It is important not to underestimate the importance of the mind in all sport. Golf is certainly no exception and over the years there have been many instances of even the best golfers folding under the pressure of the situation. Golf is a strange challenge because it asks for several pieces of concentration for a short time then releases the player to walk to the next shot.
The process of switching on again over the next shot and clearing your head of any distractions needs practice. You must never get ahead of yourself and just think about a single stroke at a time. It comes more naturally to some than others. There is no doubt that practice helps everyone in ‘educating’ their body and mind to perform on the course. It is important to be able to relax; the brain is apt to allow anxiety to creep in particularly if you are faced with a difficult shot or you are scoring well and the nerves are building up.
You must focus positively on what you want to achieve with each shot and decide the best way to complete the shot successfully. At the same time your course management is called into question; on a familiar course you will know the hazards and how best to try to avoid them.
The mental ‘game’ involves:
You must be relaxed in order to play good golf. You must not be worried walking towards your ball about the things that can go wrong. Likewise once you have played your shot you should try to give yourself a short break from thinking about the next challenge. If you are in a friendly fourball that is perhaps easier than if you are going head to head in matchplay.
While you are walking give yourself the once over. It is unlikely that you will actually be shaking but are there any other signs that you are tensing up? If you have had success in the past on the golf course that is something to draw from. The experience that provides should calm you down when you seem to be struggling to control your emotions. If you succeed it will be another experience to provide you with positive thoughts when you are in a similar position again.
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