How to Stay Focused Under Pressure

LPGA player Cristie Kerr shares her tips for keeping her head in the game.

In celebration of the upcoming Women’s British Open, which will be hosted at Trump Turnberry Resort in Scotland, we sat down with Cristie Kerr—the number one female golfer in the world since she went pro at 18 years old—to find out how she stays focused under pressure. Cristie Kerr

1. Get help from a pro

I work with a mental coach. He’s a zen Buddhist named Dr. Joseph Parent, and he wrote a book called Zen Golf. He helps me find my most peaceful self, and taught me to stay present and focus on the process of playing the game instead of the potential end result.

2. Build a routine

My job involves a lot of travel. To stay focused even as my surroundings are constantly changing, I follow a pre-competition routine. I arrive to the course two hours early to get used to it. I stretch and do physical therapy, putt, hit some golf balls and then hit a few more putts. It helps me focus and keeps things familiar when I’m going to a different place every week.

3. Settle in on the road

Another trick for staying grounded when I’m on the road is to settle into my space as much as possible. I unpack and organize my things in my hotel, so I feel like I’m there there and present, as opposed to living out of my suitcase. When I can, I try to rent a house to have a washer/dryer and a kitchen—I love to cook, and it helps me release stress.

4. Stay in the moment

Focus on what you’re doing in the present, rather than being preoccupied with the possible outcomes. Rather than think about winning or losing, I think about the process of the game. I occupy my mind with positivity. It’s easy to get caught up in winning or making money, but it’s so important to stop and smell the roses. You’ll enjoy your work more, and you’ll be more effective.