Practice Drill 1: How To Relax and Deal With Pressure

Power Breathing

PGA Tour Sport psychologist Dr. Leah Lagos trained a college team on breathing techniques for a 10 week period (this drill is from Golf Digest January 2013), requiring the players to perform two 20 min breathing sessions per day.

“This isn’t a relaxation exercise,” says Lagos, who works with PGA Tour pros as well as other top athletes. “It’s a scientific and evidence-based method for controlling your body’s braking system. It allows golfers to put a stop to their stress response and reduce distractions in their mind.”


Here’s how the drill goes:

1. Clear your mind after a bad hole with a “Power 10.” Inhale, slowly counting to four, then breathe out for six seconds. Repeat this nine times. This helps deliver oxygen to the brain to improve your focus. Counting uses the same part of the brain that we use to worry. It’s difficult to do both at the same time.
2. Whenever you feel tense, recall two of the best moments of your life. Focus on the joy you felt as you inhale, and feel as if any negative thoughts are being forced out as you exhale.*

Give this a try, the results of were surprisingly positive with the group tested. All the students that tried it improved their driving and putting.

Loosen the grip:
One of the things that happens when we feel under pressure is the grip tightens, which affects the swing. Remember the saying “light is right” when the pressure is on.


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David MacKenzie

is a golf coach and golf publisher and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind a teaching program designed to help golfers eliminate negative mental interference and play with confidence.

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