Archived Newsletters - DO YOU HAVE A SPRING TRAINING PROGRAM FOR GOLF? :
Newsletter March 2015
Sometimes recreational golfers forget, or don't know how important it is to participate in a spring training program before returning to the golf course after a lay-off. On the first warm, sunny day golfers are in a hurry to get out and play. They invite frustration because they don't take the time to prepare themselves mentally, emotionally and physically.
Sitting in front of the fire watching golf on TV is not the best conditioning for springtime golf. If you haven't swung a club in months, your physical body is not in the same condition it was before your break from the game. It is time to strengthen the muscles that you will be using.
Stretching for Flexibility
The place to begin is by stretching out those dormant muscles. Before you hit any balls, stretch out your neck, back, arms, legs and core. This will go a long way toward preventing an injury to your body. Stretch slowly to warm up your muscles to prevent pulls and strains. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Put together a routine that you can use before and after playing.
On the Practice Range
Don't be in a hurry to hit a few balls and then rush to the course to play. Your mind and body are not in the same place they were last summer. Begin with wedge shots to access your tempo. Work up to the longer clubs hitting at 75% or less speed. Hit to different targets for feedback. Go through your pre-shot routine on each shot to prepare your mind.
The Mental Game
Without mental preparation, the first day on the golf course could turn from joyous anticipation to frustration very quickly. Winners win in advance. They know how to direct their thoughts.
To have a consistently strong mental game means you need to prepare your thoughts and strategy long before you get to the golf course. Spring is a good time to look at your strategy so it will carry a good consistent mental game through the summer. Your spring training sessions could include:
- Practice indoors. Swing a weighted club indoors to feel the action of your club and body being in sync. This will also awaken your inactive muscles. Swinging slowly in front of a mirror will give you all the feedback you need. Stay focused on the sensual feeling of your swing tempo and fluidity and your mind will not wander to thoughts of how to swing the club.
- Hit putts indoors. To build confidence before going to the golf course, spend 10-15 minutes a day putting on different surfaces in your home. To get the best feedback from your senses, putt with your eyes closed.
- Practice your pre-shot routine indoors. For consistent results, practice your pre-shot routine until it is habitual. This will eliminate thinking about how to get ready to swing on the golf course. Your routine will include visualization, an intermediate target, body alignment to the target, and deep breathing for focus.
- Release expectations. Let go of all scoring expectations for the first few times you play. Just enjoy being outdoors with friends. Realize that it will take time to regain your confidence and concentration. By letting go of expectations you will not have to deal with emotions of anxiety, frustration, embarrassment, etc.
- Breathe deeply for mental focus and body relaxation. Remember to take a deep breath before every shot for focus in the present. Instead of trying to block out a distracting thought, move your attention to your breath. This will focus your attention away from the thought.
- Warm up on practice range. Before you go out to play, hit a small amount of balls just to warm up your muscles and swing. It is not a practice session. Give each ball 100% of your attention. Picture the shot and go through your pre-shot routine so you can take your game from the range to the course.
- Feel your putting stroke. Mentally prepare yourself for scoring on course by stroking 3-4 foot putts. Do not chastise yourself if you miss putts on the practice green. It is a learning experience, not an indication of what will happen.
- Have fun. You have been waiting all winter for this day. Don't spoil it by putting pressure on your self by having unrealistic expectations. Enjoy each good shot and let go of the miss-hits. Wait for the low scores it to happen.
Play "in the zone" with Joan
Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances
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