With spring fast approaching, now is the time to prepare for your return to the golf course. Since golf is in large part a mind game, mental skill practice can be done indoors in your own home. In addition to putting on a rug, visualization and mental imagery, developing a consistent preshot routine now would be a valuable skill to perfect.
Many factors make up a consistent round of golf, such as desire, realistic expectations, and confidence in your ability to perform well. Consistency comes from practicing your skills until you are confidence that you can execute the shot or putt. This applies to your mental skills as well. But physical practice is not enough. You must believe that you can do it time after time under all kinds of conditions. Mental conditioning is what separates the great players from the field.
A mental and physical routine is used in every sport to prepare the athlete to perform. It keeps the athlete engrossed in the moment, away from the pressure of the results. A good preshot routine is a series of actions designed to get the golfer total absorbed in the process of getting the ball to the target. It is a signal to the unconscious mind to get ready.
Athletes train their minds to do the same thing in sequence over and over until it becomes a habit so they don’t have to think about the routine or the physical activity. These preperformance routines are the maps that give direction to the brain and body. Without a consistent routine, the results will be inconsistent.
A preshot routine allows the thinking, analyzing brain to stop and attention to be focused on the process of reparation to hit the ball to the target. If you do not use the same routine before every shot, your brain is sending different messages to your body, which will then react with inconsistent results.
Every choice you make moves you closer or further away from the results you desire. Choose now to develop a part of your mental game that is necessary to prepare yourself mentally and physically to hit the best possible shot of which you are capable. If you are not using a consistent routine for every shot, you are missing a valuable asset to your game, especially on pressure shots and putts.
I like to think of the preshot routine as a series of actions that move you from behind the ball to the place over the ball where you are eager to swing. When you are concentrating well, you are not thinking. You are totally absorbed in the routine process of getting the ball to the target. When you use the same routine each time you have control of your thinking and send good messages to your body.
To play consistently you need to have a consistent preshot routine. Having the same routine on every shot enables you to play automatically by letting your trained skills take over. A consistent routine keeps your mind focused on the present moment. It sets you up for the automatic conditioned response. If you vary your routine from shot to shot, you can expect inconsistent results. You can program your mind so it is conditioned to do the same thing the same way every time as you approach the ball.”
*Excerpts are from Chapter 17: Consistency; “THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances”
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