What happens when things go wrong on the golf course? After a bad shot or tension causing event the golfer must mentally and emotionally step away from golf. If you are anxious and you are aware of it, you have to detach your mind from golf itself, and that is a difficult thing to do. You must put your conscious awareness back into your body.
What is important to constantly realize is that tension and anxiety wipe out the right brain connection with the body. The right brain connection to the body is what we feel, our conscious awareness of the body…feeling, impulses, states of attention, our sensation of movement. When a golfer is anxious, the resulting tension erases the mind’s connection to the body. That’s when the golfer says to himself, “I can’t feel anything. I don’t know what’s happening to me. I no longer know what I am doing.”
Some players say that, “I feel like my brain just left my body,” and in a sense it has. If tension erases the right brain’s connection to the body, the golfer has in effect lost his mind…because he is no longer aware of any feeling in the body.
A golfer must focus his attention on his tension-ridden body. This is the time to take four deep breaths. First breathe through the nose into the stomach and then exhale through the mouth. After doing this four times, scan the body to monitor tension states in the body, particularly the shoulders, the forearms, and the hands. Then the golfer can return to the “felt” sense of his swing and play fluidly once again.
Excerpt from “The Now Golfer: The Psychology of Better Golf”, by Dr. Preston Waddington and Don Lay. www.nowgolfer.com