Reflections on a “pre-shot routine”

Traditional golf instruction often tells us that we must have a “pre-shot routine” with a consistent series of physical movements in preparation for an effective and reliable golf swing. The intended purpose is to have a physical routine to minimize mental interference in performing the mechanics of our golf swing.

Professional golfers have had hundreds of hours to establish a reliable pre-shot routine. My experience and opinion is that trying to establish a pre-shot routine for the average golfer can invite more mental interference as a result of trying to remember the routine and trying to do it correctly each time – resulting in bodily tension. It often promotes “bodily paralysis by mental analysis.”

What if we allowed a pre-shot routine to evolve naturally out of a subtle awareness of our bodily senses and our physical movements? The only purpose of any pre-shot routine should be to activate our instincts and awaken the intelligence of our body. Our body, not our mind, swings the golf club! You can awaken and deepen this kinesthetic sensory awareness of bodily movement through the ‘keep it simple golf’ instinct-awakening golf exercises found in Awaken Your Inner Golfer. This sensory awareness will help quiet your mind, engage your body, and allow a simple pre-shot routine and an instinctive golf swing to naturally develop.

World-class golf coaches Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott state in their book Be A Player, “….the ability to move into a sensory state allows us to tap into the river of intelligent energy that flows through our bodies….Once we access our sensory-motor abilities more deeply, extremely advanced skills can emerge.”

My suggestion for an effective pre-shot routine is to allow your routine to develop   through awareness of your bodily senses, and to allow the routine to change and evolve as your awareness deepens. Quiet your mind and “be in your body” to allow the nerves, tissues, and muscles in your body to relax and perform their natural function. Being in your body with awareness will lead to a free and flexible pre-shot routine and a simple golf swing as a precursor to “playing in the zone.”

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Leonardo da Vinci

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