Archived Newsletters - HOW DO YOU BEST LEARN THE GAME OF GOLF? :
Newsletter August 2013
There is a lot of talk on social media from mental coaches about visualization for golfers as a prime ingredient of the mental game of golf. As I explained in my archived newsletter http://bit.ly/12IJ7hE, visualization is not the same for everyone. But everybody can imagine and create images. Imagination is creative thought.
We all learn by processing information and stimuli through our five senses, which are seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling. The senses we use in golf are visual (seeing), auditory (voice, rhythm, balance), and kinesthetic (touch, feeling). Each of us has a dominant sense that we use almost all of the time. It is the sense you use to interpret information best, understand golf instruction best, and the way you access your peak performances. And there is also a sixth sense which includes having a hunch, gut or intuitive feeling. The more you use your senses, the easier and more fun the game will be.
THE SENSORY SYSTEM
World-class athletes today are made, not born. It used to be thought that heredity was the determining factor in athletic ability. Today it is considered to be more a matter of environmental and sensory system development than innate talent. The way to learn golf is through a positive learning process which has little or no limiting beliefs and attitudes. We have a choice to learn how to play golf or how to learn to avoid doing what is wrong. We are products of our environment and people develop into world-class athletes by beginning in early childhood with teachers who teach them to make sense of the world using their dominant sensory gifts.
In the last century golfers played with hickory shafts that had more feel because of the flexibility of the wood. Graphite and steel shafts have changed the golf swing from a feeling to a game of power where golfers can "grip it and rip it." This sense of touch has also changed to the senses of sight and hearing with the advent of computers, TVs, I-phones, and video games. World class golfers today are more apt to access their world in their brains in visual and auditory terms. However, we don't all perceive the world in the same fashion.
It is also important to understand that the people around you may have a different perception of the same reality. In our society, most of the communications are intended for the visual type. Knowing how you perceive the world will make your life easier.
When you are playing golf each one of your senses is as valid as the other. You do not see the wind, but you see how it causes the leaves on the trees to move and you feel it on your face. The wind is an auditory and kinesthetic image. You feel and hear it. Your sense of timing, tempo and rhythm are auditory images. Your feel your balance through your feet. You feel the golf club through your hands. These are kinesthetic images.
When you are learning a new skill in your golf swing, it is very helpful for you to know what your dominant sense is so you can learn quicker and more efficiently. I am primarily a visual thinker. I unconsciously translate words into pictures. I remember taking a lesson from a pro who is a kinesthetic thinker. When he put the club in a position behind me for me to feel the position, I had a hard time translating that. When he demonstrated the entire swing in front of me I learned more quickly. I also had a hard time with teaching pros who had a new language that I was not familiar with. Words like tilt, flying elbow, stay connected, kinetic link, and one piece swing are all common place now. When they were first used my mind tried to picture them in the swing and totally confused me. Pros who talk fast and give a lot of direction also confused my visual sense of learning.
The SyberVision videos of the 1970's are a great golf tool for visual learners. They took a perfect swing of Patty Sheehan and Al Geiberger for each club and duplicated it several times. There is no verbal instruction. The film has background music with a slow relaxing tempo. The visual images as well as the auditory images are recorded into your unconscious mind as you sit back and watch without analyzing or judging. This is a perfect example of positive learning through your senses. The visualization of Ben Hogan's glass swing plane is another wonderful example of visual learning.
I once had a client who called me for help with her "yips." She had been a very good putter when she lived up north and putted on fast Bent Grass greens. When she moved to Florida she couldn't get used to the slower Bermuda greens. She began moving her whole body to get the ball to the hole. I put a metronome with a light on it in front of her. I told her to watch the light and listen to the sound to swing her putter back and through in rhythm with the light. I wanted her to watch the light to get her mind off hitting the ball. She said it only confused her to watch the light, but she like the sound of the metronome. She began putting listening to the sound and was able to swing through with just her arms. She was an auditory-dominant learner.
Auditory people learn through sound and depend on hearing and speaking as their dominant way of learning. In order to understand something, they need to hear what is being said to decipher the information. They may have difficulty with written instructions. Auditory dominant golfers love to hear the sound of their driver. Once they have learned their golf fundamentals, they use rhythm, balance, and cadence to access their best swings. Auditory golfers produce their best swings in a feeling of tempo and timing. Listening to favorite music helps them to access their rhythm.
When I was first learning the golf swing, the most used teaching method was for the pro to hold on to your club and move it through the proper swing plane. My beginning lessons were from a pro who was tactile, liked to touch people, and talk close up in your face. He would hold on to the club and swing it while I was also holding on to it. His intention was for me to feel the swing pattern. I had a hard time feeling it and would try to visualize it in my mind to transfer it down to my muscles to feel. I would ask him if it felt like such and such. He said he couldn't tell me because every person is different. That only confused me more. I couldn't feel it and I couldn't check it out with him to find out if I was doing it right. The lesson was meaningless to me.
Kinesthetic learners must feel how something is supposed to work. Using video or being told (auditory) will be of no value to them unless they can actually swing the club. Tactile sense players must swing the clubs for themselves. They learn best by being put into a position, feeling it, recording it, and then adding the next part to feel.
Visualization is not the same as imagery. Seeing or visualizing is only one of your senses. Pre-school children are vivid visualizers or day dreamers, which is a right brain function. When they go to school they are taught using left brain functions and begin to stop using the right brain capabilities. When you don't use this part of your brain, you tend to believe that you can't visualize. However, we all visualize although it may not be as vivid as it once was.
Imagery is making a mental representation through the use of your senses. If your dominant sense is visual, you will "see a line on the green", and learn the golf swing best by seeing it performed. If you are mainly auditory you will understand instruction best by listening, and be most confident by sensing the rhythm and tempo of the swing. If you process information kinesthetically, you will learn best when you can feel the swing. If you trust your sixth sense, you will know intuitively which club to use. When you know what your dominant sense is, you can then make positive internal representations of the shots you want to produce.
Mental imagery is a therapeutic technique where descriptive language appealing to the senses is used to benefit the listener. The imagination of the listener is used through suggestions for developing confidence in certain areas of their lives. Athletes as well as golfers use positive mental imagery in hypnosis to help them achieve their goals. Through the use of hypnotic suggestion you can communicate with your subconscious mind and program new ideas in your golf game for success. These new ideas must include positive self-talk, belief in your potential and goal, and imagery of a superior performance in accomplishing your goal.
Available at www.pmi4.com/cart are CDs created with powerful mental imagery suggestions to improve different parts of your golf game.
Play "In the Zone" With Joan
Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances
PMI © 2013 - All Rights Reserved
Did you miss the previous newsletter?
Read it on the Archived Newsletters page www.pmi4.com
New newsletters are posted every month.