Do you get really nervous before teeing off? I know I do. It takes a few holes for me to get warmed up and feel more confident with my swing. Here are a few things you can focus on to help you calm your nerves and get rid of that pit in your stomach.
- Slow down
We tend to get anxious on the first tee. When anxiety hits we get fast. We want to get this over with as soon as possible! I like to take plenty of club and think a 60% swing. You will probably have a certain amount of adrenaline that kicks that 60% up to 80%. Find a number that works for you. Take deep breaths before taking your swing.
- Don’t Pressure Yourself
This shot is of no more importance than the remaining ones. If you start thinking that “you need to get off to a good start” you are putting pressure on yourself that you would not typically do if it were say the 4th hole. Don’t worry if you don’t hit the perfect drive right off the bat. Like I said, it’s only 1 hole out of 18. You have plenty of time to get warmed up.
- Change your Thinking — Be in the Moment!
Instead of focusing on hitting the perfect shots, try to be in the present moment and enjoy the time you get to spend on the course. You are not in the office, you are not doing chores, you are playing golf. Show some gratitude for what you GET to do vs putting the pressure on yourself to NEED to do a certain thing. I NEED to play well, I NEED to start off clean, I NEED to impress everyone that is watching. No you don’t.
- Accept your Surroundings
Accept the nerves that you are feeling. I find that trying to suppress or block out emotions only strengthens the emotion. Try dialogue like this: Wow, I am nervous. All those people are watching this drive. Well what does it matter anyway, I doubt they really care how good or bad I am. In fact, I am imagining them watching me, they probably aren’t really paying attention. I am really happy to be out playing. In other words — let your worries and anxious thoughts go. Focus on you and your swing. Let everything else fade into the background.
- Have a Go-to Shot
Work on a go-to shot. When the nerves are really high you can rest assure that you have a go-to shot in the bag. I have this ¾ driver swing that I hold off a controlled fade that carries maybe 240 but it is very repeatable.