Archived Newsletters - Mental Rehearsal:
Newsletter January, 2002
Vol. III, Edition 1
The key to success in all athletics is to practice, practice, practice! You have heard the statement many times that "practice makes perfect". What is missing in that statement is that only PERFECT PRACTICE makes perfect. With the Winter Olympics coming up in a couple of weeks, we will watch athletes in many different sports showing their excellence, and perhaps even perfection. How do they accomplish this perfection under the stressful situation where the eyes of the world are watching them?
They take control of their minds by programming what they want to experience. They practice physically and mentally over and over and over again. Gymnast Mary Lou Retton used mental rehearsal to perform a perfect 10 on the pommel horse in the l984 Olympics. She "saw" herself performing flawlessly in her mind over and over and over again. Mary Lou has been the only gymnast to score a perfect 10 in this event, and she not only did it once, she did it twice! No one has accomplished that feat since. In her visualization she used a single trigger word to activate her complex movement. That trigger was the word "stick". This word triggered her unconscious mind to know what routine was necessary to achieve perfection. To "stick" a performance meant to do it perfectly and to "stick" her feet to the mat so there wouldn't be any deductions. In her mental practice, she told herself "stick" each time she watched herself performing perfectly. over and over and over again. At the Olympics she was on automatic pilot when she activated her "stick" trigger and was off and running down the runway to a perfect 10.
Every time you have a thought, it is like trying to clear a path through a forest. The first time there is resistance like chopping down the undergrowth. The second time you travel the same path, it is easier because of the clearing you did the first time. Each time you travel the same path, the path becomes wider and smoother. It is the same in your brain. The more you repeat the same thought patterns, the less resistance there is to them and the faster and more efficient your thinking will become.
In addition to practice on the range, you can practice and mentally rehearse playing golf in your mind. The only place you can practice perfectly is in your mind. When you see yourself swinging the club smoothly, easily and effortlessly (in your unconscious mind), there is no need for the inner critic (your conscious mind) that judges your actions, your reactions, and you. Mentally rehearsing at an inner mind-level gives you that added edge, the winning edge. As you center your thoughts on what you want, you automatically center your actions.
All thought originates in the mind. Whatever you do, keep your mind focused on the positive. Hold positive thoughts and images, and believe them. Do not focus on getting rid of a problem, but on creating the positive elements that will give you the results you want. Forget the negative. Don't even acknowledge its existence. It doesn't exist in the present. Only give your attention to what you want in your golf game. And that of course, is only the positive.
The best time to practice your golf game perfectly is at night when you are drifting off to sleep, or in the morning when you are just coming out of the sleep state. Or during the day, find a place where you can be alone and quiet. Spend 10-15 minutes a few times a week, sitting undistracted, relaxing by breathing deeply, and practice this same way. Mentally rehearse your swing and what you want to happen during your upcoming round. Scientists have found that visualizing while in this Alpha State can improve your swing because your mind is actually programming your muscles. When the golf season begins, you will find that your mind is clearer, your visualizations are sharper and your concentration and focus is easier.
Jack Nicklaus described his visualization in his mental movie this way; "I never hit a shot, even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head. It's like a color movie. First I 'see' the ball where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes, and I 'see' the ball going there: its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing. Then there's a sort of fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality. Only at the end of this short, private Hollywood spectacular do I select a club and step up to the ball."
We do not directly react to the world around us. We first create a map, which is our perception of our world. Did you ever notice that your siblings' perception of the home you were raised in is different from yours? Change your "map", (your perception), and you change your reaction.
The map in your mind is composed of pictures, sounds and feelings. Every human being uses one or more of these modes of sensing to create his world. You can make your golf game and your world anything you want it to be, easily and quickly. Create a new map for yourself by "modeling" the golfer you would like to be.
Decide on a golfer whose game you really admire, and who has the attributes you desire for your golf game. For your mental rehearsal, take a few deep breaths to relax and let go of your conscious, thinking mind. Imagine that golfer whose game you would like to have, playing at their best. Make up a movie of that golfer in your mind's eye and run the movie several times, zooming in on all the details. Imagine that golfer performing at his peak performance. Then put yourself into that golfer's body and watch the movie several more times using your senses of feeling, seeing and hearing to observe the action. Play the movie over and over and over again, each time making the images sharper, the sounds clearer and the good feelings stronger. See and hear voices congratulating and cheering you on.
For further enhancement of your golf game, order the PMI tape/CD "Self-Hypnosis for Peak Golf Performance" at www.pmi4.com. Listening to this tape repeatedly will teach the technique of mental rehearsal and program your golf game for success.
Golf is a world unto itself.
You are what you think you are. You become what you see yourself becoming. Imagine that it has already happened.
"I am no longer bothered by distractions after listening to your "Concentration for Consistent Golf" tape. I am now able to maintain my focus and concentration during my game." Peter Murray
Your workshop has improved my golf and my life. My friends have noticed a change in my golf game and golf has become fun rather than " working at playing". Barbara Steele