Are You Missing Shots Before You’ve Started Your Swing

Golf Sports

Golf Psychology Tips: Are You Missing Shots Before You’ve Started Your Swing?

Many golfers approach a shot not trusting themselves or their golf swing

You’re playing a par 3 and have noted the distance to your target, selected your club, gone through your pre-shot routine, you’re about to pull the trigger when you look at the green for the last time and….

You start to doubt your judgement.  You tell yourself this is the wrong club.  Your mind goes into overdrive, where you have a big argument in your head in a matter of seconds. 

“No it isn’t”, “Yes, it is”, “No it isn’t”, “Oh come on just hit it”, But you’ll be long with that club”, “The players behind are nearly on the tee”, “Hurry up”….

Then you decide to play that club, you swing half-heartedly, worried in case the ball goes long or left out of bounds and end up pushing it way right into trouble.

You’re now mad, really mad with yourself for playing that shot.  “Why didn’t I just take a step back”, you ask yourself.

This is a common sight on golf courses, around the world, where golfers stand over the shot, indecisive.  Let’s face it with an “uncertain” mindset you’re not going to execute the shot that you want – are you?  You’re leaving yourself open to unconscious and conscious movements on your downswing so that you keep the ball in play.

The 1-2 seconds before you hit a shot is the most important part of a pre-shot routine, get it wrong and all the great shots played prior in the round get forgotten about.

The Solution

Let’s firstly, acknowledge this is a mental aspect of the game and like all mental mistakes you can do something about it and easily change the habit.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could stand over the ball with the trust and confidence as a tour player does?

Tip 1. Write Down Your Pre-Shot Routine

Have you ever written down the steps that you go through before you hit a shot, chip or putt in detail?

By doing so, it will bring the process more to your consciousness.   You may find that you go through 3 steps or 33 steps in your routine.  I encourage you to give this a bash.

Tip 2. The Most Important aspects of your Pre-shot routine

Understand what are the most important things that you do in your pre-shot routine when you are at your very best and note them down.  Many clients, say they visualise the shot from leaving the club face to landing on the green and rolling out, others can hear the noise of the ball leaving the putter, you may even have a cue word you say to yourself or imagine a very small target in the distance?  Make sure your list, has a maximum of 3 important aspects.  Anymore than 3 and you are likely to become robotic on the course, when under pressure.

 Tip 3 Visualize the Pre-Shot Routine

To play your best golf, consistently, visualise yourself going through your pre-shot routine.  Picture yourself on different courses, playing different types of shots.  See yourself having fun, standing tall and confident, notice what you are wearing.  Notice what other people will see in you when you’re playing really, really well.  Imagine yourself having lots of fun over the shot, being creative and trusting yourself as a top tour professional does.  Imagine how you breathe, when you’re at your best, how fast does your heart beat when you’re over the ball. See yourself celebrating successful shots, chips and putts.

The more you can clearly, rehearse this, the easier it will get on the golf course for you.  Under pressure you will notice positive changes and it is likely better scores will follow, as is the case for 99% of clients I have taken through this approach.  It is argued that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so go on start today and practise visualising your shot routine for 21 days and play your best golf more consistently….

If you’d like to learn more tips on how to help your children perform at their best more consistently feel free to click on this Golf Psychology Section or sign up to “The Mental Edge” for regular updates.

To get in touch for one 2 one Sports Psychology Coaching with a Leading Sport Psychologist, David Charlton, based near Newcastle Upon Tyne click here – Face to Face, via the Telephone, SKYPE or Online via Email.

David Charlton Sports Psychologist

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Online Golf Performance Psychologist who supports many golfers around the world from the USA, United Kingdom, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Australian and New Zealand, using ONLINE Video Conferencing.    

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence, Host of Demystifying Mental Toughness Podcast and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over a decades’ experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, faster. 

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

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