Chilliwack Golf Club instructor Jennifer Greggain writes a bi-weekly column in the pages of the Chilliwack Progress and online at

Column: Mindset matters when learning new skills

Chilliwack Golf Club instructor Jennifer Greggain discusses the right approach to learning.

It never fails.

You’ve just had a lesson or have figured something out about your swing at your last practice session. You hit the links and have a terrible round. Perhaps cursing your golf professional, you ask yourself, ‘why did I even take that lesson?’

Unfortunately, this is a pattern I see all too often. It isn’t, however, because you have a terrible golf professional. Its all about mindset, and how it should be different when you’re learning a new skill versus performing a skill.

In this column I will explain the ideal mindset for a proper learning environment, and how to bring that onto the golf course.

First of all, when someone learns a skill for the very first time, or are changing a skill, they will likely focus most of their attention on how the body is moving.

I call this ‘internal’ focus.

On the other hand, when performing a skill already learned, you should be focusing on your intention, or your target.

I call this ‘external’ focus.

There are a few expectations you should have when you are in either of these mindsets.

First of all, when you are internally focused, you can potentially expect positioning or technique to change over time. And the more you repeat this new motion, the easier it will be to execute.

However, you can also expect overall performance to worsen when internally focused.

This aspect of internal focus is something that most golfers overlook as they head to the golf course with their head full of swing changes and expectations of better scores.

As for internal focus, when you are completely committed to your target, and forget about how to swing the club, you can expect overall performance to be at its best. You can also expect that technique or positioning will remain the same. You can, however, still hit great shots with the technique you already have, even if you just had a lesson.

With all of that said, I would argue that there are a number of “dos” and “don’ts” as far as practice, play and mindset are concerned.

If you are making changes to your technique, you DO want to spend some time focusing internally on how to do this. Perhaps this is during a lesson, or a practice time on your own. However, you DON’T want to spend all of your practice time in this mindset.

DO play golf externally focused, no matter what changes you are currently making. Perhaps in a practice swing you can switch to internal focus. But when its time to pull the trigger, fill your mind with visions of ball flight and target only. You must accept that your technique is not going to change once you pull into the parking lot of the golf course to play a round.

Jennifer teaches golf to adults and juniors at the Chilliwack Golf Academy.

She played professionally on tour for over 10 years, including 2 years on the LPGA. She is the 2016 LPGA Western Section Teacher of the Year, and is now the lead instructor of the Sardis Golf Academy. She can be contacted at 604-798-9805,, or at

Just Posted

Power play woes doom Chilliwack Chiefs in home-ice loss

The Chiefs struggled with the man advantage in a 4-1 loss to Alberni Valley Saturday night.

UPDATE: Poor ventilation likely cause of carbon monoxide incident at Delta farm

All 42 patients have been released from hospital, according to Delta Fire

Man found not guilty in rash of pellet-gun attacks

Incidents took place across Abbotsford in July 2015

High Chilliwack home prices, sales forecast to moderate

2018 sales should be lower than 2017 and 2016, which was the hottest year on record

VIDEO: IHIT identifies Langley murder victim

IHIT is now on scene investigating the death.

VIDEO: Christmas at Kilby feast kicks off holiday eating

Sold-out event driven by volunteer staff

B.C. actress’s role in Wonder brings perspective to the topic of bullying

Crystal Lowe plays bully’s mother in the Hollywood movie

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

VIDEO: Man frustrated that Vancouver taxi driver won’t take him home to New Westminster

Kuldip Gill says that not being able to get a ride to the suburbs is a constant problem

Legacy of Amanda Todd lives on through B.C. foundation

Todd’s mother Carol stresses the importance of putting the phone down and talking with children

UPDATE: Train hits hydro pole, causes outage near Deltaport

No injuries reported but traffic in and out of Deltaport is blocked

VIDEO: Vancouver Whitecaps acquire star striker Kei Kamara

Kamara has 103 goals and 39 assists in 298 appearances over 11 Major League Soccer seasons

Smartphone pedometers underestimate steps, but valuable health tool: study

UBC researchers found the iPhone underestimated steps by 21.5 per cent

Most Read