Why Your Pre-Shot Routine Is Invaluable

By David BreslowJune 2, 2004, 4:00 pm
A solid pre-shot routine is often talked about in the game of golf. Routines and rituals are an important aspect of every sport and in fact, we all have routines and rituals in our daily lives as well. In daily life our routines are often unconsciously played out because weve performed them so often that we really dont think about them after a while. The way we wake up in the morning, drive to work or pack for vacations are examples of typical routines that we perform the same time after time without giving them much thought.
In sports, routines are commonplace as well. Basketball players follow a routine at the foul line. Tennis players follow specific routines before serving by bouncing the ball a certain number of times and before receiving serve by bouncing up and down or focusing on a very specific target. Goaltenders in hockey, baseball players at the plate and football players all have certain routines they follow to get them into optimal performance mode.
Why do we follow these routines and why are they so important to us?
Routines impact the mind / body / performance relationship and literally condition it to get yourself ready to perform. There are three very important reasons to perform a solid routine. A solid routine should help you trigger:
1. Clarity
2. Commitment
3. Confidence
Does your pre-shot routine produce these three characteristics for you? If not, your routine is not setting you up to perform your best. When I ask players what a good routine means to them, the answers I hear most often are: to get me ready for the shot Im going to hit or to calm me down and give me something to focus on. While these are certainly outcomes of a solid routine; the routine itself has far reaching benefits as to how you condition yourself for success.
One of the first and basic principles of the mind/body/performance relationship is: Clarity Produces Results. This means that the clearer you are, the better the communication between your mind, nervous system and muscular system. How many times have you stood over a shot and been unclear about it? What is usually the result of that doubt? Lack of clarity produces a swing that is tentative because an unclear mind leads to unclear messages being sent to your nervous system and to your body. The result: a swing that is tentative and uncommitted. Think back on those moments when you were very clear. What was your experience then?
A solid routine will also create a high level of commitment when done properly. Just before stepping into address position ask yourself Am I fully committed to this shot? Be committed before you address the ball and it will affect how you step into address position and your attitude at address. When your routine is set up properly, it should build commitment as you move through it. Are you committed over all of your shots? Are you committed to your club and shot selection? If not, your routine has not set you up for success.
When you have a solid routine from start to address confidence becomes an automatic by-product. The routine is designed to create your ideal mental, emotional and physical state. Is your mental state clear, optimistic and positive? Is your emotional state calm but with just the right amount of emotional charge to be excited? Is your physical state relaxed and open? A solid routine should trigger these ideal states for you. If its not, the routine is not serving you at the highest level. Confidence is built from consistency. Do you perform your routine at ALL times? Do you cut your routine short, speed it up when you are anxious or frustrated? Do you change it depending on the situation you are in? When you have a solid routine it should be followed at all times and in every situation.
Take a good look at your routine. Is it providing you clarity, commitment and confidence over every shot? Does it create the optimum mental, emotional and physical states for you to be successfulevery time? Begin to see your routine as serving an important and valuable purpose on the course!
For more ideas about building your own ideal pre-shot routine, I have created an E-Book entitled 'How To Create Ideal Rituals And Routines.' For details and further information about this and other E-Book titles, email me at David@wiredtowin.net.
Related Links:
  • David Breslow Article Archive
    Copyright 2004 David Breslow. David is the author of Wired To Win and offers a highly acclaimed Perform In The FlowZone' program for sports and business. David has appeared on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio, etc. For more programs/services/products or sign up for a free newsletter (write newsletter in subject box). Also, review the new series of Performance Training Manuals available online! Contact: David Breslow at 847.681.1698 Email: David@theflowzone.net or visit the web: www.theflowzone.net For book orders call toll free: 1.888.280.7715
  • Getty Images

    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

    Getty Images

    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

    Getty Images

    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

    Getty Images

    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.