Try This Technique To Remove Self-imposed Negative Interference

Timothy Gallwey is considered to be the first “golf psychologists” and he gave us the seminal “Inner Game” series of books. These books show us powerful techniques for improving the mind for better performance.

In his book the “Inner Game of Golf” he introduces the concept of “back-hit” an exercise to increase concentration and remove self imposed negative interference. The student is asked to say the word “back” when they reach the top of the back swing, and “hit” when the club hits the ball. He or she is asked to be as accurate as possible and are told if they were too early or too late (which only helps increase the power of the exercise). Gallwey noticed that when his students focused on this exercise, they were less aware of their technique which improved their execution of the shot. Essentially, the less we focus on technique and the more we focus on our objective, the better we will perform.


Golfers have a tendency to have negative visualizations or fear of where they see the ball going and hence they get more conscious of technique to compensate. This exercise allows the golfer to eliminate the technical swing thoughts induced to avoid trouble and instead they swing freely. The focus is on something that is very achievable (instead of fear of failure), which makes the swing more fluid and increases commitment to the shot. Once you have a positive visualization for the shot you want to play (and a very precise target) and you know you are aligned to your target, let your subconcious mind take over. There should be absolutely no focus on how your body should move to play a shot and this exercise will help you achieve this.

Your body already knows how to play great golf, it’s getting your mind out of the way that will take you closer to your potential. Use this technique with every club in your bag and I guarantee you will see better golf shots.

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David MacKenzie

is a mental golf coach and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind, a teaching program designed to help golfers condition their minds to overcome fear and play with confidence.

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