11 biological systems
Having found that improving my golf game was a lengthy process of ups and downs, I began to get very interested in how our bodies learn to play.
I became convinced that intellectual learning wasn't enough. I knew from practise, that normal swing keys and feels didn't provide the consistent results I was looking for, and that the other faculties we have are also responsible for learning and improving.
I knew first hand, that when I got deep into the technical aspect of how my action worked, there was a drop off in striking ability.
Humans have 11 biological systems running at once. These biological systems work in harmony with each other, to maintain our health and our ability to function.
For instance, the body is constantly replacing cells while our the immune system is warding off germs. While that’s all happening we might be taking a shower and singing a song… etc etc
...or playing golf.
Along with this there are our thinking controls
Humans have 11 biological systems running at once
Our thinking controls are both voluntary and involuntary and govern everything from muscular co-ordination to reactions. Identifying and trying to understand which system is responsible for motor function, seemed like a sure way to help the process along rather than hinder it.
The aspect of feel in golf had me perplexed……I had been trying to recreate a feel (voluntary), that was present when I was hitting the ball particularly well, and I couldn’t understand why the results were inconsistent.
This was until it dawned on me that the feel I wanted, was created by the action (involuntarily).
So, I had been trying to access an involuntary feeling, with voluntary intent, (I cant make my hands feel cold just because I want them to).
All golfers can recall feels, which produced the type of results they wanted. For me this included the ‘feeling’ of a deep wrist set. So when my striking went off at times, I would search for things like this.
'Feeling' that my shoulder turn was as full as possible, would be another one...... and I had lots more, including many for putting and chipping.
During practice I would make a deep wrist cock, but I just couldn’t access the feel I previously associated with it….. and the level of striking was rarely the same either.
Often while I would be hitting balls, and out of the blue, I would experience certain feels again, accompanied by improved striking.
The difference was that the feels came as a 'consequence' of a striking action (involuntarily).
I remember reading something from Jack Niccklaus which started to make sense to me. He said when his left side feels weren't working he would go to his right side ones.
'the feels came as a 'consequence' of the striking action'
Unhelpfully, my mind kept recalling those feel memories and urging me to repeat them.
It seems chasing feels which previously produced a good standard of success, was my minds way of trying to access patterns that had previously worked well.
Another aspect I found out about feels, is that they can fail to produce whats expected on one occasion, only to reappear and produce well at other times.
Unfortunately this perpetuates the process of continually trying to recall feels, even if previous results have been inconsistent.
Chasing feels, can keep the golfer stagnating in redundant faculties indefinitely. The rational/intellectual mind is actually interfering with progress (but doesn’t realise it).
By intentionally nudging the body to find and re-create feels, its living in the past. It is working in a way that is not suited to continued improvement. Instead of our motor function expanding its abilities by developing tighter and finer competencies, our memories are limiting them by recycling experiences.
Think about it this way.
Why does the golfer continue to try to repeat the 'feels' and motions of previously successful striking???.............because this faculty of our mind is conditioned to manifest our intentions, (want to hit good shots) and because it will look for certainty (previous success). Subsequently though, its unaware that progress is available elsewhere, outside of our experiences.
If the golfer has a good work ethic, and sound practical knowledge of how ball flight is defined by contact. If he has read many books and articles, and also taken lessons, he may still find himself at a plateau he cant break through.
There is too much dependency on the intellectual/rational plane.
'There is too much dependency on the intellectual/rational plane'
Yes........feels are real............but!
If a golfer is able to differentiate between intellectual learning and motor function learning, he/she can begin to notice how the ‘prompts’ from their thinking side are impulsive. Our intellectual/rational thinking is indiscernibly linked with our emotions, and as such will fluctuate depending on how practise is going.
This side of our thinking becomes busy and active if things aren’t going well. The more the golfer knows about the swing, the more information this side of the mind has to sort through to find something that will work better (teachers not being able to play as well as their students).
Also, the thinking process pulls information gleaned from experiences & beliefs, and these are not reliably grounded in fact. For golfers who are serious about their game and their practise, its important they recognise that active thinking and impulsive reaction is best kept in check.
Yes, feels are real, no one can deny that, but they originated from an action. Trying to recall them at will, in the hope of reproducing a previous performance indicates too much emphasis from the thinking mind......... when the action of hitting a golf ball is a biological motor function.