Are There Too Many Thoughts Preceding Your Golf Shots?
Having spent the majority of this year going through a massive swing change I can relate to this diagram as well as any golfer out
there. Paralysis by analysis is a term ever so common in the golf world. But how do we work through this? There are many methods of teaching and ways to clear your mind but we all face the challenge of committing to it when we go to strike the golf ball. Here are a couple things to consider for the next time you play.
1. HAVE A SIMPLE PRESHOT ROUTINE
You are on the first tee and all the suggestions and drills of your last practice come flying into your brain. On the range you should practice your preshot routine so it feels natural and comfortable and you can trust it. There is a lot that happens when setting up to the ball but that is what you practice. When you play a round, have ONE swing thought that helps you get into that set up quickly and confidently. It may help you to hum your favourite song to relax you, or repeat a word or two that helps you with your tempo, but don’t overcrowd your head with trying to think of all the things you have ever done in that one moment. Once set up, relax and just make the shot. People speak a lot about breaking muscle memory, practice hard so when you play your muscles will take over.
Photo credit: golfinstructortipsfree.com
But one thing that is important to understand is you have to clear your head to let your muscles be able to work. Your muscles react to the thoughts you have, tension and frustration directly affects your muscles which result in poor shots. Clear your mind, think of one good swing thought and trust all those hours of practice. Try it, it’s so refreshing to walk to the next shot with a smile on your face!
2. DON’T LET THE BALL DICTATE YOUR ATTITUDE
Does the ball know you are a lady or a man striking the ball? Does it know you are a professional golfer or amateur? No. My point here is the ball doesn’t choose how to react because of who is hitting it, yet the majority of us let the ball decide how we will react. If we make a good shot our attitude is pleasant, but when we make a poor shot we get in a slump which carries over to the next shot and the next. Learn to react on what you can control. You can’t control the wind or the way the ball lands and rolls, but you can control your pre-shot routine, clearing your head, and staying in the present. When I see a player get frustrated or angry, I know they are most likely thinking of why they missed the shot, or the last time they missed that same shot and are no longer playing in the present. If you commit to the present and don’t get the outcome you wanted with your shot, you can’t get angry. You set out to do what you planned. Let it go. I am not proposing it doesn’t matter if you hit a poor shot, but I am proposing to have a great state of mind when you play golf. Making mistakes in golf is part of the game, it is how we manage our errors through out a round that will reduce our scores.
3. RELAX AND CHOOSE TO PLAY WELL
We don’t make the choice to go out and play our worst round of golf ever. Making a conscious effort before playing and clearly stating “ I will play well today” , “I will keep one swing thought”, “ I will keep a great state of mind”, “ I love my putter” etc etc will cross over to your round of golf. Making the choice to enjoy the course, and play in a relaxed setting will keep you tension free and allow you to make deliberate and accurate shots. Repeat your “I will” before playing or repeat “I love putting” before that long 20ft putt for birdie. You will have a better outcome and lower your scores.
Play well and have fun everyone!
Michelle Sheptak is a contributing writer for Golf Belles Central and is a Long Drive Competitor, Surfer and ER Nurse. She will be sharing her knowledge on golf, surf and fitness here on www.golfbellescentral.com
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