Karl Morris: The Red Dot Major Key

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I will be watching this week’s US Open with great interest, but I’ll be especially interested in Louis Oosthuizen. If you remember his win at The Open last year, you might also recall the red dot on his glove, that I was responsible for. Now I know you are asking ‘could a little RED DOT on a golfers glove help him win the ultimate Major’. Well possibly it did and I feel that a seemingly insignificant dot COULD have an impact on YOUR game.
Before we get into that though let me ask you all a question: Did you ever get told to ‘just concentrate’ when you where at school? I am sure that the answer to the above is a resounding YES. It is almost a universal human experience to be told to concentrate or to tell others to concentrate. Yet have any of us ever been told HOW to concentrate, or what concentration actually is? ‘I just lost my concentration on that one!’

clip_image004No you didn’t. You did not ‘lose’ your concentration. Nobody ever ‘loses’ their concentration. As you are reading this article did you notice the sounds around you? You didn’t before but you do now! You didn’t lose your concentration on the article you just placed it in another place. Nobody loses concentration they just put it in the wrong place. In the modern world we live in so many things are trying to grab our attention. We have all become very poor at having the discipline to put our mind where we actually want it to be.
So, when I first sat down with Louis Oosthuizen and he told me he had hit a number of poor shots at the US Open, he felt that after the shot he just ‘wasn’t there’! My job then is to get his mind where it needs to be, on the task at hand. Golf is tough in terms of concentration because we just do not have the same triggers as other sports. In football when you hear a whistle you automatically focus on the ball, in tennis the umpire calls ‘time’ and it is back to the game. In golf, apart from the first tee when you are announced there is no overt signal from the environment that tells your brain it is time to concentrate. So you need to create your own triggers to let your brain know it is time to focus on the shot at hand. If you do not create these triggers, I promise you your mind WILL wander and you will put your concentration in the wrong place, be that the score, what you have just done or any manner of things which are unrelated to this task in front of you which is to move THIS ball to THAT target. The absolute ideal in a round of golf is you switch ‘ON’ for your shots and then switch ‘OFF’ in between shots.
When Peter Alliss remarked on the BBC how Louis appeared to stare at a little RED DOT on his glove and go into a trancelike state, well, that is EXACTLY what he did. We had set up in his mind that when he looked at the RED DOT, the only thing in the world which concerned him was the shot in front of him. When all of the chaos that comes in a round of golf was coming at him, that RED DOT told his mind to attend to the task at hand. You all noticed how he took that moment to look down and then go through the rest of his routine. Was the secret in the fact that it was a RED DOT? No!! The secret was in the fact he had created an anchor point for his mind to ground himself and his concentration in the here and now. When I hear commentators say he just needs to play one shot at a time or he needs to stay in the moment, I can barely contain my laughter. Playing one shot at a time is one of THE hardest things to do in the game of golf if you don’t know HOW to play one shot at a time. You can’t just tell yourself to be in the moment, you have to have a system of being in the moment. What does this mean to you?
Well, it is not about a RED DOT, it is about you creating a specific signal to let your brain know it is now time to FOCUS on this shot. You may have been talking and enjoying yourself as you walk up to the shot, which is fine, but when your signal goes off, then it is time to absorb yourself and ‘lose’ yourself in the shot at hand. If you did that on every shot in a round of golf, do you think that may save you ONE shot over the course of 18 holes? It has to!!
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