If you watched the ShopRite LPGA Classic this past weekend you watched Anna Nordqvist take home the victory but not without having to fend off Chrisel Boeljon, Morgan Pressel and Princeton grad, Kelly Shon.
The tournament had a very exciting finish and I’m sure the final group felt their nerves as the made their way toward the eighteenth green. Luckily they each had their pre-shot routines to rely on and help settle them down. You may have noticed how deliberate each player was with their pre-shot routine as they came down the stretch. They all incorporated the three most important elements of a pre-shot routine, yet each had some subtle and not so subtle differences.
Christel Boeljon had the most noticeably different routine. She of course stood behind the ball to find her target, walked to the ball to get her stance and alignment, established her posture, but once there and seemingly settled; she then raised the club up off the ground to waist high and held it a second or two. She then set it back down took one last look at her target then made her swing.
Morgan Pressel’s routine had more of a traditional pattern of getting ready for the shot. She stood behind the ball to get her target, then walked to the ball and stepped in for alignment and posture. Her final look at the target was not just one but three looks before she made her swing. Anna’s was much like Morgan’s except she took fewer steps to get to the ball, and made fewer looks to the target.
Although different in steps to the ball, looks to the target and the unusual lifting of the club to waist high, they each had unwavering consistency in their routines. And, they did it each and every time for each and every shot no matter the club.
This is something you can do as well. It helps prepare you for a good swing and best effort. It also helps you get focused and allows for the time you need to get into a good balanced posture before you pull the trigger. Here’s a simple routine that you can do before each and every shot. I call it T.A.P.S
Target, Alignment, Posture…Swing!
Target – stand behind the ball and while looking at your target, create an imaginary line that runs from your target through the ball. Select a spot on the ground within two feet of the ball that is on your target line. This becomes your intermediate target.
Alignment– walk up to the ball and place your feet in good alignment with your target line based on the type of shot you are intending to make.
Posture – Get into a good athletic and balanced posture and take one last look at your target.
Swing – Take a nice deep breath and give it a swing!
This is the basic framework for your routine. Keep in mind this routine is all yours so feel free to make it your own. If you want to waggle the club, then give it a waggle. If you want to look a couple of times to the target go right ahead. When you decide you like your routine, then incorporate it into each and every shot you make. Be sure to do it when you are hitting balls at the range. You want to do it in practice so you start to groove the feeling of the whole routine and swing as one. This will set you up for a better delivery of the club to the ball which in turn will produce more consistent shot making. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how it helps calm the nerves and gives you a very solid, reliable and repeatable element to your swing.