What is your “scariest” golf shot and how can you manage your stress on the course?
We can all relate to a situation that causes fear - speaking in front of a large group, losing something we have or perhaps putting ourselves on the line for something we believe in. Being in front of a television camera may send some of you running but for me it is very natural. However, on the golf course I do experience some fear and anxiety. Being the last golfer in the group to tee off (from the Ladies tees), standing over a critical 4-foot putt and a short lob shot over a deep bunker seem to be my top three.
What are your top three scariest shots?
When we experience anxiety, on or off the course, our body goes into a fight or flight response. Physiologically our heart rate quickens, our breathing becomes more rapid and our muscles experience tension. Not good for the golf swing!
How do you calm your mind and release tension in your body? What is the fastest, most effective way to bring your body and mind into a more relaxed state?
Awareness creates change.
Once I teach you to have awareness of your breathing you can then take that information and apply it directly to your golf swing (pre-shot routine), and into your entire round of golf.
Let’s begin by using the breathing awareness exercise:
On your back, bend your knees and place your feet hip-width apart. Place your fingers lightly on your ribcage. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Inhale as you feel your ribcage rise under your fingers and exhale as you feel your ribcage fall. Repeat 10 times.
This stretch is very important to increase your breathing capacity (and range of motion in your torso). Place your left hand, left knee and right foot in alignment. Inhale deeply as you press your foot into the floor. Exhale as you press your hips forward, feeling the stretch in your hips. Bring your right arm over your head and stretch more deeply into the pose with each exhalation. Hold for ten breaths and switch sides.
Begin on your side with your knees placed at a 90 degree angle to your body. Support your head and neck with a towel. Rotate your upper body to feel your torso stretching. Hold in the full stretch for ten deep breaths and switch sides.