Dealing With First Tee Tension
Okay, you’re all set to go. You’ve hit some balls at the driving range and feel pretty good about your golf swing. Then it happens! The first tee is coming up fast. Now what? Everything is different, right? Now it all “counts”. Everything you do matters even more now because the stakes just got higher. Will you hit the ball as well as you did on the range? With all your expectations and everyone watching will you start your round the way you want? You can feel your body tensing up just a little bit and you haven’t even gotten to the tee yet!
The first tee can be a nerve wracking place for some golfers. Just looking at it can cause stress and anxiety. After all; it’s the first shot of the day and it’s the first one that really sets the tone for your round of golf, right?
I’ve seen golfers with good to very good swing mechanics at the driving range arrive at the first tee only to look like a completely different person! Where did their golf swing go, I wonder? It’s the same person with the same equipment and yet it’s NOT the same golf swing!
Why does the first tee elicit so much doubt, fear and anxiety for some golfers?
If you’ve read any of my previous articles you know everything begins within. This means the external results are impacted by your internal conditions. Here are some of the mindsets that can get you into trouble on the first tee. If you approach the first tee with these mindsets you will probably experience pressure, stress and muscle tension over the ball. The result: you may not be swinging the golf club in a way that honestly represents you talent level.
The first shot sets the tone for my entire round!
PROBLEM: your WHOLE ROUND depends on how you hit it on this one hole!
I worry about what others are thinking
PROBLEM: your focus is on “them” rather than on preparing for your tee shot
You think, “now it really counts”-
PROBLEM: this creates tension, fear and doubt over the golf ball because the “this counts” mindset takes the joy and excitement away from playing golf
Even the pros can get nervous on the first tee. Some show it and some do not but what’s going on inside and how it is being handled is what is most important. You can be more effective at the first tee by following some of these guidelines:
1. Focus on what you can control
Most first tee nerves are caused by the mind wandering off into areas it has no control over (i.e. score, results, looking good in front of others, etc.). The more your mind goes there; the more anxious you can feel. Re-focus on what you have control over.
2. Focus on Preparation
This is where the importance of your routine comes into play. If your routine is a good one, it will help you prepare properly. I have found that most clients believe their routines to be “OK” but soon discover that it’s NOT as effective as it could be. This is something we clearly outline in the Wired to Win© Program.
3. Think “Big Picture”
Your first shot is not your round. To think it is; is an illusion. Does it make sense to hit one poor shot and somehow believe that your entire round is ruined? Stop it! Sure, it’s important to get off the first tee in good shape and the pros use this as a way to set the tone for their rounds. However, they make sure they do steps #1 and #2 to increase their opportunity for success. Even if the result of your first tee shot is not as expected it doesn’t mean the round is “ruined”. This is simply not true.
4. Hit the Safe Shot to a Safe Target
If you have worries or doubts on the first tee, go for the safe play. You can still take your natural golf swing but pick a target that is in a safety zone for you. Don’t go for too much and allow yourself to “work your way into the round”. This will build confidence and trust in your golf swing.
For more information on David's successful Wired to Win© Program visit his website at www.theflowzone.net.
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