Students of mine have often heard me compare hitting a golf ball to public speaking. In particular, hitting the first tee shot of the day in front of a small crowd of people.
Do you remember being younger and having to give a two-minute speech in front of your classmates?
We’ve all done it at one point, or another. The preparation goes something like this.
Research your topic
Write your speech on a note card
Practice saying your speech in two-minutes
Give your two-minute speech in front of your family
The next day in class, you stand in front of your classmates feeling your heart beating quite a bit faster than it was the night before at home, and you give that same two-minute speech in about 45 seconds.
Why? Because you were nervous and anxious during the moment of truth.
This same thing happens on the golf course. It goes something like this.
Head to the practice range to warm up
Begin by hitting small shots to develop some rhythm and feel
Gradually begin hitting longer shots with this same rhythm and feel
Head to the first tee to begin your round
As you stand over that opening tee shot, your heart starts beating quite a bit faster than it was moments ago on the practice range.
Your swing then becomes shorter and faster because you were nervous and anxious during the moment of truth.
The moral of this story is that we all react faster on the golf course when we become nervous and anxious.
Once you recognize this, you must learn to focus on breathing deeper and slower during those moments. Eventually, you will become better at staying more calm on the first tee.
Recognizing how your body reacts when you get nervous is the first step in learning how to better handle those moments.
Whether you are speaking in front of a crowd of people or teeing off in front of a crowd of people, you simply need to learn to stay calm.
It isn’t easy, but you can do it once you recognize it.