The Fifth Element

5th elementThe Four Step Shot Routine gives you the best chance of performing any shot well.  The fifth element of your shot routine is your post-shot response.  This is arguably the most important as it sets the scene for what is to come.

Regardless of how well you prepare, every time you hit a shot you will get a result.  How you respond to that result can determine what happens next.

We are drawn to the things that provide us with strong emotional experiences. We are drawn less to those experiences which have lesser emotional responses.

The shots themselves don’t affect you, only your response.  Can you remember playing really well and felt as if you floated through the day?  What about when you played especially poorly and felt as though your head was in a dark mental cloud for the rest of the day?  The feelings you have are from your responses to the shots you played.

Most players I see attach stronger emotional responses to poor shots than they do good shots.  What if you flipped this and responded more strongly to the good shots than the poor shots?  I can almost hear you saying that the shots ‘make’ you respond the way you do.

You have a choice.  The poor response is usually a habitual response.  Maybe it’s a defensive response, almost like you are trying to demonstrate that you are a better golfer than the shot reflected.

Try this instead: when you hit a good shot, get excited by the result, really enjoy it.  Maybe even have a physical signal to reinforce the positive feeling; something like smiling and clenching your fist.

When you hit a poor shot, immediately dissociate any negative feelings from the shot, especially in the first five seconds or so.  In fact decide that you won’t make any response for at least five seconds.  Give yourself longer if you need to.  After that time, remind yourself what you were planning to do and how you were going to do it.

Gather any useful information, especially if you made a strategic error.  That way you will improve your strategic thinking in the future.  A huge proportion of poor shots are the result of either poor strategy or poor shot preparation.

You can control all five elements of your shot.  Make it your priority for every shot you play from now on to engrain all five steps as a natural part of your game.

Which of your golf shots do you respond the strongest to emotionally?  Good shots or poor shots?

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