The average round of golf on most courses tends to be between four and four and a half hours. During that time you might have to wait a couple of times for the fairway or green in front of you to clear. During those pauses in play you can easily find that you lose your momentum, rhythm or focus.
And this potential problem is multiplied considerably in circumstances where the round drags on for longer periods. A friend yesterday played in a competition where the round took five and a half hours. Whilst the majority of people might think that the problem is being bored, getting hot, or losing rhythm, I immediately wondered how she coped with her thoughts and emotions throughout those long waits.
When listening to golf commentary on the television you often hear asked of the overnight leader how they dealt with that waiting time. It is indeed a learning curve and most will reply that once they have dealt with any mechanical issues they basically do anything they can to relax and take their mind off of the tournament.
The time waiting between shots provides time to think, to rehash past shots in your mind and over-think the upcoming shot. It provides time to worry and for fears to manifest themselves. Every golfer has to find ways to circumvent this possibility, or more likely, probability.
Good golfers have a pre shot routine that is designed to make your focus clear and sharp when you need it to be. You know that it is impossible to focus for every minute of a four hour round of golf. You focus upon each shot individually and find ways to relax between shots. Your pre-shot routine is an automated process that you slip into before each shot. It’s a habit that you can rely upon.
In circumstances where you have waited for an overly long period of time, your pre-shot routine becomes even more invaluable than normal. So long as you have made it habitual and automated you will always employ it before you shoot. In fact, you would find that you just couldn’t make your shot without it.
Thus one of the most important ways that you can ensure that you deal well with waiting time is to make sure that your pre-shot routine is well-embedded and truly habitual. No matter how long you have been waiting you refocus clearly as you begin your pre-shot routine. It is familiar, comfortable and you can rely upon it. It also brings your mind and emotions totally into the present moment, not chewing over the past or creating fearful images of future possibilities.
What else can you do during the wait time? If you are dwelling upon past problematical shots then you have to find a way in which to release them, trash them and get over it. If you are fixating upon your score, then you have to displace that focus as well, and bring your mind back to the present moment.
You then need to focus upon keeping your mood light and relaxed. You have to find what works for you. You could go to “your happy place”, listen in your inner ear to your happy tune, focus upon abdominal breathing, meditate or simply enjoy looking around at the trees and sky. There are a myriad of ways in which you can achieve a relaxed and calm state, so long as you plan to do this.
Roseanna Leaton, golf addict and specialist in golf hypnosis mp3s and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.
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