Should You Focus on Your Stroke When Putting?

Overcoming Golf Yips

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.

Get all my strategies for breaking the yips cycle with my video and workbook program, “Breaking the Yips Cycle.”

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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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