Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Where's The Switch?

I'm beginning a series of Lesson Posts, focusing on YOUR challenges and/or issues you're working through. Let me know what you want addressed.

Email me at dgingo@cox.net or send me a message at http://www.Twitter.com/@CoachDayne

The first topic comes from Paul on Twitter (@whywegolf). He's having a difficult time separating his conscious mind from his subconscious, "playing mind" on the golf course. 

Here's a piece from his latest blog post, Where's The Switch? http://www.whywegolf.wordpress.com:

"...According to everything I've read, I'm supposed to do the following as I evaluate my next shot: Check my lie, the wind, maybe even the ambient humidity, measure or estimate the distance to the target taking, into account any changes in elevation, and factor in how I've been hitting a particular shot or club. If I'm in a match, take into consideration the situation facing my opponent and/or partner. This sequence makes my mind sound like a television. I'm supposed to flick a switch, and leave the rational/analytical mode behind, and become more like the Dalai Lama... Where's the switch? How do I go from one mode to the next?"

This is a great question, and a challenge many golfers face. We tend to learn this game with our conscious minds first, learning how to incorporate our subconscious, "feel mind" later as we progress. 

On the course, Paul needs to know the information he described above, as it helps the mind put the pieces of the puzzle together. His challenge is coming from his inability to separate those detailed pieces with his need to let go and pull the trigger. While behind the ball, he needs to train his mind to "play in pictures," rather than thoughts (how he's currently approaching every shot). Take those details he described, and turn them into a detailed picture of how it will manifest. 

Taking the picture he created to address is done with Feel Triggers - specific words or a short sentence that will make his mind focus on a powerful and positive emotion. Our bodies react to emotion, so what we make it feel will be given back to us in the form of results. If, for example, we make our body feel fear, we'll take a timid, passive swing, resulting in a poor outcome. Conversely, if the last thing we allow our body to feel is confidence and power, it'll respond with a relaxed and aggressive swing, giving us a better result. Emotions are created by the words we choose to use, which is why paying attention to our specific self-talk is extremely important.

Examples of Feel Triggers: "Attack." "Trust it." "Commit and accept." "Right now." "Go." "I love these opportunities." "This is why I practice." Use your imagination, and choose whatever type of language that resonates with you. Again, the way in which you talk to yourself will evoke a specific emotion, producing an outcome that will match. Choose wisely!

After you've given your mind an opportunity to see a definite picture and use it's feel instincts, it's time to address the ball. At address, it's common for the conscious, thoughtful mind to want to become a part of the shot again. This split second can be the determining factor between a successful shot and one that goes astray. When the conscious part of your game is fighting for attention again, make sure and repeat your Feel Trigger(s) before take-back, as this will help the mind stay quiet and feel the emotion you've chosen. 

Taking the conscious mind out of the shot is difficult to do, primarily because this is how most golfers learn to play. Unfortunately, the mechanical nature of the game only reinforces this type of thinking. Change starts with the way you choose to practice. Taking the time to practice the feel and visual aspects of the game is absolutely critical for long term success on course. Make the time spent on the range 50% mechanical and 50% visual / feel. If you become discipline enough to work on your pre shot routine and Feel Triggers while hitting practice balls, you'll better connect the two on the course. 

1% will do whatever it takes to reach another, more successful level. Are you that 1%?!

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