Saturday, September 30, 2006, 03:47 PM - TipsIf you've golfed competitively you've no doubt had nerves affect your game! When I say competitively I don't just mean competing on a professional or mini-tour. If you have a $5 bet with a colleague or friend it's still competitive! Whether you're a 27 handicap or scratch you are likely to feel at least some nerves during your round.
For many people it doesn't even have to involve competiton at all. Just stepping to the first tee can cause a serious case of nerves. Maybe it's when you must make a put to tie a hole or to win on the 18th green. If you're standing on the 17th hole in a match and you're 1 down then you have to deliver. Period. If you can't channel your nerves you had better hope that swing you've been grooving for the past 6 months holds up now!
Regardless of skill level and/or on course scenario there will be times when you'll require some way to calm your nerves so they don't adversely affect your stroke/swing.
Have you made any conscious attempts to reduce your experience of nerves in your game? What did you try? What have been your results? Did they work and if so was it immediate? Or did you, like most every golfer alive, simply fill your head full of self talk saying things like, "ok, calm down. Just breathe...there's nothing to be nervous about...hey, maybe he'll miss his putt....yeah...miss-miss-miss!..."
Does this sound familiar?! Have you noticed that this doesn't really do all that much to reduce your nervousness? Unless of course your playing partner does miss the putt!
Seriously though, you must have a means of noticing the onset of nerves and a method for not only calming them but using them to your advantage. How does that sound?
While I can't go into detail in this article on how to transform nerves into actually playing your best golf under pressure, I will provide a few excellent methods you can use right away. They will improve your performance.
Breath is a very powerful state enhancer. What I mean is that your breathing provides deep physiological links to your internal states. When you're nervous you make short, shallow breaths. Quick breaths actually instruct the brain to respond in a "fight or flight" manner. The brain is hardwired to respond to fast breathing by being on the lookout for an emergency. Not the most effective place from which to make a smooth putting stroke on that 10 footer for par now is it?!
1) While waiting for your turn to hit stand aside and follow this breathing pattern:
Inhale - 4 counts
Hold - 5 counts
Exhale - 6 counts
Long, deep, slow breaths. This process interupts the breath influenced aspect of your state and directly instructs the brain to become still. Another adverse affect of nerves is a noticeable loss of feel in your hands. Sometimes you may even wonder if you're even holding the club!
2) Simply hold a golf ball in your hands. Now squeeze it gently and hold for a few seconds. Then release. Then squeeze once again but this time do so very firmly and hold for a couple seconds then release. Roll the ball around in your hand and make a note of how the dimples feel.
Repeat this sequence 2 or 3 times and you will immediately increase the feel in your hands. Nervousness and shallow breathing directs extra blood to the brain, diverting it from your extremities. By doing applying this simple technique blood will flow back into your hands and improve your feel.
These 2 exercises work quickly. Self talk alone can't compete with the psycho-physiological intensity of nervousness. Try them and let me know how well they worked?!
What if there was a way to transform nervousness into a calm, inner confidence? To actually have the onset of nerves "trigger" an inner calm. How powerful would that be in improving your performance? I will show you how to achieve this.
By: Wade Pearse
Wade Pearse is a Peak Performance Coach who spent 7 years applying the most advanced mental game strategies in golf with his clients and in his own game. Visit his website. It is filled with mental game resources you can use in your game right away. He has a mental game ezine and a daily blog you can subscribe to.
Keeping you on target!
Visit the website now=> Mental Game Development and Mastery.
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