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Tips to Calm Your Nerves

Every golfer has a shot that they rather not hit. The first tee shot of the day, bunker shots or shots over water or other hazards can be nerve-wrecking.

But how can you overcome those shots or fear?

The first thing to do is to practice. The more you practice, the better you can handle those shots. But even if you practice enough, you can still get nervous about hitting the shots you don't like.

To calm your nerves, you can do 2 things.

1. Focus on Your Target

If you get nervous trying to hit the shot over water, you must be thinking about the water more than other players.

When I stand over the shot, I see the water but don't really think about it any further.

But those players who hate the shots over water start to think about the water. They are thinking they don't want to put it in the lake.

In other words, they are focusing on the water. We tend to hit the ball toward the point that we are focusing. That's why they often hit it in the lake.

So instead of focusing on the spot that we want to avoid, focus your mind to the target.

Of course, it's important to know where the hazard is. But with that information in mind, you are going to have to pick the specific target.

So next time you stand over the shots you don't like, ask yourself “Where is my target?"

You will notice that you can calm your nervous much easier that way.

2. Why You do well When Hitting a Provisional Ball

Most players do well when hitting a provisional ball or a second ball after hitting it OB.

But why?

That's because they gave up trying to avoid whatever they were trying to avoid.

When you think about avoiding OB, you are creating the image about hitting it OB even if you are trying to do the opposite.

For example, if you say to yourself

- I shouldn't eat ice cream (because I'm on the diet)
- I like to eat ice cream

No matter which one you are thinking, you are creating the image of ice cream in your brain.

That's why thinking about avoiding OB is the same thing as forming the mental picture of hitting it OB.

So you hit it OB. You are going to have to hit another ball. But you failed to avoid OB on the first try. So when hitting your second shot, you give up trying because you failed on the previous shot.

But you are likely to hit the nice shot as a result because you were not thinking too much about avoiding OB or any other hazards.

So when you get nervous about hitting the shots you don't like, say to yourself "This is the provisional ball."

I think you will do much better.

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