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Tyler Ferrell is the only person in the world named to Golf Digest's list of Best Young Teachers in America AND its list of Best Golf Fitness Professionals in America. Meet your new instructor.

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Mental Game Overview

The process of hitting a golf ball can be divided into three phases:

  • Pre-shot routine (or planning)
  • Execution (or actually hitting the golf ball)
  • Post-shot routine (or responding to the feedback from the previous shot)

In the pre-shot routine, you will be primarily using left brain and making logical decisions about the shot at hand. What does the lie dictate about this shot? Where do I want this ball to end up? What trouble do I need to avoid? What shot would I be at least somewhat comfortable hitting? These are the type of questions to ask yourself as you design a plan for the upcoming shot.

In the execution phase, your goal is to be unconscious and primarily right brained. This gives you the best chance of performing a skill at your optimal level. Use triggers and consistency in your routine to create the feeling of being "automatic"

In the post-shot routine, you will go back to being a left brained golfer and analyze the shot without judgement. If you did not hit a quality shot, your goal is to decode why. Did you fail to see something in your planning, or did you simply lose focus at some part of your swing? If it was losing focus, then try and decode what specifically caused the distraction. If you did hit a good shot, your goal is to take a second to create positive imagery and reinforce that swing you just made.

Playlists: Find Your Best Swing Quickly

Tags: Mental Game, Concept

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This video is the overview of the mental game.

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So the overview of the mental game, we're going to walk through the process of what you

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do on the golf course.

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So we have other videos in this mental game section of how to transfer practice, how to

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design practice programs on the routine, or on the range, all that stuff.

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But ultimately, it comes down to when you're on the course and you've got absolutely no

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feedback whatsoever.

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So for the sake of this video, I'm actually going to take away our trusty alignment

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Because when you're on the golf course, you only get to rely on what you've practiced,

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internal feedback, external stuff is pretty much illegal.

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So what's the process of kind of going through the mental game on the course?

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Well most of the programs that I've looked at in that I've read, whether it's Vision 54

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or HardWired for Golf.

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There's a bunch of very good systems that kind of walk through this process.

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But essentially, you're going to have at least two different zones.

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So I'm going to have my analytical zone, which Vision 54 is going to call the thinkbox

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or the HardWired for Golf is going to call the caddy phase.

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Where basically, you're processing all the data.

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So you're looking at your lie, you're looking at the wind, you're looking at the trouble

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around you, you're trying to factor in and come up with the plan.

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So what shot am I going to be most comfortable with?

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What shot am I going to execute?

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That's going to give me the best chance of getting this golf ball into the next best place

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I can be.

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So this is all left-brain activity.

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This is all very analytical.

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This is something that you can learn to do pretty quickly, but it's not something that

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you necessarily have to have a consistent rhythm or timing to.

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You may find that you forget a few things, but if you look in the note section of this

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video, you'll see a lot of the different ideas that I like to factor in when going through

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this thinkbox.

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So once you're done with the thinkbox analytical zone, there needs to be a trigger from

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going from left-brain to right-brain.

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Because when you're actually swinging a golf club, you want it to be a very rich kind

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of deep experience.

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You don't want to have a lot of words or chatter in your head.

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I know that a lot of golfers have talked about having swing thoughts.

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When a tour golfer mentions that they had a good swing thought, what I really think that

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they mean is that they had a good swing feeling or sensation or vision or they had a good

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It doesn't mean that they had the words running across their brain.

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So you need to have a trigger from going from analytical to right-brain.

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Right-brain is I'm going to be an athlete.

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I'm going to be an animal.

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I'm going to be unconscious or super-conscious depending on how you look at it.

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But I'm basically going to be over the ball and just kind of react.

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So once I've done all my processing, I'm going to have a trigger.

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Now whether it's kind of a specific thing you do with your club, whether it's I put

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on my glove and I'm committed to the shot, there has to be this trigger that's going

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to get me in this zone.

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In other sports say basketball, you kind of have this little routine that you use.

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And that routine starts with once you've caught the ball.

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So you basically need the spot back here in this analytical zone of, alright, somebody just

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passed me the ball time to go.

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Once I decide that I'm going to go, that's when my pre-shot routine really kicks into

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Now the different pre-shot routines or the different ways that golfers tend to get most

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comfortable over the ball are going to different depending on what part of your brain

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you're using.

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So if you're a feel golfer, they will tend to have a very kind of mechanical process,

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but then they will get into this little moment of zen or stillness over the ball.

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And then almost like a martial artist breaking a board, they're going to explode into action.

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So that swing, even if it's a really graceful kind of Ernie Ellis type swing, it's going

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to come from this place of sillness.

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If you're a rhythmical golfer, what's going to happen is you're going to kind of hear

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the music in your head.

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You got this feeling of this tempo, right?

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You got this rhythm in your body.

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And basically you're going to try and move to that rhythm the whole time.

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So whether that's involving looks, whether that's steps, whether that's waggle is kind

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of like a Jason Duffner.

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Everything is going to be going off that rhythm.

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Lastly if you're a visual golfer, you want to stay out of your body and you're going

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to try and almost create this vivid image of seeing exactly the shot that you want

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So there's my target, I've got that crystal clear image.

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You're going to get over the ball and I'm going to make sure that all my alignments match

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So I still am looking out there and I'm just imagining this target.

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I'm imagining this flight of the ball or whatever I see as a visual golfer.

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Once I have a crystal clear picture, I'm going to come back to the ball and I'm not going

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to spend very much time.

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Little golfers can stay a little bit longer over the golf ball.

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They can hang out here and they can kind of take what they need in order to feel comfortable

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for breaking that board.

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rhythm golfers have to stay on their count and visual golfers have to stay over here

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as little as possible so that they can clear the keep a clear picture of what they're

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trying to do.

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So then after I've done this little golf swing or hung out in the playbox or players

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on, I then have to go back to the analytical and the analytical is going to be the post-shot

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So how do I process what I just did?

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If it's a good shot, what can I do to kind of reinforce and build a stronger mental pattern?

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Maybe I can do little things like take a deep breath, smile a little bit.

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I can actually tap different parts of your body if you're familiar with something called

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So I can help trigger my brain to store a memory that way.

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If I hit a bad shot, how do I not go into the past and say, oh, I always hit bad shots?

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How do I not go into the future and say, man, I'm going to play terribly the rest of

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this day?

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How do I just kind of take this moment in time?

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Let's process the data, say, all right, what could I do better?

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What did I do well?

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What can I learn from this?

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And then have the ability to then process it and move on.

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I always used because I value nutrition on the course, I would use taking a swing of water

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as the end of my shot.

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So basically, I would hit a shot and I would quickly kind of go through my process, sorry,

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what did I do?

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Did I not get the right feeling?

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Because I was a feel golfer?

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Yeah, okay, that's a better feel.

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All right, I can move on to the next shot.

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I'm excited about whatever challenge that's going to pose.

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Grab my water, take a drink.

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Let's go.

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I can move on.

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But you want to build your post shot routine so that you don't take whatever happened

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with this shot up there to the next shot.

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So that's kind of the overview.

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We're going to go through different pieces as to more details in that player zone, that

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catty zone, that think box, the play box, whatever you want to call it, we're going to

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figure out when to be left-brain, when to be right-brain.

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And how to take this swing that we've built on the range, ultimately onto the course.

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