Golf is very different than other sports. Instead of constant, sometimes frantic action, golf revolves around a few complex, thoughtful motions. Approaching the tee can be nerve-wracking, and stress and anxiety can result in a botched drive. It’s important to learn how to calm your nerves and approach your swing with a clear head. We’ve compiled a few of the best tips from the pros for getting rid of pre-swing jitters and bringing your A-game to that first swing.
Visualize Your Goals
Before any major moment, take time to visualize the result you want to see. When you approach the tee, think about how you want your swing to go and where you want to see the ball land. In golf, consider the course, the weather, the current hole, and where you need the ball to go. When you have a clear picture of your desire, it’s easier to make it a reality.
Visualization of your goals matters in many aspects of life outside of golf. It’s crucial to see the result you want before you take action. Having a clear idea of what you want to see happen in a situation is vital to achieving that desired result. Getting into a rhythm is much easier once you make visualizing success part of your pre-swing routine.
Control Your Breathing
It can be hard to control your breathing when you’re nervous, but it’s one of the best ways keep nervousness under control. Uneasy or erratic breathing usually results in a botched drive or a slice into the rough. Before you step up to the tee, take a moment to collect yourself and focus on your breathing.
Consistent, steady breathing helps calm your nerves. Take a few slow, long, deep breaths and release some of that pre-swing tension. Once you steady your breathing, your heart rate naturally slows, calming your muscles and restoring control. When you’re nervous, you’re in less control over your body, and nervousness naturally leads to rushed actions and a “just get through it” mindset. You don’t want to just swing and be done with it – you want that first shot to count and set the stage for a great round.
Focus on the Moment
While visualizing your goals is vital to success, don’t get so caught up in thinking about your potential success that your mind wanders away from the task at hand. Take golf one swing at a time. Stop thinking about the score, the next hole, or the first drink you’ll have once you’re back at the clubhouse – focus on the tee before you and clear your mind of clutter.
Focused thought is vital to success in any sport and other aspects of life. When you focus on what you need to do, you make more deliberate, calculated decisions and have a higher degree of control over the results. When you start thinking about the countless variables, you complicate your thinking and jeopardize the outcome.
Embrace Your Nervousness
A big part of being nervous is worrying about others’ perception of you and your performance. Sure, you may make a mistake and your pals may get a chuckle out of you scouring the tree line for your sliced ball, but that isn’t the end of the world. Sometimes just putting it out there and saying something along the lines of, “I’m pretty nervous about this shot,” is enough to relieve some pressure.
Consider your nerves as part of the challenge. This way, you can assume a more offensive mindset and not be defensive because you’re worried about botching your shot. Leverage your nerves for better playing, and you’ll likely find your scores dropping.