Why Your Pre-Shot Routine Is Invaluable

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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.
 
CLARITY
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?
 
COMMITMENT
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.
 
CONFIDENCE
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.
 
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    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