Tuesday, December 4, 2007

How Do I Handle First Tee Nerves?

When I play in a big tournament, I get very nervous. I mean very nervous. The last tournament I played in I could feel my heart beating so fast that I thought other people could see it beating through my shirt! What can I do to control these first tee nerves?

Thank you for the question and I guess the good news is that you are not alone! Even Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have talked at length about how they welcome being nervous on the first tee. Let's talk about two different ways to help you and everyone else with this.

  1. Monitor your breathing - Whether you are warming up on the range prior to your round or you are around the first tee, you need to monitor your breathing. Take a couple of steps away from everyone else and exhale through your nose as much as you can. Then hold your breath and feel your body relax. Begin to breathe through your nose, very slowly and follow your breath as it enters and goes through your body. Now exhale and follow that breath as it leaves your entire body. Repeat for as many breathes as needed.
  2. Jump around - This is a great tip that was given to me by Kenny Armstrong, the diving coach of olympic gold medalist, Laura Wilkinson. When you feel your heart racing find a spot that you can jump up and down until you are tired. You body will automatically react by slowing your heart rate.

In addition, read our article How to prepare for a golf tournament. As usual let us know how these tips help you.

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