Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Swing Thought - 5/11/2011 - "Be Graceful"

I realized while I was practicing my swing a couple days after a lesson with Ted Sheftic, that I was focusing a lot of my concentration on what specific moves my body should be doing during the swing. While I've definitely become more aware of "feels" during the swing (Ted commented recently that I'm a lot less analytical than I used to be), I still have too many feels going on during the short span of time the swing takes: "shoulder do this", "hands to here", "straighten the leg", "get to impact", and so forth. I felt like I was trying to muscle the ball, doing way too much, exactly the opposite of what Ted and I have been working on. When I hit the ball well, it really feels like I'm not doing much at all. I was hitting the ball badly, getting very frustrated in the process.

Towards the end of that frustrating practice session, I decided to start just hitting balls, keeping a picture of big, smooth circles in my head, rather than thinking about (or "feeling" which had really become "thinking about") positions and what my body should be doing. Lo and behold, I started making great contact, finishing in balance . . . the best word I can come up with is that my swing felt *graceful*.

So I started evaluating my swings based on whether or not they felt graceful, and suddenly my practice session become much more productive. I felt calmer, less frustrated. So last night, I took that thought to the course for a quick nine holes. Wow, what a difference. I decided not to keep score; my goal was just to tell myself "Be graceful" before each full swing. After a few shots, I found I was able to keep that thought echoing while I also mentally held a picture of the shot I wanted to hit. I started hitting fairways and greens until it got to be too dark to play any more.

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