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How Can I Visualize Pitching ShotsVisualization is an important tool for a golfer as there are so many decisions to make for each shot.

This particularly applies for pitch shots. What distance do I need to hit? What height shall I hit the ball? Will the ball run out or stop still? Where should I land the ball? All are questions that should be considered and given thought before the execution of the shot. The best way to make the correct decision is to visualize the shot in hand.

Visualization basically means imagining yourself playing the golf shot. In your mind, seeing the ball be hit, rise into the air, land and roll out and into the hole. Good quality visualization means that you see yourself from a first person perspective and use as many senses as possible such as imagining the feel of the contact of the ball and hearing the sound of the ball on contact, land and rattle around in the cup. The more real the visualization, the better your feel for the shot and the better choice of shot you will play.

It is not easy to visualize however, and takes practice. To aid you in this process, the next time you are playing a practice round or on the practice green do the following:

  • Have a couple of golf balls in your pocket, stand next to your shot and throw one of the balls underarm on to the green.
  • Try to replicate roughly how you intend your pitch shot to look. Watch carefully where the ball lands and how it rolls once it hits the floor.
  • Now stand next to your ball again and imagine yourself playing the pitch shot and use the memory of the previous thrown ball to aid you.
  • Throw the second ball on to the green. Adapt the distance or flight of throw if you need to. Again watch the ball carefully and take into account more detail such as how the slopes on the green affect the ball and how high it bounced.
  • Now pick the club you are going to play the shot with and have a practice swing next to the ball imagining once again how the ball will fly, land and roll.
  • Play the shot.

For better pitch shots - imagine it, throw it, play it.

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This type of practice does not need to be a type of hypnotherapy. Visualization can be taking a practice swing and imagining what the ball will do. In fact it is much better to get as many feelings of the movement into the visualization process as possible.

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It is important that the visualization process is as real as possible. Imagining from above is the third person and will not stimulate the muscles and feel of the shot strongly enough. Try to make sure that you are playing and seeing the shot from the first person perspective. This is why having the practice swing and imagining how the ball will react from that position is so important.

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Visualization takes practice, it is not a one time activity. Over time it will help you to pick and play better shots. Visualization is making sure that your brain has a plan for the body to follow.