Does a target focus help golf performance? Jason Day thinks so
Focus on the target is advice that is often given by golf coaches to their students. But, is the coach aiding performance when giving that advice?
According to ‘Quiet Eye theory,’ which can be defined as, ‘a fixation of eyes or a tracking gaze that is located on a specific location or object’ (Vickers, 2007), or in terms of coaches – focus on a target - it is good advice.
Quiet Eye has been shown to underlie higher levels of skill and performance in a wide range of sport tasks. It has also been proven in elite athletes that they achieve Quiet Eye both earlier and longer than that of athletes with lower skill levels (Mann, 2007; Vickers, 1992; Vickers, 2004).
The general agreement is that by achieving Quiet Eye within a skill, such as putting, you will store the information about the location of the target more effectively in a visual memory buffer through maintaining a steady gaze on the ball, which reduces the potential for visual distractions from other sources; therefore, this allows the proper information to guide more precise putting actions. Furthermore, the ability to judge direction and distance, as well as coordinate the necessary motor control sequencing in the critical period of cognitive pre-programming, leads to more effective putting technique and successful performance (Vickers, 1992).
We can, therefore, conclude that a coach telling you to focus on the target is giving good advice that will aid performance. But how do you learn to do this?
Below are some great training challenges that will help you discover how you can implement quiet eye and a target focus, not only into your putting, but in all of your golf game. It combines Vickers quiet eye research, K.A Eriksson’s research on thinking aloud and the mental processes that Jason Day has used to become one of the greatest players in the world.
Quiet eye and thinking aloud challenge – https://youtu.be/2ua83_Ivn0c
Train your eyes to be quiet – https://youtu.be/5iqbcI-dxQA
Develop a target connection like Jason Day – https://youtu.be/ryGeUXugsV4
Jason Day’s mental routine - https://youtu.be/wn7Sswh0X9o