Golf is often touted as a relaxing game. It’s a noncontact sport and is played on sprawling fields of well-kept grass and pristine landscapes. But for aspiring professional athletes, playing golf is anything but relaxing.
Stress is hard to define because each person experiences stress in a different way. Often, people get stressed when they feel something bad is going to happen. In the case of golfers, it can be about losing or having a bad swing. To reduce those feelings of anxiety, you might want to try any of the following ways.
1. Warm Up before the Game
It is always recommended to do warm-ups before any kind of rigorous activity. Not only is warming up good for the body; it also puts you in a mental state that’s ready for the game ahead. Warming up loosens your key joints and muscles so you don’t have to worry about getting those annoying post game muscle sores. You would want to focus on stretching your back, shoulders, and wrists.
2. Practice Your Putting
Think of putting as an extension of your pregame workout. You’re still doing a little bit of stretching but this time in the form of practice swings.
In golf, sometimes the hardest shot comes when the golf ball is already near the hole. That takes a lot of focus and control, which can be hard to do when you’re already stressed out in the inside. When you get all those bad putts out, you’ll gain enough confidence to do your swings with ease.
3. Prepare Your Equipment Beforehand
One of the major causes of stress in any kind of sport is the lack of proper equipment. This has the potential of ruining the game or, worse, your concentration. To avoid dillydallying, make sure that all the necessary things are prepared beforehand.
Remember, golf is played across an expansive course. Getting around will be easy because there’s a golf cart available to whisk you around, but having to go back just to get something is a waste of time.
In order to cope with stress, you first have to learn to recognize how your body gets stressed. This requires a lot of self-awareness. In his study, Dr. Adam Nicholls observed that most professional golfers knew that something was going on, just not what was going on.
Their bodies were already stressed, but they weren’t able to acknowledge it. As a result, this lack of awareness made any kind of response inept to how they were feeling.
5. Positive Thinking
Cliché as it is, training your brain to think positively is an effective way to deal with stress. Sometimes, when people dwell so much on the negative side of things, they get stuck in a downward spiral. This will paralyze you, and you won’t be able to focus on the game.
Thinking positively allows you to redirect your energy and attention to things that you can still work, like your next swing, which could be better than the last one you made.
6. Take a Deep Breath
Never underestimate the power of deep breathing says Lewis Howes, a former professional athlete. It’s simple but highly effective. Oxygenating the body properly reduces anxiety and allows it to perform at its best.
You can incorporate breathing exercises in your regular workout routines or simply draw deep breaths mid game, when you’re feeling the nerves starting to kick in. This allows you to clear your mind and put your focus back in the tournament.
7. Interact with People
Golf isn’t just a game; it’s a community of like-minded individuals. When you come into the course, make it a point to interact with people. Meeting new players or catching up with old chums is always a sure way to make the entire experience enjoyable and stress-free.
Regardless of whether you had good or bad shots in all the nineteen holes, you can still count the day as a win because you got involved in the social scene.
Everyone gets stressed! Your goal is not to not get stressed but to learn how to manage with healthy coping mechanisms. People deal with stress in different ways, so you should find ways that work for you.