golf tips blog

Date : 4/13/2018

Freund Friday 4/13/2018: The Mental Game Think/Play Box

This week we are going to discuss decision making and committing to each shot.

Indecision and fear creates tension and hesitancy, both of which lead to bad shots. One trick to help you commit to your shot is the idea of the THINK BOX and the PLAY BOX.

This concept was developed by teaching professionals Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott and is quite simple. Visualize an imaginary box around the ball that is big enough to encompass your stance and swing. This is the PLAY BOX. Behind the PLAY BOX is a second imaginary box called the THINK BOX. The line separating these two boxes is called the DECISION LINE.

As its name implies, the THINK BOX is where contemplation and your pre-shot routine is done. In the THINK BOX you make judgments on the shot at hand. This is where you factor in the yardage of the shot, the strength and direction of the wind, any elevation change in the shot, the obstacles in play, and all other factors that will affect the shot. Take these elements into account when choosing your club and visualizing the shot you are going to play. This is also the time for any practice swings you may have in your pre-shot routine.

Once you have chosen a club, it is time to step across the DECISION LINE and into the PLAY BOX. At this point you should be committed to the shot you are about to play. If, while you are in the PLAY BOX, you find you are not 100% committed to the shot you are about to hit, step back across the DECISION LINE into the THINK BOX. Once again, consider all the factors, and perhaps change clubs so you can pick a shot you are comfortable with and committed to. Now step back into the PLAY BOX. There should be little time spent in the PLAY BOX. A recent study found the average amount of time a European Tour Golfer spends from addressing the ball until impact is about 8 seconds. (SOURCE)  The more time you wait, the more chance there is to allow doubt to creep into your mind.

A drill for the driving range to help with the idea of the THINK BOX and PLAY BOX is to set a club or alignment stick a few feet behind where you are hitting. This is your decision line. Between every shot, step into the THINK BOX and commit to your shot. Then step over your DECISION LINE and without hesitation make your stroke.

This concept can be paired with the idea of PLAYING FOCUS. You can pick a PLAYING FOCUS of “I will commit to every shot” and use the idea of the THINK and PLAY BOXES to keep yourself committed to each shot. But remember, it is against the rules to lay a club or alignment stick on the ground as your DECISION LINE during a round.

-Submitted By:
 Anthony Freund
 Assistant Professional
 Three Lakes Golf Club


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