The idea behind a Pre-Shot Routine is to help an athlete perform to their potential under stressful conditions, focus their attention and reduce the chance the golfer/athlete will focus on outcome, distractions or as I’m sure you have all experienced…negative thoughts. (I think most of us will relate, having stood over a 3-foot putt convinced you’re about to miss!).
Talking this week with several my lessons about pre-shot routines it was clear they have watched enough golf to demonstrate some of the top players Pre-Shot Process’.
For example, these were the most mentioned…I’ve researched and added the reason behind them.
Justin Rose – Practices and exaggerates his down swing a number of times in his own words this gives him the feel of ‘His arms starting down before his body unwinds’. He then walks into address the golf ball whilst lining his shaft with his intended target.
Alex Noren – The whacky and most extreme golf swing practice routine seen.
Rickie Fowler – Waggles his club over the golf ball, replicating his intended takeaway. That the shaft hits a certain position on the backswing.
Jason Day – Stands behind his golf ball. Closes his eyes and visualises the shot he is about to hit.
As you can see these are all very different and very personal to each player.
So… How can it help me?
In a game where we are all looking for consistency this is where to start. A Pre-Shot routine can build a consistent base to work from aligning all your fundamentals before we see the Green Light to hit the shot at hand.
It can help a golfer in several ways whether it be making a swing change and reinforcing the move you would like to make one more time before executing the shot or collecting your thoughts and clearing the mind to execute with commitment. How many times have you hit the turn and your playing partner has told you your score, for you to struggle the next 5 holes as you’re too busy adding up your potential scored? This is one of the many reasons a Pre-shot routine can help by focusing on the shot at hand and free your mind/body to play to your potential.
Research has shown Pre-performance routines can serve to activate your attention to improve and reach optimal performance.
‘The ability to self-regulate one’s arousal level, expectations, confidence, and attention during performance may be as important as becoming skilled in the sport.’ – Lidor and Singer
In addition, the routine may allow an individual to believe that the performance will be successful.
So…How can I develop one?
This must be built and can be very individual to YOU!
It must be practiced and turned into something that can almost be done without thought. Elite level athletes use their routines so frequently that they become automatic. These routines are then reinforced by successful performance so the more you make this automatic, the more you use it, the more success you will get from the cycle.
I suggest you consult your golf coach and get to work on this at the driving range. For this to be effective it must be relevant to your golf swing and tendencies. If you are making a swing change a pre shot routine that incorporates the move you are expecting to make can be helpful. If you would like one that settles your thoughts and gives you clarity focus on the following points…
- Club selection
- definitive target (decided clinically behind the ball)
- shot shape (what you capable of hitting)
- Address, grip and alignment
- GREEN LIGHT
- Swing Freely.
If you would like more clarity on this subject or would like to build a Pre-Shot routine feel free to get in touch at Peter Field Golf Shop where our team can advise you on the best way to improve.