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Golf Question How Can I Stop Freezing Over The Golf Ball Before I Make My TakeawayIf you ask your golfing partners whether they have a pre-shot routine, the majority of them will not even know what one is, let alone have one!

However, if you watch the PGA Tour or LPGA tour or any golf of an elite level, for both male and female, you will see each player has their own identity as to how they approach the shot. Some are very strange with their routines, such as Keegan Bradley, who steps in and out of the walk up to the shot an annoying amount of times. Sergio Garcia used to waggle the club and stand over the ball for 30-60 seconds each time.

But these routines are worked on by the player and they believe it is a routine which helps prepare them for the shot they are about to play. Players such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, and Freddie Couples have simple, relaxed routines but if you watch them from shot to shot, you will realize that each one is identical from the last shot they played.

A pre-shot routine helps a player focus on the attention to detail needed for each shot such as distance, club selection, wind, danger and alignment. They can also think of one or a maximum of two swing thoughts they have been working on or are comfortable in thinking about.

The main cause of freezing over the ball is too many swing thoughts, or not trusting your alignment, your swing, or the shot you have selected. Freezing over the ball is subject to a negative thought process whether it is for every shot or for those where you are worried about the outcome.

A basic pre-shot routine to help you practise should consist of:

  • 2-3 practise swings - These can be full speed, practising swing thoughts or slow and relaxing.
  • Look down the target line from behind the ball to line the club to target.
  • Place the club behind the ball aligned with the point picked out which is two to three inches in front of the ball.
  • Take your grip, set your stance parallel, closed or open relative to the shot you are playing.
  • Think of your swing thoughts (note: not more than 2).
  • Execute the shot.

Use this list as a guide, add in more if you like. It may feel slow at first because it is so deliberate, but once you get familiar with the routine, you may speed it up, hit better shots and shoot better scores.

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Having plenty of swing thoughts is the main reason for freezing over the ball. These swing thoughts show a complete lack of positivity and confidence towards the shot in hand. Once you freeze, you allow negativity to enter your head with phrases such as:

  • “What about that bunker?”
  • “I hope I dont fat this again!”

These thoughts will inevitably lead to poor shots and higher scores than your capability.

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

For a player to have no thought process over a shot can be a bad thing, most players benefit from pre shot mental routine. A players swing is never complete - there are always improvements that can be made or shots that should be played depending on circumstances.

Sorry Try Again! - See Explanation Below

Playing partners are generally very friendly and can offer you an array of possibly bad advice with superb intentions but talking to them as youre about to hit a golf ball can only mean one thing… TROUBLE!

This total lack of preparation to hit a golf shot should not be followed by surprise when a bad shot is executed because you havent had any chance to think through your expectations for the shot.