The purpose of a pre-shot routine is to prepare. It gears your mind and body to hit the next shot to the best of your ability. Although a pre-shot routine does not warrant results, it guarantees an opportunity to play up to your full potential.
For this reason, the pre-shot routine is a fundamental aspect to the mental game in golf and sports psychology. Following though with a pre-shot routine assists golfers in harnessing their trust and commitment during a round of golf. These benefits are why we spend so much time with our students developing and ingraining a solid pre-shot routine as part of our Mental Training program at The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy in Orlando, FL.
Every golfer on the PGA TOUR and LPGA TOUR has a slightly different pre-shot routine that fits their individual needs, personality, rhythm, and mental approach. It’s important that you create a routine that fits your golfing style while also including the commonalities that all great routines share.
These common components are as follows:
• Making a smart decision
• Rehearsing that smart decision
• Getting yourself set-up properly
Smart decision-making begins with picking a target and yardage and then noticing the important elements that could influence the shot such as lie, slope and wind. Gathering this information allows you to then decide on the type of club, trajectory, and shot shape needed to master the shot.
Golfers will make different decisions based on their skill level, confidence, and golf swing understanding that most important part of any good decision is that you own it and believe in it. Nothing hurts your pre-shot routine more than doubt so in the majority of settings, it’s more important to believe in your decision then to make the “right decision”. A good decision with 100% belief will almost always go further than a great decision with little belief.
Rehearsing your confident decision is the next step. I call this swing a rehearsal swing and not a practice swing. A rehearsal swing is much more powerful because it simulates the shot you want to hit. It’s a mental and physical dress rehearsal before the shot. It’s your way of getting ready to play the shot. Rehearsal swings are a great way to build confidence and confirm that the shot you chose is the right shot.
Maximize effectiveness of each rehearsal swing by using visualization and imagery to imagine the exact shot you plan on hitting. Try to see, hear, and feel the shot incorporating mind and body. The more senses you use, the better.
I’ve worked with golfers who like to make the same number of swings each and every time while others will vary the number of rehearsal swings. Regardless of what you choose, the key is that your rehearsal swings actually “rehearse” the decision you made. For instance, if you decide on a full 7 iron, the rehearsal swing should actually rehearse a full 7 iron. Your rehearsal swing(s) should have the same length, ball position, tempo and rhythm that you intend to use when you step up to the ball.
Implementing these common elements used by professionals will significantly improve not only your mental game but also your golf game. You will be surprised how a few simple mental training and sport psychology strategies can make a massive difference to your golfing mind and golf scores.
To learn more about GGGA’s Mental Training Program email us at [email protected]