By Paul Myers
We all can get nervous on the golf course – it is nothing to be ashamed of. Whether you are playing in a big tournament of just a weekend round with your friends, it is not uncommon to feel some nerves as you try to play your best. In fact, feeling that nervous energy can be addicting, and is one of the things that keeps some golfers coming back time after time. While you may think about nerves coming into play when you face a short putt or delicate chip shot, they can actually affect your full swing just as much. If you are feeling the nerves before a particular tee shot, expect that your driving distance can be negatively affected as a result.
Why Do Nerves Cost You Yards?
There is an important difference between adrenaline and nerves. When your adrenaline is flowing, you can actually increase your swing speed and potentially hit the ball farther. However, nerves can cause you to tighten up, engage opposing muscles, and swing slower as a result. A good, powerful golf swing is one that is relaxed and flowing – and that is the opposite of what you may produce when you are nervous.
It would be bad enough it the nerves only cost you a few yards off the tee, but they will likely cost you accuracy as well. Your technique tends to suffer when you tighten up before hitting a shot, and the results can be ugly. In order to play your best no matter the circumstance, it will help to learn how to manage the nerves effectively.
A Fixable Problem
You don’t have to just accept the fact that you will hit shorter drives when you get nervous. One thing you can do is get your mind off of the round or tournament as a whole, and onto the shot at hand. When you break it down into just a single shot, the task can start to feel much more manageable. Take a look down the fairway and picture a shot that you are confident in hitting landing right in the middle of the short grass. A positive mental image can be a great way to prepare for the shot.
Another way to conquer your nerves is to simply make yourself nervous more often. Enter more tournaments. Play more competitive rounds with your friends. The more you put yourself in the position to feel nervous, the better you will understand how your body responds and what you can do about it. As the experience starts to accumulate, you will feel less nervous because you have ‘been there, done that’. Soon it will become clear that you are capable of hitting good shots even when you are nervous – and that confidence will only lead to more and more good shots.
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