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Improve your game from your inbox – Focus like a sniper

Improve your game from your inbox – Focus like a sniper

Coen Welsh on the Psychology of Golf: – Jason Dufner won the Memorial after a memorable tournament. He led by 5, he trailed by 4 and won by 3. With all the ups and downs in that tournament he had to keep focussed to win.

This week’s tip is right up my alley as we have been using this technique to allow participants in our leadership training course to focus on their jobs. Fast Company posted this article on a simple breathing technique to allow you to focus: See

According to, Jason Dufner started using a breathing exercise to help him focus after a friend sent him research done with snipers in the military. The movie American Sniper shows all the stress a sniper has to deal with and in the moment of execution they have to be absolutely focussed.

This breathing technique helps the sniper to calm down before pulling the trigger. The same focus is needed in and around the green. “I’m just focused on my breathing,” he [Dufner] said. “That’s a conscious thought for me and then I let the putt and the motion of the stroke be subconscious and natural. I read the putt, get a feel for the line, and as soon as I’m over the ball, all I’m thinking about is my breathing and not trying to make putts or anything.” (From

Our tip this week deals with how to help you breathe.

Tip of the week – Breath in, breathe out

This tip is probably one of the simplest tips I will ever share. When we breathe we don’t think about it. It’s natural. It’s not something you have to think about doing or even pay attention to. To make this strategy work, you simply have to take breathing from the subconscious to the conscious. In other words pay attention to your breathing. It’s really that simple.

1.) When you are ready to putt, simply take a few breaths. Breathe in, feel the cool air going into your nostrils. Feel your belly expanding with the air. Yes, the belly not the chest. When we are stressed we breathe with our chest, when we are relaxed the diaphragm expands into the belly and that is what you want to be: Relaxed)

2.) Exhale the warm air through your nose or mouth. Some experts prefer that you blow out the air through your mouth. I’m indifferent. The idea is to again to feel the warm air going out of your body.

3.) Try not to focus your thoughts on anything else. If a thought pops into your head, acknowledge the thought (to yourself) and then return your attention to your breathing.

4.) Repeat.

Do this a few times, maybe three deep breaths and then putt. Apart from being an excellent technique on the golf course you can try this in any situation at work or at home. Start with 30 seconds of breathing and thinking about breathing and then try to increase the amount of time you spend doing this exercise. See if you can stretch your attention up to 2 or 5 minutes at a time.

Quote of the week

“Yesterday was not my best day,” Dufner said of his 77. “But I had to get over it quick. It’s a 72-hole tournament, there’s a lot of things that can happen out there. I knew I was still in the mix.” – Jason Dufner

For more tips visit

Coen Welsh, a qualified industrial psychologist, is an expert on the Antecedents and underlying Psychological Conditions predicting Employee Engagement.He has worked in diverse teams in the UK, Egypt and Namibia. Coen regularly gets invited to speak at HR and other conferences. He is a regular contributor to NBC National Radio as well as Tupopyeni and Off-the-Hook on NBC Television. He is a founding member of the Professional Speakers Association of Namibia. You can visit him at

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