8 Second Countdown
Unlike “action” sports like basketball, soccer and football, a round of golf includes lots of downtime in between shots. On the one hand, this can be a good thing—there’s more time to converse with your playing partners and take in the scenery; on the other hand, it also can be kind of dangerous, especially for people who tend to over think when they play. I like to remind my students that golf is a sport, and if they dwell on shots for too long, they can contract a condition called “over analysis paralysis,” where so many technical thoughts swirl through your head that you can barely swing the club.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people freeze up to the point where they can’t even take the putter back!
Putting, in particular, lends itself to over thinking, for the very reason that you start from a very still position. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people “freeze up” to the point where they can’t even take the putter back! Obviously, this isn’t any good, and one way to “keep things flowing” is to build a solid routine. Part of that routine is what I call the “eight-second countdown.” The countdown takes place between your last rehearsal stroke and your actual putting stroke. During your rehearsal strokes, you should develop the appropriate feel for your putt’s length and break. Once you get the feel for how long your stroke should be, start counting from eight down to one. If you haven’t stroked your putt by the time you reach “zero” then you’re standing over your putt for too long. Why? The longer you stand over the ball, the easier it is to “lose” the feeling you created during your practice strokes. It’s absolutely vital that you keep this gap between strokes narrow to retain your feel because that’s what putting is all about.
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