The misconception is, a pre-shot routine is just a set of movements performed prior to playing every shot.  The reality is, its so much more.  A pre-shot routine is a mindful process of directing your focus to the shot at hand.

Once your routine starts, your movements are a result of your focus.  You’re taking practice swings because you’re focused on feeling the shot.  You’re behind the ball looking down your target line because you’re visualizing the shot.  While you’re addressing the ball you take a couple looks at your target because you’re only thinking of where you’re going to hit it.

The real art of a pre-shot routine is being conscious of the process.  The above are just examples but each element of your routine should be mindfully executed.  Getting lackluster with your routine will produce lackluster results.

4 Responses

  1. The aim of a pre-shot routine is to get into the desired STATE for shot execution eaxh and every time. The strategy used to do this successfully will involve visualisation, self talk and a felling of calm confidence/focus. Everyone’s strategy will be different however the order in which these elements occur are important to the individual in realising the desired state.

    The speed of the process is also important to ensure focus maintains on what we want to happen.

    The strategy also needs a trigger to start the process, hence the red dot for Louis!

  2. Well said. Your point about the speed is interesting. If someone takes to long to play their shot their focus may dwindle, however if they go to quick their mind won’t be settled and focused. The player needs to find an optimal rhythm for their pre-shot routine.

  3. The NYT had a tip in the past month about using a pre-shot routine to get rid of first tee jitters. It’s tough to do if you are coming to the course without a routine. However, just doing the routine clears the mind so that you are focused on the shot and what you’re doing–the distractions just kind of go away. Rotella talks a lot about this routine allowing players to ignore the importance of shots, so you don’t let your head get in the way of your golf game. And finally Nicklaus said that if you have a long routine, you just have to start it mentally while other players are executing their shots so you don’t hold up play.

  4. Good point. Our thoughts can only focus on one thing. If we have a solid pre-shot routine that focuses us in on the shot at hand…no other thoughts can occupy our mind.

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