Golf on the Line: A Learning Focus
Interesting discussion today about what to focus on during the golf swing.
Let’s answer the question in two parts: What to focus on while playing golf on the course, and what to focus on when practicing.
First, let’s define the difference between Concentration and Focus.
I use the term “Concentration” to refer to a narrow, external, specific spot. In most cases this would mean a dimple, logo, or other mark on the ball. Concentration has the component of “on.” In other words, I concentrate “on” something.
I use focus, on the other hand, to refer to the target because focus has a directional or purposeful component. So while I concentrate on the ball, the focus of my swing (the intent of my swing, the purpose of my swing, the flow of my swing) is to move the ball to the target. My focus has a direction, and it is always toward the target.
Understand the difference allows you to maintain the dichotomy of concentrating on the ball while focusing on the target.
This should help you understand what to think about when playing golf.
But what about when you practice? Where should your focus be?
When you practice to learn about or refine your mechanics your focus should be internal. Not on the target. Your goal is to learn about your swing by refining your internal feedback and awareness abilities. What happens to the ball after you hit it, and whether it goes at a target or not, is simply data that can help you diagnose and interpret your swing better.
If you can’t feel something, you can’t change it. To change your swing, you must first develop an awareness of your swing around the aspect you wish to change.
Therefore, when practicing your mechanics your “focus” should be on your internal feedback. For example, suppose you are working on keeping your grip pressure consistent throughout the swing. You may concentrate on the ball, but the focus of the swing will be learning about what is happening with your hands during the swing.
If you learn to feel your hands better during the drill, it is a successful drill. Whether you hit the ball well or toward a target or not is irrelevant unless it helps you develop better awareness of your grip pressure.
Your goal during practice is to maintain a learning focus when you are working on your mechanics.
In the next post we’ll talk more about maintaining a learning focus when it comes to shot making and scoring practice.