How to Avoid First Tee Nerves: Learn to Control Your Breathing

Nerves or jitters on the first tee are perfectly normal – almost every golfer deals with them. Whether you are playing in a big tournament or just out for a casual round with your friends, it is normal to be a little bit nervous when getting ready to hit the first shot. Don’t let those nerves stop you from playing well – instead, use them to increase your focus and you just might find that you play the best golf of your life.

The tips below are a few ways you can try to combat the first tee nerves using your breathing –

  • Slow it down. The first thing to try and do with your breathing on the first tee is to simply slow it down. Breathing fast can have the unwanted side effect of speeding everything else up – including your golf swing. Moving quickly is rarely a good thing in golf, so make sure you are controlling your breathing and not letting it get too quick before you step up and hit your shot. Take breaths that are deep so you can fill your lungs with fresh air, and then expel it back out again. Good breathing helps your mind to function at its best, which is key for playing good golf.

  • Don’t rush. If you feel like you are out of breath while you are getting ready to hit your shot, take a second to compose yourself and get under control before stepping up to hit. When you feel that you have hurried up to the ball, a hurried swing will likely be the result – and that is never a good thing. Take an extra second or two to regain control of your breathing and focus in on the target for your shot. Once you are under control again, step up and make a good swing.

  • One final deep breath. As a way of preparing for the shot itself, take one last deep breath while you are standing behind the ball before you take your stance and make a swing. This breath is good for a couple things – it can fill your lungs with fresh air, and also give you a cue to walk up and take your stance. If you can make this breath part of your pre-shot routine, it will give you a sense of comfort and familiarity before each swing throughout the day.