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Preshot Routine

The Pre Shot Routine consists of all the steps that a player takes to adequately prep their body and mind for the shot that lies in front of them. The routine is somewhat of a ritual and must be performed the same way on every shot so that the player can develop consistency and get in the "zone".

Preshot Routine Drills

Preshot Routine Tips

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  • Stay in the Present

    Always, and I mean always stay in the present. The ONLY thing that matters is the shot right in front of you. You cannot change what already happened. That is the past. You cannot control what will happen in the future right now. You can only control it when you are there. Don't drain all your energy living in the past or present. Every second you waste thinking about it you take energy and focus away from the present. This means that you are not giving the shot in front of you 100%.

  • Visualize Before You Swing

    Before you approach the ball visualize the trajectory and curvature of your shot. See where you want the ball to start and where you want it to end up and then connect the dots in your mind. Be sure to do this on the practice range as well as part of developing your mental pre shot routine. This is a great mental rehearsal and will keep your mind off of technical thoughts. You need to be in a relatively calm state of mind to visualize, so be sure to slow down, check your breathing and relax.

  • Don't Wait; Pull the Trigger

    Limit time over the ball. Not only does no one like slow players, but taking too much time over the ball allows your mind to become active again. This will flood your brain with too many distracting thoughts and allow doubt to creep in. After going through your mental and physical pre shot routines, set up, take a couple looks at the target and pull the trigger. Don't set your club behind the ball and just stand there. Pull the trigger.

  • Make a Realistic Rehearsal

    Make certain that your practice swings are rehearsals, meaning exact replicas of how you intend to swing at the ball. It doesn't do any good to make soft, slow practice swings when you are getting ready to bust a drive. It also doesn't make much sense to make a huge pendulum swing right before you are going to knock in a tap in. Try to make your practice as realistic as possible so you are actually prepared to hit the shot.

  • Commit & Trust

    Once you are ready to pull the trigger, commit to the shot. At this point you have done everything you can and the only thing left to do is trust. If you have made your calculations for yardage, selected the appropriate club, selected the type of shot you want to hit and rehearsed it visually in your pre shot routine, you have covered all of your bases. Now it's time to let go and trust. If you start to have second thoughts or are second guessing yourself back off and start the whole process over.

  • Play Golf on the Range, Not Swing

    Play a round of golf on the driving range. To make your practice as realistic and course like as possible, for at least part of every practice session try playing golf. This means pick targets, go through your pre shot routine and play imaginary holes. Start with your drive, hit your second and third shots and even roll a putt off the mat. Imagine some of the holes on your favorite course or even get creative and play some of your dream courses. The idea is to put yourself into realistic on course situations as much as possible.

  • Tension is the Enemy

    Tension is your enemy. Signs of tension are quick tempo, fast heartbeat, wide focus (being easily distracted) and jerky moves. It is important to be aware of the fact that swing flaws are not always necessarily flaws in your swing technique, but can come from poor mental thoughts. Check your tension level first before you go messing and experimenting with your swing. Be sure to slow your breathing and take a nice decompressing breath before you pull the club back.

  • Use a Feel Thought

    When making your rehearsal swings try to get a feel thought going rather than a technical thought. Technical thoughts can get jumbled, become too many and interrupt your swing making it jerky. Having a tempo count in your head or thoughts like "oily smooth" or "heavy club" can keep technical thoughts at bay. Depending what you are working on in your swing or trying to accomplish you should be able to come up with a feel thought that applies.

  • Go For the Reward, Not the Risk

    When teeing off go for the reward, not the risk. Never aim for trouble unless you are a highly skilled player that can bend the ball consistently. It's best if you pick a very specific target, but a safe one that will leave you room on either side should you miss the ball. Make sure to visualize the flight of your ball to your target as you make your rehearsal swings. Then, once you set up to the ball make sure to look up a couple of times to see the flight of the ball to the target before starting your takeaway.

  • Tension Breeds an Active Mind

    When you are tense, not only will your swing be jerky and get offline, but your thoughts will become more active. This of course causes you to have too many thoughts, causes your focus to get too wide allowing distractions and allows you to get in your own way. To combat this try slowing down. Make sure that you take long, slow deep breaths to keep your heart rate down and your breathing rate slow. Clear your mind by focusing on nothing but the shot in front of you with positive visualizations.

  • Your Mental Routine Should Outrank Your Physical Routine

    Your mental pre shot routine is as important if not more so than your physical routine. Practice your mental routine on every shot whether you are at the practice tee or out on the course. Be sure to keep it consistent throughout your game. In other words, use your routine for driving, fairway shots, chipping and putting. Steps to include in your pre shot routine include calculating (figuring yardage, choosing club, target, etc), visualizing the shot, trying to feel the shot in your practice swing and committing to the shot.

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