Choking In Golf -Taking The Gas!

"I guess I must have choked"Gfcl0110

Bert Yancey after his final round in the 1968 U.S Open

You may not know the expression choking in golf but if you've been playing golf for any amount of time you know about tension.

Choking in golf is a physical response to the mental state you are in as you compete in your golf game.

So what mental states cause's this tension and how does this mind-body connection work?

Tip: It is the opposite of peak state

1. Prevention

Choking can originate from negative thinking (self-talk) and fear. In order to counter these, you need to control your thoughts. You need to become aware of your thinking and counter all the negative thoughts with positive ones. This process is not easy and is like a battle in your mind. Those negative thoughts can keep appearing, so keep battling them by replacing the thought with a positive image.

* Many players develop a habit of encouraging themselves in order to keep negative thoughts from appearing in the first place.

* One more way to prevent tension before the match: warm up well.

When your muscles are warmed up to the point at which you are sweating, they will be elastic and unlikely to become tense even if your mind keeps signaling the fight or flight response to them.

2. How To Deal With Choking

Every golfer who has played competitively has experienced choking and, once this tension starts affecting your body, you can't do much by dealing with your thoughts the way you did in point #1 above.

To be more effective in these situations work with your body.

Your body is in a state of tension and your goal is to release this tension and become more relaxed.

You can learn to relax in the most natural way . Just shake your arms and legs and try to loosen them up. Another way to relax is to contract your muscles as hard as you can for a few seconds, and then let go.

Take deep breaths as choking also affects your breathing, which tends to become shallow.

You can also adjust your strategy!

When choking you need to play safe golf, aim to safe targets away from the pins. Play high percentage golf until your body become's more relaxed and your movements more fluid.

3. Acceptance

The only thing you can control in golf is yourself and the only way to control yourself is to stay in the present moment. The best approach to competing at any level is to give 100 percent effort and then accept the outcome.

Trying to imagine outcomes or getting ahead of yourself will cause you to choke e.g thinking about your acceptance speech is getting way to far ahead of yourself.

Remember the rest of the field are not your competitors, you are the only person you have to beat and the rest is about accepting the results.

The only time to be dissapointed in golf is not giving 100 percent effort.