Recently while watching a replay of Jonny Wilkinson playing for England and seeing him kicking , I was reminded of the similarity of this set piece penalty kick to playing golf.
Unlike many sports Golf is a game consisting entirely of set pieces , the majority of the time we spend on the course and most of the physical energy ,is not on the shots we play but on the walking in between. If you think about the amount of time spent actually playing the strokes , it is remarkably small.
Each swing takes on average 1.4 seconds , which means the total golf swing time on the course is comfortably under 3 minutes.
What does this mean to you & I ??
On the course we should focus on the three important phases of each shot:
1. Physical Set up routine to get to the ball with the correct fundamentals (grip /posture etc.)
2. Engagement or focus on the target (where the ball is going to go)
3. A moment to shift attention to the ball and settle & let the swing flow.
Far too often, we either fail to engage with the target (focus on where we want to go) & worry about technique or we rush to play the shot without taking the necessary moment to settle, before making the stroke.
Next time you watch , you can notice how all great golfers (and rugby kickers) take this second or two to gather themselves before hitting the shot.
* Jonny Wilkinson's kicking coach Dave Allred has also coached golfers such as Luke Donald