Golf: Relax While You Win? 4 Steps to Getting There
By Wendy J. Hart
Why do you play golf? For pleasure, relaxation, stress relief? And yet, what's your actual experience during a round of golf? How relaxed are you, really? If you're like most golfers, it's a small and fleeting percentage at best. At worst, golf can be an exercise in frustration that gives you an ulcer. And yet, there is a simple solution. If you practice these 4 steps whenever you play, you can have a relaxing (and winning,) golf experience, again and again.
Step One: Unhinge your jaw and let your tongue relax. Go ahead, try it right now as you're reading this. In case you didn't know it, your tongue is the strongest muscle in your body after your heart. Unfortunately, we tend to walk around with tons of chronic tension in our tongues and jaws. That happens because in Western culture, a "slack jaw" connotes gross stupidity, and we're just really afraid to look stupid.
The problem is, a tight tongue and jaw will absolutely prevent you from ever having a free and easy golf swing. (And to prove what a difference a relaxed tongue makes, just think back to Michael Jordan when he used to make those famous jump shots. Remember how his whole tongue hung out when he went for the basket?) Rest assured, I'm not suggesting that you make your tongue hang out when you're playing with other people. Just do this: During your pre-shot routine, consciously think the thought "unhinge", and keep your lips together while you let your tongue and jaw go. You'll look perfectly normal, and no one will know what you're up to.
Step Two: Relax your shoulders. This is a piece of cake after your tongue and jaw have relaxed, and the benefits are obvious. Enough said.
Step Three: Take several slow, deep breaths. This has the effect of slowing down your heart rate, and it will help to keep your mind from racing.
Step Four: (And here's the real magic) Now focus on something in your immediate environment that you can see, hear or feel. Examples might be looking at a single blade of grass, listening to the birds in the trees, or feeling the sun or the breeze on your bare arms. When you engage your physical senses, and notice what is happening right in the moment, you'll snap your mind back to "present moment awareness", where all great, instinctual play happens. In addition, you'll enjoy a new sense of calm and centeredness.
If this all sounds too simple to be true, I completely understand. Just ask the skeptical part of you to please step back for a few moments, and try these steps out anyway. You'll be amazed at how good you'll feel and how much more focused you'll be.
If you consistently make these 4 steps part of your game, you'll see a dramatic improvement in your score, as well as your satisfaction. Why are some golfers watching their scores plummet, without spending any extra time on the course? Coach Wendy Hart has a winning Mental Golf Program that's guaranteed to transform your game. Ask your question at her Online Video Column, "Ask Coach Wendy". Go to MyBestGolf.com.
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