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Beware the Dreaded "Decel"
by Tony Margala

There is no more humiliating experience in golf than falling prey to the dreaded decel, pronounced DEE-sell, which is short for deceleration. The decel is the inadvertent easing, backing off or slowing down of your club during the downswing. It is caused by uncertainty, indecision and lack of confidence in your initial shot plan. Fear is also a contributor. Any number of split-second negative thoughts creates a mental and physical paralysis in your downswing, and you are left with a poor attempt and a ruined shot, plus a feeling of embarrassing inadequacy.

When the decel takes over, pitch shots land in the bunker in front of your target, the chip shot staggers only a few yards and dies halfway to the cup, and the putt is weak and usually off-line. No amount of pleading, praying or wishing will shake the paralysis that is at the heart of the decel. To beat it, you have to visualize the entire shot beforehand, go through it mentally before making the swing, be convinced of the yardage and club selection, then hit the shot firmly. Whatever you do, make sure you finish the swing without decelerating. If you make up your mind you're doing the right thing, you will move that club through the impact zone at the same pace as the rest of the swing.

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