhythm.
Imagining golf club as being an extension of our hands and arms, gives us another level of sensitivity and application of flow. The sense of effortless effort experienced by golfers in flow and accompanied feelin of being one with the golf club, swinging and feeling its weight, not forcing or pushing it, but flowing with it.
Many golfers start the day poorly and pick up later on, while some fluctuate from one hole to the other for various reasons (muscle stabilizer fatigue, exaustion, emotional instability ...). Set your intention to start the golf course in flow right out of the gate, from tee 1 driver shot ... going all the way to 18th hole putt.
Golfers in flow pay close attention to the task at hand and are immune to distractions and pressures, because they are completelly in the present moment and fully immersed in the game.
Golf game is about accepting the outcomes and having the desire to incrementally improve. High expectations cause frustrations when you under perform. One of the best way to keep the expectations low is to assume the underdog position.
To create flow we need a strong sense of self-confidence, which boils down to the belief that we are able to achieve an outcome we have set our intention to. Anxiety and frustration is part of the game, but it is up to us how we deal with it.
In golf the purpose of flow training is to move our minds away from the score and into the game itself. The purpose of routines is to internalize the process to the point of being automatic, which is aiding us in creating the optimal rhythm.
If we are constantly talking about how bad we are playing, our subconscious mind will listen and make it even further true.
We need to develop the ability to observe our thoughts and be aware of them in order to effectively align our mind and body to the flow. We also must be consciously aware of where our focus is. If our mind wanders away from the present moment into an uncontrolled train of thought, we won’t perform at our full potential.
We must fine tune our challenges and put ourselves in a situation, where our skills are a bit stretched by faced challenges. Objective is to complete the golf course with as few shots as possible from the current situation, whatever it is.
Nobody learns to play golf overnight, it is a gradul build up of technical and mental skills as well as abundance of experience on the golf course. Treat every shot like it’s the most important thing in the world at that moment and build your skills and confidence gradually, incrementally and with a calm, trusting patience.
Adopt the golf attitude of gratitude. Love and enjoy the game as much as possible regardless of the score. Precious time we spend on the golf course should be used for fun and not self-loathing and dissatisfaction.
To build awe in the game of golf can be as simple as adopting “looking through the eyes of a child” approach, meaning to look at things as we have never seen them before. In this way we are able to restore & maintain our childish wondering and feel fascination over every golf shot, whether a good or a bad one.
In order to “see the shot”, we need to take time and study each hole and shot carefully. Imagining the feeling of hitting the ball from the current position and seeing it fly and land close to the pin, feeds our subconscious mind, which in turn conditions our conscious, making it more likely to become a reality.
Neuroscience has proven, time and again, that the best learning environment is an emotionally safe one. Emerging into any task with playful approach creates a feeling of trust and creativity. Our brain is willing to open synapses to explore the best options, to learn and then make the memory imprint.
We need to be well prepared before stepping out onto the first tee, since rushing is the quickest way to ensure that the round will begin poorly, send you in all directions and slay any chance of flow. Rushing through the warm-up tinkers with our rhythm, thoughts become scattered and fragmented and they spiral into an unproductive, cluttered mindset.