Many golfers suffer from expressions of anxiety immediately before they set up to the ball on the first tee box. “What swing is going to pop out?” “Which direction will the ball fly?” “What if, heaven forbid, I miss the ball altogether?” These thoughts are all expressions of fear.
But why should an amateur golfer feel afraid of something that he or she has chosen to do for fun? And unless you are playing a team game, why should you worry about anyone else when your game doesn’t affect his or her game? Why worry about what other people think?
If you suffer from first tee jitters it is important to identify why you experience this reaction. Are you anxious because of how much you want to perform well or are you more concerned about what other people think?
Everyone likes to be liked. Everyone likes to do well. This is natural. But when on the golf course you have quite enough to think about without worrying about what other people think. In reality, they don’t care how you swing your club and hit the ball. They are playing their game and you are playing yours. Every golfer has whiffed a shot off of the first tee. They can empathize.
There are several things that you can do so as to immunize yourself against first tee jitters. Even if you cannot get over thinking about what other people think you can still remove this from your mind whilst standing upon the tee box.
First, if you worry is about what is going to pop out as your natural swing today, then make a habit of going to the range for a few swings prior to the game. The purpose of range time prior to a game is to find your rhythm and tempo and to take note of what appears to be happening in your swing. Every day is different, and every golfer knows this.
Next, make a habit of focusing “in the now” whenever you stand on the tee box. Fears do not live in the present. A fear is always about something that might happen in the future or caused by a memory of something that happened in the past. By focusing your attention “in the now” or “in the moment” you at the same time eliminate the potential of experiencing anxiety or fear.
The added bonus of focusing in the now is that you attention is focused upon what you are doing, and this of course is a vital element in creating a good golf swing.
Having a bullet proof habitual pre-shot routine gets you to both focus in the now and direct your attention to exactly what you are supposed to be doing. It also prevents you from experiencing first or last tee jitters.
Roseanna Leaton, golf addict and specialist in golf hypnosis mp3s and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.
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