METHODICAL VS FEEL PLAYER. CAN YOU BE BOTH?

Do you recognize the difference between a methodical & feel player? Do you think one trait should stand out from the other one to become a successful golfer?

I have always considered myself a feel player. But not the type of feel player that goes out on the course completely oblivious of her golf swing and laser focused on the type of shot at hand. To be completely honest, I don't remember NOT thinking about my swing before hitting a shot. Even when I have been under the `on the zone´ effects, I have followed some kind of swing guidance — left hip high, shoulder blades back, short backswing, extend your left arm during impact, etc. As you can see, these swing thoughts are merely feel thoughts. And this is one of the things I want to touch on. 

 Attempting to find the break of my putt at the KPMG Championships this year at Olympia Fields. 

Attempting to find the break of my putt at the KPMG Championships this year at Olympia Fields. 

Despite considering to be a feel player, I have practiced on technique a lot, especially the last 2 years of my career. Why so much lately? This is the important question and one that I have been thinking for quite some time. I believe because of being a feel player growing up, I didn't have a good practice pattern. I was very talented and competitive, but skills alone couldn't deliver low scores consecutively any longer on tour. I can only talk for myself here, and my own experiences of course. Being labeled a feel player all my life, I assume other feel players don´t usually think on club positions, they feel it, like me. Neither they practice with training tools (even as simple as alignment sticks), they go on with their feels that day; like me. 

I have struggled over the years to work on technical changes on my own, (without the guidance of my coach) because I never used a guide before to help me check whether or not I am over-exaggerating the move. When I am with my coach, I can change deliberately anything on my swing very quickly. Once I comprehend what I should feel on the swing I will do it. But I wouldn't be able to detach that swing thought from my own feelings. And thats when things get complicated because the next day. I might show up to practice the drills I have been told yesterday, which yesterday I felt them a certain way, and today I will feel it differently. Thereof, the result on the ball will be different. And my practice hours will be endless. 

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It is true that a feel player tends to find it easier to make technical changes on their swing no matter how drastic they are. But  also struggle to repeat the same feel in their swing every day. In other words, to get my club in position A, yesterday I felt B and today I feel C. One of the main reasons is because emotions are very volatile. They depend on a wide variety of circumstances: hours of sleep, hydration, mental fatigue, hormonal changes, etc. Uhm.. yeah! So I would say,  waking up feeling the same way you felt the day before is kind of hard. 

I believe, this is where being methodic will help. Or at least, me. 

Today, I train the technical part of my game with some kind of guidance that assures me I am doing it correctly. A drill, a ball under my right toes, alignment sticks, etc. Being methodical in your practices also guarantees you are touching all parts of your golf swing that don't want to be taken for granted: for example, your stance. Making sure you are set up correctly to the ball helps a lot when working on swing changes.

It is crucial to always check on the basics when you go hit balls. Hence, the importance of training with alignment sticks ( but even more important, knowing how to set up properly these alignment sticks —something I can talk about in another post). Why is it important to make sure you work on your basics ? Because you want to make sure you eradicate other factors that may cause your ball not to go on target. For example, your aiming and ball position. If you are working on something specific on your take away, you must have the assurance that if you don't hit it to the target is not because you are not aiming correctly, or that your ball is too far behind in your stance. 

Another hiccup of relying solely on feel during competition is when you actually lack the feel. What happens when you wake up that day and you simply don't feel it? You have nothing else to hang on to. When feels are numb, you always have a method to get you there. That same method/drill/habit, whatever you want to call it, which every morning you warm up with to hit it to the target. That muscle repetition that assures you that if you set the club here and turn your hips like that , you will manage to have it in play. 

So what are some of those methods you can use? Well, like I said before, alignment sticks for aiming and ball positioning are a MUST. Checking your ball positions for each club is crucial. Another basic one is head covers under your armpits to help you hit more connected or placing a towel a couple inches behind the ball to work on ball strike with wedges, etc. Same applies to putting. When working on technique, it is very important you always set up not only correctly but the same (same distance from the ball, same feet width on set up, and same ball position). 

With that being said, you cannot teach someone to be a feel player, thats an added bonus you are born with, but you can surely teach them how to be a methodical feel player. I believe that to avoid emotional roller coasters to be reflected in your golf game, you need to learn methods that you can repeat on a daily basis to get you to where you want to be.

I wasn't taught to be one, but I enjoy the benefits of it now (lately). And I will continue to develop as a player this way. Because being a feel player in golf is a great trait, and I will never change it. You just have to learn how to channel it the right way.

Will you be interested in knowing a little more about the specific down to the basic drills I work with my coach? What did you think of this post? Have you ever felt you were more of a feel than a methodical player? If so, do you corroborate with my thoughts? Let me know!


Siempre me he considerado una jugadora de sensaciones. Pero no de ese tipo de jugadoras que les guste mas jugar que entrenar,  o que salgan al campo de golf solo pensando en competir, sin tiempo o razón alguna de pensar en su swing. Honestamente, no recuerdo la ultima vez que salí al campo libre de pensamientos técnicos. Incluso recordando momentos de inspiración en mis mejores vueltas, siempre he tenido pensamientos de swing - aun siendo jugadora de sensaciones.

Estos dos últimos años he distribuido gran parte de mi tiempo entrenando la técnica de mi swing. Me preguntaréis, y por que? Precisamente por ser una jugadora de sensaciones, mis rutinas nunca estuvieron habituadas a practicar las bases primordiales del swing de golf. He sido y soy una jugadora de habilidad, y con talento. Pero el talento y la habilidad solos no puede con una carrera de golf a nivel profesional. Y menos, al nivel de hoy en dia! 

Quiero explicarme bien, para ver si me entendéis. Por que a veces a mi me cuesta expresarme con esos temas. No quiero decir que no practicase la técnica, lo que pasa es que nunca tomaba medidas a la hora de entrenar que me ayudases a aprender los cambios técnicos de manera racional. Siempre les ponía una emoción detrás de cada cambio técnico. Entonces el mismo cambio técnico, un día lo percibía de una manera y al día siguiente lo sentía de otra manera distinta. 

Por que? Por las emociones. Las emociones son muy volatines, y yo al ser una jugadores de muchas sensaciones también lo soy de muchas emociones, y emociones muy fuertes. Durante los torneos de golf, si todo iba bien, todo iba genial, pero si las cosas se me empezaban a complicar no tenia nada a lo que aferrarme, ya que todas mis guías del swing de golf estaban atadas a sentimientos emocionales. Y durante competiciones, esas emociones están a flor de piel y disparadas sin control alguno. Por eso, siempre he sido una jugadora de resultados muy volátiles. 

Por eso me ha constando tanto. Durante una vuelta, podia empezar a pegar ganchos de la nada, y por mucho que me centrase en aquello que me solucionase el gancho en ocasiones previas, la sensación ya no era la misma que esos días anteriores. Yo sentía que hacía y pensaba lo mismo, pero mis sensaciones, por culpa de las emociones, no eran las mismas. 

Aquí es donde siento que volverse metódica a la hora de entrenar entra en juego. Y juega un papel crucial en la evolución como golfista, o al menos para mí. 

A día de hoy, todos los cambios técnicos los entreno con una guía o un tutor. Esto me facilita dos cosas: 1) poder entrenar sola sin ayuda de mi entrenador o entrenar con el a distancia; 2) facilitarme la ayuda de ese cambio técnico aferrándolas a algo racional, básico y repetitivo. Con ayuda de guías o tutores, el mismo cambio técnico lo vas a saber repetir aquel día que te sientas nerviosa como aquel día que te sientas cansada o con miedos. Porque estas habilitando ese cambio técnico como una simple repetición muscular, y se van a volver cambios técnicos automáticos, que te salen sin la necesidad de pensar en nada. 

En resumen, quisiera anotar que para mí -hablando a raíz de mis experiencias y creencias- uno nace con sensaciones, eso no se puede inculcar. Pero sensaciones y talento solo no puede conducir a un atleta a su máximo esplendor. Para ello hace falta volverse metódico para que puedas ser mas autodidacto con tus propios entrenamientos. Para mí, la mejor mezcla es ser un jugador metódico y con sensaciones. 

Os gustaría que escribiese sobre dichos ejercicios básicos que uso en mis prácticas? Que os ha parecido esta entrada de blog? Sabéis si sois más metódicos que de sensaciones? Os sentis identificado con cosas que he hablado aquí? Quiero saber vuestras opiniones! 

mentalBelen Mozo