In my last article, I discussed how to create confidence and trust before a shot by developing and using a solid pre-shot routine. The next component to solid shot preparation is an effective execution routine.
The execution routine is similar to impact in your golf swing: it’s the moment of truth! It’s the final point where your mind and body commit and trust before the shot. Having a solid pre-shot routine helps keep the execution routine simple.
In general, your mind should be quiet during the execution routine. The execution routine is meant to tap into your unconscious and automatic processes. It takes the swing you practice and build on the range and allows it to just happen.
Think about it. In all other sports, the process of executing a shot is relatively unconscious and automatic. Whether it’s LeBron James shooting a basketball, Lionel Messi kicking a soccer ball, or Peyton Manning throwing to a wide receiver in the end zone – all great athletes look at the target and react naturally. They allow all that hard work during practice to come out in competition.
This process of looking and reacting gives all athletes their best chance to succeed. It doesn’t matter whether you are on the PGA TOUR or a 12 handicapper. Your mind and body work best during performance when you just let the performance happen naturally.
The best way to create this approach for your golf game is to have zero thoughts during performance. Despite this, some golfers still insist on having a swing thought. If you must have a swing thought, I want it to be something simple and consistent. Thinking too much will break down your natural athleticism.
A solid execution routine can be something as simple as engaging the target. For instance, looking at your target, looking at the ball and swinging – is an execution routine. When doing this, focus on the smallest target that you can easily identify. If you are looking at a bunker in the distance, look at an edge of the bunker or a portion of the bunker. When you aim small, you miss small.
Another solid execution routine could be something as simple as having a trigger, or start signal in your swing. For instance, Gary Player started his swing by kicking his knee in. Jack Nicklaus tilted his head, and other golf greats have waggled.
There is no one right way to start your swing, whatever gets you loose, natural and ready over the ball is the right answer. There are many different techniques we use at The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, but what’s true for all of them is that they help golfers fully commit and react.