Focusing on Your Line or Pace When Putting
I was working with one of my yips students this week. He said that he always looks at the putter during the stroke. He wanted to know if this was the correct thing to do…
Other golfers have tried looking at a spot on the ball or in front of the ball with mixed results.
Remember that the yips is an over control phenomenon.
This means you tend to over think the mechanics, grip, and stroke—in the attempt to not jerk the putter.
So when you are looking at the putter during the stroke, what are you doing? Most golfers will judge if the stroke is on path or if the face is square to the target.
Doing so can only lead to more analysis and over thinking…
I don’t coach golfers to look at a spot on the ball because this can instill what I call the hit impulse.
The best way I can describe the hit impulse is when you see a fellow golfer who has a very fluid swing during his practice stroke, but when over the ball for the shot, the swing looks like they are hitting at the ball.
Impact is where the fear resides: “Am I going to jerk at the ball?” you think.
I don’t want my students to look at the stroke or focus on the ball.
Then what should you focus on?
Putting is about line and pace—and often you can combine these. Once you read the putt and set up over the putt, what’s left to think about?
The GOAL is launch the ball inline with the right pace! Focusing on the stroke actually takes your focus away from this.
However, I understand why golfers with the putting yips try to make a good stroke: They think this will help them keep the putter online through impact.
If you can make 20 in a row from three feet on the practice green, your stroke is good enough.
The problem is when you interfere with a well-grooved stroke and “get in your own way.”
Therefore, I prefer that you focus on line or pace—or a combination of both. These are the only things that matter after you have addressed the ball.
You want 100% focus on the line in your mind’s eye, or on pace if you are a feel putter.
So, how do you train yourself to do this? First, you have to trust your stroke to do the right thing when you get out of your own way and let your natural stroke come out to play.
You can also do drills to train yourself to focus on pace or line. A good option is to hit putts in practice with your eyes closed. Here, you want to on focus launching the ball down a line and trust the putter’s path.
You can also practice hitting putts looking at the hole while focusing only on the line or where you want to start the putt, such as right edge.
After these drills, you can have someone hold a hat under your eyes, with eyes open, which prevents you from watching the putter or ball. Here, you focus on the target or line.
You might ask, “Why don’t I just putt looking at the hole?”
This is an option to help you stop focusing on stroke. But I prefer you put 100% focus on the line or pace and thus you don’t even see the putter on the stroke—or the putter looks blurry because that’s not the main focus.
Try to get out of your own way and focus on the target or pace instead of the putter or ball. See if that will free up your stroke. Let me know if this helps.
Overcome The Yips and Enjoy Golf Again!
Golfers, do you suffer from:
- Anxiety, tension and over control of the stroke or swing?
- Performance anxiety about what others will think?
- Inability to wing the club freely on the course, despite the fact that you can in practice?
Check out: Breaking the Yips Cycle
Golfers: Learn how to overcome the fear that keeps you stuck in a vicious cycle
Instructors: Learn how to give your students the mental game edge.
Coaches: Help your team members play with freedom instead of fear or tension.
What are Golf Psychology Students Saying?
“I am a single digit handicap who has battled the yips for some time. As I applied his methods I have found almost instantaneous success…. I recently shot even par to be medalist in a state qualifier (I missed too shorties to boot), but I just kept playing and my free strokes far outnumbered my bad ones. Thank you for giving me the tools I need to face my demons. I could not recommend his program more highly!”
“Two of your drills have been especially helpful: Eyes closed the eyes open and the tap in drill. I have only been able to make short putts for some time with my eyes closed and have been very effective with that. Both drills have improved my overall rhythm and putting success. Only used your drill sequence for one practice session so will step up the routine to 7 days in a row.”
“I wanted to tell you I have broken out of the yips short putt issues. I have won 2 of the last 3 competitions. Right now my putting confidence is sky high. I HAD the putt yips for past 6 years. I contribute the success to two of your drills. First focus hard on the hole, forget about all else. It took awhile to get the 100% focus, but I could see the results coming. Then your advice “Let go and trust your ability.” Immediate result. Wow what a relief. Having putted for so long under yip pressure, I now feel I can be put under extreme pressure to win the club championship. I now look forward to short putts.”
“Yes! Awesome tips and they worked great. I was having a tough time mentally with putts inside of 4 feet for self imposed fear of missing them. After doing all of your drills I found myself just looking at the hole on the shorts putts similar to a free throw. Seems to be working. Thank you so much!”
Overcome The Yips With Expert Mental Game Coaching!
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What are our mental coaching students saying?
“I write you because it’s been 6 months since I started the program Breaking the Yips Cycle. Before that I was putting with a long putt and due to the ban on anchoring I switched to a short putt and started your program. The yips program has helped me a lot. I have been able to focus on what matters instead of thinking about the outcome or fearing a yippy stroke.”
~Ricardo Abogabir C.
“I was pleased to find your website and tips to address the mental issues with the yips. Your drills made sense to me. Other people only tackled technique. That isn’t the problem with me as I can stroke them all nicely on the practice putting green. I can even hit the long ones on the course. I will keep working at it and thank you for your interest.”
“I’ve read so many teachings regarding the yips, and you’re right on. I’ve read articles from top 10 teachers who have supposed cures for the yips, and realize, they don’t even know what the yips are… You know what they are, and I believe you know how to cure them. Thank you for your newsletters.”
“I’ve had the yips for 30 years. With the anchor ban, I thought I needed to quit golf. It was frustrating hearing golf experts and commentators state that no amateur was going to quit golf because of the anchoring ban. Obviously, these experts don’t know anything about the yips. I’m so glad I found you. Your drills really helped. It might sound silly, but the biggest thing that helped me is knowing that the yips is mental. It might sound crazy, for someone to have the yips for 30 years, and not know it’s mental. I also believe I know my reason for having the yips, and I see how my insecurities in every day life contributed to the yips. Thank you for your help.”