In part one I put forward the importance of hip mobility and force production in getting better at golf. Retrospectively, I have realised I was primarily referring to the long game.
The third suggestion I'm going to put forward is more directed towards your short game, at least that's what the research says.
3) Developing a more "quiet eye".
Based on the work of physiologist Professor Joan Vickers, it became apparent that elite performers in many sports including golf, move their eyes in a different way to sub-elite performers.
From what I have seen, better putters look at the hole no more than three times in preparing to take their shot and then look at the back of the ball half a second longer through their backswing.
How closely do you look at the ball and for how long?
Given that "Quiet Eye" training, helping people to maintain their gaze on the ball for elite level times, is shown to improve performance, I strongly suggest you give it a go. Although best done with technological support and feedback and a coach, you can improve the ability to hold your gaze on your own.
I speculate, based on successful work done in other sports, that quiet eye training and other ways of working with how, when and where the eyes move and look can also have a positive impact on the long game in golf. I have seen no research on this so maybe you don't want to play around with such methods in your long game but if you do, I'd be keen to play too.
Remember that I used the word "physical" in the title of these pieces. Why the inverted commas?
This is a point I come back to time and time again in my writing and not because I enjoy repeating myself.
There are no strictly physical acts when we come to speaking about people.
Your hips don't move by themselves during the swing.
Your muscles don't generate force by themselves.
Your eyes don't quieten themselves.
We do these things. We direct our attention so that we express our intentions with our body in the external world.
Do you know what happens to "stiff muscles" under anaesthesia? They become loose and pliable. If we are stiff, it is only a deeply ingrained habit based around learning experiences that makes it that way. Over time, we can unlearn stiffness.
Our muscles are also stronger than our current use of them. Apply particular electrical stimulation to muscles and you will see that they can contract harder than we can consciously make them. We only seem to be able to tap into something more like their true strength with years of dedicated training or in life-threatening circumstances. Just think of the stories of people lifting cars off the top of loved ones.
Where it is obvious that our brain and nervous system is absolutely necessary to move our eyes in the intended manner, it can be easy to forget that mobility and strength are controlled by similar centres too.
Mobility and strength, like fine motor movement, are skills too.
Outside of good, organised practise of your game, these are skills that have great transfer over to your golf performance too.
Get to work,
Float Sting - Athletic Training + Rehab