A mental and physical routine is used in every sport to prepare the athlete for his/her performance. A consistent pre-shot routine keeps the golfer engrossed in the moment and his/her thoughts away from self imposed pressure. It is a signal to the unconscious mind to get ready to perform.
Gymnasts, ice skaters or divers perform intricate maneuvers of their bodies in mid air. They do not have time to think about what they are doing. What they do have is a strategy to activate those maneuvers that they have practiced.
Athletes train their minds and bodies to do the same thing in sequence over and over until it becomes a habit. They then activate the sequence by a trigger to start the process.
Basketball players bounce the ball on the foul line. Tennis players bounce the ball before serving. Baseball pitchers go through the same “touching” ritual every time they throw a pitch – first the cap, then the shirt, and finally a shrug of the shoulders.
These “routines” are the maps that give direction to your brain about what you want to do. Successful golfers go through the same consistent routine before every shot so their unconscious mind has specific instructions to move the body.
When you “lose your swing” on the golf course, you need to go back to the routine because you have deviated from your map and are going in a different direction and getting a different result. Some of these deviations could be fear thoughts of avoiding hazards, fear of embarrassment, fear of failure, frustration at slow play, annoyances with other players, weather conditions and anxiety about your performance or your score. This is the time to narrow your focus by concentrating on your preparation routine.
I like to think of the pre-shot routine as a dance that moves 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 for creating your shot. For more specific information on forming a routine go to http://bit.ly/J3pe53
Play “In the Zone” With Joan
Since we are all part of the golfing community and want to improve, I would like to hear from you. Let me know what your concerns are, the parts of your mental game that you need help with, what excites you, and what you love about the game. Add your comments below.