An offer from PGTAA member Dr. Patrick Cohn

The moment you walk on the green to look at your putt, do you become anxious about putting?

This is what happens to Jacob. He wrote me to say:

"I want to find a way to control my nerves once I get on the green. I start shaking from nerves and miss every single putt no matter the length. Do you have a remedy for this?"

This reminds me of a story when I worked with The University of Florida Men’s golf team a few years ago...

One of the players on the team said that the moment he walked onto the green, he’d start to feel anxious about putting. He wanted to pick up the ball and walk to the next tee box!

First, I have no "remedy" because there is no such thing as a quick fix for the yips...

Second, how do you control your nerves or anxiety on the greens?

First, you have to start by understanding why you feel nervous and stab or jerk at impact when putting or chipping.

The nervous feelings are often about the outcome and the aftermath. For golfers with the yips, the outcome is missing an easy putt or blading a routine chip.

But the aftermath is often the real sources of the fear. Everyone misses putts, right? The aftermath is how missing affects your game and life.

The aftermath is often about:

--Worrying about embarrassment
--Thinking how silly it would look to miss a two-foot putt
--Fear of not being accepted by others
--General worry about what others might think
--Not playing to your potential in golf

Thus, the nerves or anxiety is about more than just missing a putt...

To overcome the fear, you have to know the source of the fear. Which fear seems like it fits you? The solution is a bit individualized based on your answer.

However, here’s the bottom line... You have to play golf for the right reasons. Playing golf for approval from others or avoiding disapproval is not the right reason.

You must convince yourself that your playing partners don’t really care about how many putts you miss.

You must also stay in the moment of your preputt routine. This means thinking about what helps you execute a putt instead of focusing on not missing or looking silly if you miss!

If you need help with overcoming the fear on the greens, I have two options:

1. One-on-one personal coaching via Skype, FaceTime or phone. Return this email for more details about my programs.

2. Breaking the Yips Cycle Video and Workbook program. This is my home-study guide for overcoming the yips. Learn more about my program for putting, chipping, and full-swing yips or tension:
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It's very easy for golfers to dwell on the past and carry it into the present, especially if past rounds did not go as planned.

When golfers dwell on past performances, they tend to feel less confident. They also worry that the same mistakes will repeat themselves.

When you are focused on the past, your ability to focus in the moment becomes split between what you are doing now and what just happened.

When you don't have 100% focus in the present moment, you hurt you ability to perform at your peak.

And for many golfers, they tend to think that the past will repeat itself, which I call an over generalization...

If a golfer leaves a five-foot putt inches short of the cup, will that golfer forever miss every short-range putt?

These over generalizations in your thinking will keep you stuck in a rut.

How do you focus in the moment?

First, you need to expose these thoughts for what they truly are... falsehoods. The past has little impact over your present performance.

Secondly, you must realize every round and every hole is a new challenge. You can learn from the past, but this current round is the only one that matters.

Lastly, you need to develop the mental skill needed to let go of the past and focus your attention and energies in the present moment.

Recent Masters winner, Sergio Garcia, was able to overcome bogeys in the middle of his round, make birdies coming in, and eventually win in the playoffs.

Garcia struggled on a few holes: driving his ball behind a tree left of the 11th fairway and having an unplayable lie on hole 13.

GARCIA: "In the past I would have told my caddy, 'Why doesn't it go through the trees?'"

Now, Garcia has a more positive mindset when dealing with bad shot or unlucky bounces that are out of his control.

GARCIA: "I was like, 'Well, that's what's supposed to happen. Let it happen, make a five here and we'll have a helluva finish.'"

"Definitely this was a demonstration of my character and my mentality, how positive I stayed when things weren't going that well."

If your head is stuck dwelling in the past, you are hurting your ability to be successful on the course.

GARCIA: "It's been a long wait, but it's that much sweeter because of that wait."

Try This for Focusing in the Present

1. Focus on the bull’s eye: The bull’s eye is your current shot or hole, not the last one. Define what's the most important performance cues for each shot. What's really important to focus on?

2. Stop judging and assessing your past performance or mistakes. Quickly recognize you are thinking about the past, and refocus on the current shot or hole.

By PGTAA member Dr. Patrick Cohn
Peak Performance Sports, LLC
Mental Training for a Competitive Edge
888-742-7225 | 407-909-1700 (local)
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