How can I avoid pressure when playing in competitions?
This is a question we’re often asked by students, and our answer is that you shouldn’t even try!
Pressure isn’t imagined, it’s a very real and natural response to certain conditions, it’s your body’s way of saying “Hey, pay attention, this is important!”
But pressure isn’t something that need necessarily damage your scores, quite the opposite. In fact, pressure is something that, once you know how to recognise and control it, you can use to your advantage, helping you to perform better.
Don’t try to avoid pressure, use it!
Pressure is neither good nor bad, it just is.
How you respond to pressure, both consciously and subconsciously, is what determines its effect on your scores.
Pressure can induce a fear response. This is natural, it helps to keep you alive every day, but it can damage your ability to perform, and even be paralysing. Typically, we’ll feel nervous and we’ll either rush the shot or over-think it.
But pressure can also create excitement, it can be invigorating, increasing your awareness, your ability to focus, your muscle control and speed – all key factors in performing at your very best.
How to Use Pressure to Your Advantage
Much of this comes with experience, and the more that you expose yourself to high pressure situations, the better you will become. You can do some of this in your practice by playing high-pressure games, but ultimately you need to play in a lot of competitions. There are, however, some simple techniques that will help you to turn pressure to your advantage…
or Log In…but with a little effort you’ll remember that the pressure of competition is a big part of what makes this game so much fun, and you’ll start to thrive on the big occasion, just like all the greats do!
» Think Like a Champion – Master Golf's Mental Game.