If you're a Patriots fan, congratulations! If you're a Falcons, my condolences. If you're a fan of sport in general, WOW, did we get a game to watch! The Super Bowl did not disappoint and neither did today's GSA Q&A question from Bob in San Francisco. Bob wants to know why he's so inconsistent on his in between distances, and more importantly, how he can fix it.
What you'll learn
- How the Think Box/Play Box strategy can help you tackle inconsistency
- How Lynn & Pia from Vision 54 use this strategy to help golfers commit to tough shots
- Dave Heinen's extra little tip to get you out of your own way!
- Golf Strategy Academy
Here's a secret that pros do, but you don't. THEY JOURNAL! Get my FREE 5 Minute Golf Journal so you can learn to analyze like a pro!
Don't have time to listen? Check out the transcript!
Hey, golf strategy started school. Marty back with you here again and this episode’s question comes from Bob. Bob is out of the San Francisco area and Bob’s email goes as follows; “Hey Marty. How’s it? Been doing a lot of travelling, thankfully, I’ve been able to play a lot of golf,” – let me stop you here. I am totally jealous. It’s warm enough to play here in Wisconsin but the permafrost will set in and that sucks.
Anyway, back to Bob’s email, “… been playing a lot of golf this winter. The shots that I keep struggling with are the in between shots. I seem to not have any consistency unless it’s a full swing. It could be topping shots. It could be blading shots. It doesn’t matter but when I’m in between on the distance I’m guaranteed a bad result.”
So, what we’re looking at here Bob is not so much a bad swing, it’s not necessarily an execution issue. The problem that we’re running into is that you’re not committed to what you want to do. This was a drastic problem for me. Oddly enough, when I was playing junior golf, one of my coaches, he would follow me around the course to not really critique me, observe me – not like a standard coach would – but he had this little notepad and he would always take notes.
And so, he would come up to me after the rounds and he would cite specific shots and he would ask me what I was thinking about and the shots that he was siting where the shots where I either blew away over the green or missed it way short – situations where I was not committing to my swing or to my club or to something. And so, the point that he made is you’re going to be better off committing to something that’s dead wrong than waffling back and forth all the way up until you make contact.
So, to me, anytime – I haven’t had the luxury of having played with you Bob so I’m kind of missing your game – but anytime that you run into these issues where the in between distances are not working, it’s because you’re not actually committing to the shot. Now, that’s’ all well and good that that tells you, “Hey, you’re not committing to your shot. Go fix it!” Well, the solution here is one of my all-time favorites.
It’s from Pia Nillson and Lynn Marriot out of Vision 54 and it is the thinkbox playbox. I know all of you have heard me talk about this before. If you haven’t, well hey, it’s your lucky day. The thinkbox playbox is essentially setting timeframes and actual physical locations where you’re going to do specific parts of your golf game. So, the thinkbox is that area behind the ball. So if you’re looking down your target line, it’s that area behind the ball where you’re deciding how much wind is there. You’re taking into account all the variables – how much wind is there? Do we have an uphill shot where I’m going to have to play a little extra club?
You know, am I maybe sore? I watched Jordy Nelson play in that NFC championship game with broken ribs. I had my daughter jumping on me during that game, With broken a ribs, you’re not going to be able to swing a golf club! He’s got his time off now so he can go and do that. But I know there’s times when I’ll be rough housing with my girls too much and I’ll just be sore and I know I’m going to lose about half a club. So it’s about taking into account all those different variables while you’re in your thinkbox.
Then as you approach the shot, as you’re getting ready to address the ball, you cross this invisible line called the “decision line.” And from that point forward, once you cross the decision line, you no longer have the ability to make any decision about changing your shot. Whatever the decision was, that’s the one you absolutely unequivocally without a doubt must play for that shot.
So you have to be 100% committed to swinging that club to get to wherever you are going. That is what happens once you are in the playbox. So you cross that decision line, it’s the point of no return. You step into the playbox and you make a good, confident swing. You want to have that visualisation already down. A lot of times, people just give themselves too much time in the playbox and all those extra thoughts tend to creep in. so, if you’re still struggling with commitment even once you’re in the playbox, give yourself a time limit.
Maybe it’s 5 seconds, maybe it’s 7 seconds – you can go back into the academy, review the 7 second drill. It’s very similar to the thinkbox playbox. It’s something that Dave Hyman mentioned in his episode and hey, Vijay Singh’s ex-coach – bound to know a thing or two. Obviously, if you’ve heard the episode, it was a fantastic conversation. But the idea is to limit the amount of time you have over the ball so you just flat out don’t have enough time to waffle and to go back and forth on your decisions. I really think this is a commitment issue. It’s not a swing faults kind of thing. I don’t think you’re getting into too technical thoughts.
I think you are… you’re just struggling about which club is best. And the fact of the matter is, you know, a solid 9 iron – even if it’s the wrong one – is going to give you a better result than maybe a chunked 8 iron because you were thinking about it too much. So it all reverts to the thinkbox playbox. It’s something that everybody, absolutely everybody, no matter what your practice is, what your pre-shot routine is, you need to have at least some form of the thinkbox playbox in your golf game because it will, I promise you, it will take you to a new level.
Just as a quick little example, that golf coach that I had that would follow me around and would talk to me about these different things and he would take notes – he introduced me to this concept. It wasn’t the same name. I learnt about the thinkbox playbox from Lynn and Pia later on.
But the idea was that you commit to whatever you were doing before you do it and you do not deviate from that plan. So when he told me about that, it was really odd because I went and I had a bowling tournament. The start of my bowling season was coming up and I used that strategy to throw my first 300 game and it was an eye opener on and off the course. So, whether it would be bowling or golf, this type of commitment strategy is hugely beneficial regardless of what your athletic practice is.
Again, the whole idea is once you’ve left that thinkbox, you’re locked in to whatever you’re doing. You know, you cross that decision line, that’s the point of no return. The only time, I would say, that you can change your mind is if you absolutely start over from scratch. Back away from the ball, do something to get yourself out of that “in the moment” mind-set, whether it’s bouncing your ball on your club, whatever kind of pre-shot tick you might have, undo the glove, redo the glove, that kind of thing. But I really encourage you to just not deviate from the plan no matter what.
If it really, really, really, really feels horrible over that ball in your routine then okay, step out of that playbox and reset the whole process. Go back to the thinkbox and start over again. But really, commit to the shot; make your decision in the thinkbox. Get up into the playbox, swing strong, swing confident, swing cocky and you’ll be able to, just like Bob Rotella says, “Take the conservation line with a cocky swing,” and you will be flying high. So, that’s all there is for this episode of golf strategy school. Again, if you want this type of membership treatment, you can join us in the Golf Strategy Academy.
That is found at golfstrategyschool.com/membership-info and you can check out my little video there about what the golf strategy academy is about. It’s growing in size. We’ve got a dedicated private Facebook group just to this. So you know you’re going to have that direct access to me to get your answers to questions like this. Bob, enjoy your golf. Enjoy the rest of your winter vacation. I’m thoroughly, thoroughly jealous of you. For everyone else out there, I will catch you in the short grass. Cheers