Bad Thoughts in The Middle of Your Putting Stroke

Overcoming Golf Yips

When You Focus Too Much on Your Stroke

Carl wrote in to say that he has a putting drill to add to the one’s I suggested for freeing up the putter (works for chipping too). Before I get to that, here’s what he asked:

“How do you back off from a putt when you start to feel you are loosing control of your putter face on your down swing? I cannot practice this as it never happens when I am doing my drills or just warming up on the putting green before play.”

Carl: I don’t think you want to practice this. Here’s why…

If you are in the middle of your stroke and you feel as if you are losing control, it’s too late to save the ship!

And if you are focusing on the stroke, your mind is not in the right place. A hyper-focus on stroke can actually prevent you from making a free stroke–as discussed in previous tips…

When you focus too much on stroke:

  • You are not reacting to the target.
  • You are focusing more on mechanics.
  • You evaluate how the stroke feels.
  • You are too stroke bound and thus trapped in over thinking.

What’s the Solution?

You have two options:

Plan A: Get your mind right before you step up the address the ball.

Plan B: Back off or restart your routine if you feel tension, fear, or a negative thought over the ball.

You can’t wait until you are in the middle of the stroke to abort the shot. You want to back off before you start the stroke.

The advantage you have in golf is to get mentally prepared before you hit the shot (I know, many golfers use this extra time in the wrong way–over thinking for one).

You might be thinking… But Dr. Cohn, I would never hit a putt or chip shot if I had to back off every time I felt tension or anxiety about the result!

Exactly, that’s why you will not find a quick fix or “cure” to the yips…

You have to deal with the fear, train yourself to focus on the process, do the right kind of practice, and regain your confidence by hitting putts and chip shots freely again.

All of this happen before you play golf!

And that’s why I created Breaking the Yips Cycle. You learn how to do these before you go to the golf course.

Additional Drill for Freeing up The Putter:

I said I would share another drill that’s worked for Carl…

He said that looking at the hole when putting or chipping is a great drill because it trains you to focus on the line or target instead of obsessing about a smooth stroke.

And he’s right. The eyes tend to follow the putter head when you have putting problems, but this only leads to over control!

Related Golf Psychology Articles

Overcome The Yips and Enjoy Golf Again!

Breaking the Yips Cycle

Breaking The Yips Cycle Video and Workbook program is ideal for any amateur, collegiate, junior, and tour professional golfer who wants to break out of the putting, chipping, or pitching yips.

Golf coaches and instructors would also be wise to teach Breaking The Yips Cycle principles to their players who struggle with tension in their swing or the full-blown yips. This program is perfect for any golfer who wants to improve performance by swinging freely again!

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