You must have heard about golfers choking in pressure situations? What exactly is choking?
It is hitting a bad shot after you allow anger, anxiety, doubt or fear to enter your mind. Whatever you are thinking of or whatever you say to yourself just before hitting a shot becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Your brain will guide your muscles and your golf club to strange-looking swings, if you allow it. If you are distracted by negative thoughts, you won’t swing the club the way you normally could because your muscles will become tense and almost non-functional.
However, you must understand that being a little nervous in the stomach area is normal for all great players. Being nervous, having shaky hands or a pounding heart is a good sign, because it means you are eager to compete.
But, you must separate your brain from your body. Your body can be nervous, but your mind must remain calm. This is possible if you follow these guidelines:
1. Focus on the target, not on what bad things can happen. Imagine that you are on the course with your friends and you have a bet as to who can hit the fairway or green.
2. Take a few deep breaths. Relax your neck, arms, shoulders, and hands so that you are not tense in any way. Pay attention to your jaw and teeth. Do not clench or grind your teeth because this will lead to tension everywhere else in your body.
3. Do not worry about the results of the shot before you hit it. Just concentrate on making a smooth swing, just as you would on the driving range with nobody else around.
4. As a final point, if you miss a putt or another shot even though your thoughts were filled with good intentions, just accept it as part of the game and do not dwell on it. Do not beat yourself up. Enjoy the game and try and forget about the shots you missed.