Golf is a very challenging sport, where besides technique and physical abilities, mental strength plays a big role in the game.
Today we are going to give you an advice on the importance of a pre-hot routine and the consistency it gives to the swing, the game and the score.
Every professional golfer has a pre-shot routine. Some are tedious, some agile. You see them often on TV. The reason professional golf players do strange things before they actually hit the ball is because it works. It helps to get better.
Benefits of a Pre-Shot routine
1. It Allows You to Set the Pace for Your Shot
In both basketball and golf, rushing your shot can lead to inaccuracy and rushing is usually a symptom of nervousness (as your body rushes to get the moment over with). By keeping a steady, slow, and consistent pre-shot routine you set a positive mental and physical tone for your shot. In essence, the routine allows you to “work out” any jitters or “quickness” you may be feeling and thus gives you time to correct and slow things down before you even approach the ball.
2. It Allows You to Set Your Focus
All pre-shot routines include some manner of taking aim (which sadly is all to often neglected by players who just walk up to the ball and take a swing). Something as simple as taking a moment to stand behind the ball and visually identify and “lock-in” on your target can work wonders for your game.
3. It allows you to quiet your mind
Nerves can certainly become a hindrance to taking a smooth and consistent swing. By following a pre-set routine you effectively allow your muscle memory to takeover and execute the shot without allowing your mind to come in and wreak down on the whole process. We’re certainly not discounting the importance your mind plays in the pre-shot routine but knowing when to shift into gear and let the body take over is vitally important. A steady pre-shot routine can really help that process along.
Example of an effective Pre-shot routine
1. Stand behind the ball, stare down your target and count to 3+
This can keep you calm, reduce or eliminate any nerves or jitters you have and keep you relaxed during your swing. The reason it works is because it forces you to slow down and take at least one full breath. Proper breathing (and breathing exercises in particular) is well known to settle nerves and improve performance. It also helps to bring much needed oxygen to your muscles.
2. Encourage yourself
Tell yourself something positive that will be consistent and keep you focus. For example, once you address the ball with your best golf stance, simply say to yourself “smooth, easy, and follow through.” It is however, extremely important to watch what you say! Far too many golfers talk to themselves negatively, saying things like “don’t hit it in the water,” “don’t screw this up,” “I hate this hole,” or something to that effect. Negative talk can hurt your confidence and cause a poor swing. Positive encouragement on the other hand, can help boost your confidence and increase your ability to execute the shot.
3. Visualize the outcome you want
Before addressing the ball, pick a target and select and outcome. A great time to visualize your shot is when you’re standing behind the ball. Simply take a moment to draw out the ball flight in your mind and watch the simulated shot all the way to where you would like the ball to land. Many people get intimidated by the idea of visualizing but it’s really not all that complicated. All you really need to do is use your imagination to envision the shot you want and watch in amazement when you body actually listens and recreates it.