7. Post-Shot routine

Did you ever see a golfer throw his club through the air just after a bad golf stroke? Or did you ever see a person that did an ok golf shot and then complained anyway? Maybe you saw a person who complained over the game during several holes. Alternatively, you may have heard persons bad mouthing themselves.

Did any of the above help the persons game or did any of the above give the person a better day?

It is not the bad shot; it is the reaction. It would be much better for the person’s golf game to stay in the Good State of Mind,GDS after the shot even if it is a bad shot. The likelihood of making a good shot when you get to the ball again is far greater when you get back into the Good State of mind as soon as possible after the bad shot. Question is: “Do you want to have a good day at the golf course, or do you want to give up and let go of the negative emotions that kill your game and good mood?”

Furthermore, who did ever play a perfect round. There will always be bad stokes on a round. The trick is how to deal with the bad strokes.

Here is how you can stay in the game throughout the game.

7.1. Post-Shot routine after a bad stroke

What to do with your mental state when having a bad shot?

First of all, remember: This is not the end of the world. It is not the end at all. It is the start. You are learning, you are collecting data and you are getting better.

Most importantly: If you cannot handle a bad shot then you will be anxious when actually doing the shot from the start because you know beforehand that you will not be able to handle the shot if it is bad. This by itself gets you into anxiety and a bad state of mind which will make you anxious when you stand over the ball and destroy your game making you do a bad shot.

Does it sound like a circle?

Therefore, make sure to handle the bad shot in a good way. Not that it isn’t bad. It will not go away but you can focus on something else and make sure you are in Good State, GDS for the next shot. Strong focus on a specific point will make everything around the focus point blurred. Try it! Look at a specific spot intensely and notice that everything around it goes out of focus. Just like the bad stroke. It is still there but you do not honour it by giving it attention.

In other words, first step is to have your mind occupied with the right focus and the right thoughts. Use the stroke in a constructive way and gain from the knowledge you just got. What did you do wrong? How can you improve? You may do a practice swing and feel the right movement. Store it in your memory and use it in the future. You used this opportunity to learn and build up your database with knowledge about you game.

Your anxiety will go away if you fully believe that there is no such thing as a bad stroke, just feedback that you can use to improve your game. This is what we call NLP beliefs. You will find more details in the chapter “Self-talk and NLP beliefs”

Second: Get back into to you Good State, GDS. The below Exercise 8.2. shows you how the Swish technique is done. You can use it when you had a bad experience, and you want to clear you mind and get back into the Good State.

Exercise 3: The Swish NLP technique

  • Identify what you want to get rid of. An experience that you do not want to have in your imagination.
  • Identify what you want to replace it with. A good experience that you decide to have in your imagination. Use your Good State, GDS that you already established. You can also make a new Good State if it works better in this situation. Just make sure it is a strong Good State of mind.
  • Now take the first experience that you want to get out your imagination.
    1. Identify it but make sure it stays weak, hazy and in black and white.
    2. Put a frame around it.
    3. Put it on a glass background.
    4. Make it black and white.
    5. Turn down the sounds if there are any.
    6. Turn down the light.
    7. Turn down your feelings about it if you have any.
    8. Make it blurred.
    9. Put something funny into the picture that makes you laugh. It could be a red nose on someone, strange sound, a ridiculous movement, a funny hat or whatever makes you laugh. (Laughing is important, see the chapter about laughing)
    10. Throw a stone through it and see the glass splinters drift away in the horizon until you cannot see them anymore.
  • Now take the image of the good experience.
    1. Make the image big and make sure it fills your entire vision.
    2. Turn up the colours.
    3. Turn up the sounds.
    4. Turn up your feelings. Remember to fire your five GDS anchors from exercise 6.2.
    5. Make it as vivid as possible.
    6. Now double the vividness of the whole thing including your anchors.
  • Switch between the two images. Do point 3 and 4 in the exercise five times.

Thanks to Richard Bandler one of the founders of NLP who created the first Swish NLP technique. Here is his homepage. www.richardbandler.com

In short: the Post-Shot routine for bad shots looks like this:

  • Observe & learn
  • Store your learnings. Maybe by take a good practice swing and feel the motions of the good swing to be.
  • Get back into your good state. Fire the anchors for the Good State.

7.2. Post-Shot routine after a good stroke

You just hit the ball well and it is approaching the target you chose. Nice……… It looks nice. It feels right and you feel good.

Enjoy, indulge, make a total immersion, fire your Good State anchors. You might even find new anchors you can use in the future. This is the moment where you charge and boost your Good State and make it even stronger. Go for it.

Building up your Good State is essential because in golf we know for sure that we are going to need it at some point in the future. Make sure it becomes as strong as possible and as accessible as possible.

Fire your anchors as much as possible. I would personally fire a strong and very visible fist pump a laud yes, smile with my eyes and my mouth and lift my right knee a bit. That is five anchors for my personal Good State, GDS. When I fire my anchors when feeling great due to the good golf shot, it enhances Good State. This is good because when playing, I can almost be sure that I will need a strong Good State later in the game.

You make your Good State accessible by being aware of you anchors. For that purpose, it is important to explore the anchors. See if you can find new anchors and see if you can find new features in the anchors you already have. Furthermore, strengthen the anchors whenever you have the chance.

Now, golf shots come in many shapes and not all good golf shots are good enough for a celebration like the above. Then celebrate the golf shot appropriately. Personally, I celebrate all me good golf shots with a fist pump and a yes. This can be very subtle or very delicate and nobody will see it. The celebration can also be very loud depending on how good the golf shot is. The most important thing is that I build up the Good State whenever I have the chance.

I do this for a couple of reasons. First, I am going to use the Good State at my next Pre-shot routine, and I want the Good State to be strong and vivid because I want a good golf shot.

Second, I do not want to get too far away from my good state. I need my Good State to be easy to access and therefore the distance between Good State and Bad State to be as small as possible. If I get into a Bad State of mind this could mean that I lose my motivation. Our level of tension must be optimal when playing golf and I do not want it to be too low. That would make me slopy when playing golf and that is the last thing I want. I will not let my mind drift in the wrong direction that would hurt my game.

In short: the Post-Shot routine for good shots looks like this:

  • Enjoy the moment.
  • Anchor your good experience & Good State and strengthen it.
  • Learn, what did you just do right?

Now you just did a good golf shot and entered your Good State which also made you enhance your Good State. Well done. You can now enter the “Between-Shots” state and go on to your next shot.