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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Randy Chang on "Mental" Chipping (Video)

I love this little video! If you didn't see this segment on Morning Drive when it aired earlier in the week, you need to take a few moments to watch it now. GCA coach Randy Chang explains the "mental modes" we can be in when we chip -- or putt or make full swings or whatever -- and why chipping isn't as hard as we make it.

But make sure you don't miss the opening part of this video. Chang shows that chipping doesn't require "eye-hand coordination" by hitting several chips without ever looking at the ball!

First, note that Chang says "eye-hand coordination" is necessary to hit a MOVING ball, not a stationary one. This is important, because we can psych ourselves out before we ever get started if we don't understand that hitting a stationary ball is actually pretty simple. The problem comes when we get too focused on results, which simply means we try to get it too perfect.

He then points out that there are three ways we can think about chipping the ball:
  • Hit mode: This is where we get locked on making perfect contact with the ball and trying to do everything absolutely perfect. If the ball doesn't do exactly what we want, we get bent out of shape. This is the worst possible way to play golf!
  • Target mode: This is where you think about where you want the ball to end up. This is better than hit mode because your thinking isn't "ball-bound". But at Chang says, this can also be problematic if you aren't hitting the ball where your target is. Then you get as focused on being perfect as the player in Hit mode.
  • Swing mode: In this mode you simply try to swing the club and let the ball get in the way. This is actually the way most players make their practice swings, so it's not something we can't do. The problem is that we switch to a less desirable mode when we get ready to make the actual shot.
Obviously, Swing mode is the desired mode. And as Chang says, most of us use this mode automatically when we make a practice swing. We don't worry about hitting the ball, we just take the club back and swing through.

REMEMBER THIS: You can learn to make practice swings at faster speeds if you're worried about not getting the ball to the target. But what you most likely need to practice is keeping the same mindset when the ball is in the way (actual swing) as when it isn't (practice swing). And you can do it with a little practice.

Chang also demonstrates how to use a putting stroke with an iron when you want to chip the ball. This is extremely simple to do -- with a little practice, of course. This is just another mental adjustment, not a technique change. And once you "get hold" of the mindset, it's really easy to do.

Like I said, I love this video. And if you practice the Swing mode mindset a little bit, I think you'll love it too.

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