How big of a tip would your caddie get if his last words to you before you teed off were – “Don’t hit it in the water”? Most of you would be shocked if your caddie ever said that to you, but how many times have you said something like that to yourself? When we are faced with a difficult challenge like hitting the ball over the water, we sometimes get too focused on the consequences and not the process of executing. IMPORTANT information ahead – Your brain is going to remember the last thing that you say before you hit the ball. If that last thing is “water”, your brain will remember that and forget about the “don’t hit it in the” part.
The simplest way to avoid this negative thinking is to focus more on the target and not the trouble surrounding it. The trouble helps to define what your target is. If there is out-of-bounds close to the right side of the fairway, perhaps your target should be the left center of the fairway. Pick your target and focus on it during your pre-shot routine and when you are executing the shot.
Here is a simple plan to follow the next time you are facing a challenging shot:
Step 1. Define your target
Step 2. Visualize a successful shot
Step 3. Take a practice swing and again visualize success
Step 4. Take a deep, relaxing breath
Step 5. Hit the ball at your target with confidence
You have a choice over every shot to be positive or negative. Choose the positive path and focus more on your target and not the trouble surrounding it.