How Annika Sorenstam influenced Alexa Pano’s pre-shot routine

Alexa Pano's pre-shot routine was influenced by LPGA legend Annika Sorenstam.

Alexa Pano's pre-shot routine was influenced by LPGA legend Annika Sorenstam.

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If you’re looking for a way to add consistency to your game, developing an ingrained pre-shot routine is a good place to start. And for 19-year-old rising LPGA star Alexa Pano, it was a memorable clinic with LPGA legend Annika Sorenstam that solidified Pano’s desire to make a consistent pre-shot routine a part of every single shot.

“I became really repetitive with my pre-shot routine after hearing Annika talk about hers, and her ‘Think Box/Play Box sort of thing,” Pano said on the range at the recent Ford Championship.

(The Think Box/Play Box is a concept developed by Top 100 Teachers Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, who worked with Sorenstam. The ‘Think Box’ refers to an area behind your ball where you analyze the factors that will affect your shot, like wind, yardage, etc. Once you’ve settled on a club and target, you move into the ‘Play Box,’ and your address position, which is meant for action only — no more thinking!)

“I did a clinic with her one time and we were discussing our triggers to get into the Play Box,” Pano continued. “And so ever since then, I’ve been kind of doing the same thing over and over again. When I kind of touch the ground with my driver after that, I know like that’s when we’re in the Play Box, and I’m focused and getting a really repetitive routine makes me more confident off the tee.”

Pano said her pre-shot routine involves an initial line up, two practice swings, and then it’s into the Play Box.

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“I line up with my club, and then as I’m walking into it, I touch the ground with the club, and then kind of lean into it and then step into my shot,” she said. “Touching the ground with the club is kind of like a trigger for me to get really focused over it rather than thinking about everything else.”

Triggers can be personal, and vary by player. Some might like to waggle instead.

“I didn’t even start doing it intentionally, but it became intentional after I’d been doing it for a long time,” Pano said. “I’ve been to a lot of [Sorenstam’s] clinics just through junior golf and stuff, and hearing her talk about how important that was for her, if something’s important to Annika, it should probably be important to you.”

Pano estimates that she’s spent about five years incorporating the same pre-shot routine, which has paid dividends.

“I used to struggle with my drive a bit,” Pano said, “and this routine has made me very confident over every drive that I get over.” Editor

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