Improving Your Putting Routine
One mental game key to overcoming the yips is learning how to focus on execution and not results.
Focusing on the score, the last hole, or how others view your performance when playing causes your mind to wander and distracts you from focusing on the process of executing a shot successfully.
Physically, you don’t execute freely.
Mentally you focus on the wrong things during putting.
When your mind wanders and you’re not focused on your putting routine, you’re more likely to putt with fear and tension, which intensifies the yips.
A putting routine can help you focus on execution instead of results.
Related Article: How a Preputt Routine Can Improve Putting
This can help you reduce anxiety or fear that comes from thinking about missing a putt or feeling embarrassed for missing a short one.
A routine also helps you focus on the process instead of dwelling on the last shot or how others view your performance.
I use pre-shot routines in golf as a tool to help players eliminate doubt, focus on execution, and trust their stroke.
The following are 6 mental keys to a successful putting routine.
- Get your best read. A practice round is the best time to get to know the greens. Observing other players’ putts and chips can help you see the break better as well. Always go with your first instinct. And don’t forget to get low to the ground—you can see the undulations in the green better.
- Make a specific plan by picking a line and a target to set up to. After reading the green, use your imagination to see a line. As you squat behind your ball, see the ball rolling on your line. Did you see it drop? If yes, you have a good line, if not, you need to adjust your line. Greg Norman said, “never hit a putt until you have a good vision of the path in which it will roll.”
- See and feel the ball going into the hole. A good shot is about vision and feel. After you select a line, now is the time to imprint a powerful image of the ball rolling on its line into the hole. Some players are more kinesthetic and prefer to feel the ball into the hole. The type of image you use is not what’s important. What’s important is that you use an image that’s right for you.
- Stay line and target focused. As you move from behind the ball and walk into address the shot, perception changes and so does your commitment to the line. It’s critical that you don’t take your mind and eyes off your target. Stay fixated on your line and spot as you walk into the ball.
- Use your practice strokes to ingrain the feel for speed. This is not the time to practice mechanics, but you want to feel the distance of the putt with your practice strokes. This locks in the feel of the correct distance. I want players to match the shot they see in their mind’s eye to the practice stroke. PGA golf instructer Hank Haney, who credits his routine to helping him overcome the yips says, “I literally can’t hit the ball if I don’t go through my routine now. It clears my head, and gets me thinking about the feel of my practice swing, right through actually hitting the ball.”
- Fire Away Using a Natural Stroke. Most yip-affected players’ routines flow well until the moment of truth when it’s time to pull the trigger. Doubt, hesitation, and indecision can ruin a great routine and cause you to control the stroke, which increases tension and ruins your natural stroke. LPGA player Vickie Goetz said, “I get over a putt and let my natural talent take over. I don’t stand over it very long, I look at my target, I look at the ball and hit it.”
A pre-shot routine helps you focus your attention on key performance cues, which helps you lock your mind into execution.
If you don’t have a routine, your mind wanders aimlessly as you prepare to hit your putt, which can open the door for doubt and fear about negative results, thus increasing the yips.
If your current routine is only about the physical components of your routine such as set up and practice stroke, you need a mental routine!
To me, the most important part is programming your mind and body for a successful shot.
The mental components of your routine help you stay in the moment and focus on the process of executing each shot successfully.
Overcome The Yips and Enjoy Golf Again!
Golfers, do you suffer from:
- Anxiety, tension and over control of the stroke or swing?
- Performance anxiety about what others will think?
- Inability to wing the club freely on the course, despite the fact that you can in practice?
Check out: Breaking the Yips Cycle
Golfers: Learn how to overcome the fear that keeps you stuck in a vicious cycle
Instructors: Learn how to give your students the mental game edge.
Coaches: Help your team members play with freedom instead of fear or tension.
What are Golf Psychology Students Saying?
“I was pleased to find your website and tips to address the mental issues with the yips. Your drills made sense to me. Other people only tackled technique. That isn’t the problem with me as I can stroke them all nicely on the practice putting green. I can even hit the long ones on the course. I will keep working at it and thank you for your interest.”
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Do you spend most of your practice time trapped by stroke or mechanics on the practice green?
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You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our mental coaching students saying?
“I’ve had the yips for 30 years. With the anchor ban, I thought I needed to quit golf. It was frustrating hearing golf experts and commentators state that no amateur was going to quit golf because of the anchoring ban. Obviously, these experts don’t know anything about the yips. I’m so glad I found you. Your drills really helped. It might sound silly, but the biggest thing that helped me is knowing that the yips is mental. It might sound crazy, for someone to have the yips for 30 years, and not know it’s mental. I also believe I know my reason for having the yips, and I see how my insecurities in every day life contributed to the yips. Thank you for your help.”