Whether it’s first-tee jitters, the deciding shot on 18 or a round with the new boss, you might be destined for failure before you even take the club back. Anxiety can prevent you from making a full and fluid swing and can corrupt good mechanics. The key is to recognise when it’s happening so you can deal with it. Here are four steps you should try.

1. Hover It

When you sole the club on the ground, you’ll tend to push down on it. That increases the tension in your hand and arm muscles. Instead, hover the clubhead an inch or so above the turf.David Leadbetter

2. Soften Up

Stop worrying about your grip pressure. Focus on how relaxed your arms feel at address. The arms are the real culprits when the swing gets short and fast, especially on full shots. A good swing thought over the ball is, Soft arms.

David Leadbetter

3. Open Wide

This one might sound silly, but it really works. Address the ball with your mouth open and your tongue pressed against the roof of your mouth. This will dissipate a lot of tension in your neck and shoulders.

David Leadbetter

4. Exhale

To activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which induces a state of calm, you should breathe slowly and steadily over the ball. One last exhale before you take the club back will help put you in the ideal mode to perform.

David Leadbetter

– David Leadbetter is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.