HOW TO PLAY GOLF

Chapter One
The Mental Side

 

"Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

How many times have you heard it said that golf is ninety percent mental? If that’s the case, then why do so many methods of instruction focus almost exclusively on the physical and technical aspects of the golf swing? The new golf teaching emphasizes training the place beyond the physical-even beyond cognitive thought. It’s the abstract, playful part in all of us where success is found. It’s accepted scientific fact that each of the brain’s two hemispheres are responsible for different functions. It’s also acknowledged among scientists who study sports performance that optimal sport achievement requires effective use of both sides. The left hemisphere of the brain controls the right side of the body and specializes in linear, logical and sequential thinking. It represents your rational side and requires clear concepts in order to make sense out of life. It’s this left side that needs a system and a "road map" of information such as the mechanics of the golf swing. The right hemisphere is abstract and holistic. It easily integrates with the sub-conscious and has the ability to link into higher, more sophisticated layers of information that the left-brain would dismiss as irrational or impossible. The right side of the brain is responsible for creativity, learning body movement and sport performance. Basically put, the left side comprehends theory, and the right side integrates and practices it.

"The imagination is more important than science"
-Albert Einstein

You cannot think your way to becoming a better golfer-you must tap the body’s intelligence in order to succeed. Over-thinking and unsatisfactory performance are often the result of typical kinds of sports training, if you were, like most of us, trained to function mostly in the thinking and concentrating left mode. There’s too much non-thinking information in the golf swing for the left side to process--and so in order to find peak performance, (and a golf shot that will with stand the pressure of a match) the right, non-thinking side must be trained to take charge. Correct repetitions build “muscle memory” which enable the left- brain to stay quiet and allow the right-brain to reveal its inspiration. During this training stage the right brain is diligently attempting to integrate and orchestrate the sequence the left brain has mapped out. It’s the right brain that synchronizes all muscle movements and necessary nerve responses . This concept is supported by an interesting study conducted by Arizona State University Professor Dan Landers on people learning the skill of archery. The archers' brains were hooked up to electrodes and those with low skill levels initially displayed greater amounts of brain activity in the left hemisphere. But as skill levels grew, the right side of the brain became increasingly active and left side activity progressively diminished. Another interesting electrode study, documented in 1992 by the magazine U.S. News and World Report, was performed by University of Maryland researcher Brad Hatfield on skilled marksmen. This test showed that just before the shooters pulled the trigger of the gun, the left side of the brain displayed a burst of alpha waves--an indication of a trance-like state. Similar results, the said article, were seen in tests conducted on basketball players shooting free throws, archers releasing arrows, and golfers, as they putt.

Work Smart, Not Hard !

"One of my main criteria for the validity of something is not only whether or not it works, but also how easily it works. Whenever people have to force themselves and try, that is an indication that the technology you're using is not sophisticated enough."
-Grinder & Bandler, Trance-Formations

When I was a seventeen year old golf apprentice, I started to learn how to teach the sport of golf. I was told by well meaning P.G.A. professionals I’d have to teach my students to hit "five hundred balls a day" in order for them to improve. For many years, I followed their advice - and my instruction included convincing students to whack massive quantities of golf balls. About ten years ago I discovered hypnotherapy and realized it offered great potential benefit for teaching. Hypnotherapy is a process of relaxing the mind and body in a way that promotes the opening of the door to the sub-conscious in order to reach information unavailable to the brain’s left side. In 1995 I trained as a Holographic Hypnotherapist at Future Shaping Technologies with company owner and founder Richard Zarro, CHt.,C.I. Since then, with the aid of hypnotherapy techniques, I’ve been able to help my students make remarkable breakthroughs - without years of physical practice. I often tell my students that they can even learn while they are sleeping - and what I’m really talking about is using visualization techniques. Creative visualization is a key way to access and optimize the creative right side of the brain. And that’s because the brain does not know the difference between what’s “real” and what’s “imagined.” If you’ve ever had a really scary nightmare then you know what I mean by this. Perhaps your dream was about being chased-- and when you woke you were covered in sweat, your legs were twitching and your heart was pounding rapidly. Even though you were actually safe in your bed, your brain (and so, your entire body) experienced the dream fear as if it were happening.

Perhaps you’ve heard of a well known experiment conducted by Australian psychologist, Alan Richardson, that used the skill of shooting baskets as a way of testing the effectiveness of creative visualization. One third of the test participants (group A) were told to practice their free throw technique twenty minutes per day, the next third (group B) were directed to spend twenty minutes per day visualizing but not attempting successful free throw attempts, and the third group (C) were not allowed to either practice or visualize. At the end of the test period, the group’s skill levels were measured. Predictably, Group (C) did not improve at all, however, both groups A and B showed nearly the same degree of improvement. Amazingly, the people who merely thought about playing basketball were able to perform almost as well as the ones who had actually practiced! Richardson's study showed that peak performance is obtained through 75% visualization and 25% physical practice. So, do you think your brain knows whether you are practicing physically or mentally?

Neuroscientist Dr. Karl Pribram, PhD., a researcher at Stanford University, spent forty years investigating the mysterious way visual learning works and this is what he came up with: the brain follows the properties of a mathematical equation, called the Fourier Principle, which enables images to be transformed into skills and behavior. Put simply; imaging, especially with the inclusion of rich sensory details such as smell, sound, feel and taste, creates a “neurological template” or set of instructions for our body and mind. Images of movement, whether on a TV screen or in the mind’s eye, Pribram says, trigger memory of motion.

Recent studies show that the body and mind are not separate. There is intelligence in each cell of the human body.
-Depak Chopra, M.D., 1998

Visualize This...

The first step in creative visualization is allowing the mind and body to become relaxed and receptive. Relaxation and meditation achieve an *Alpha wave brain pattern that enhances creative visualization. Imagine programming yourself to hit perfect golf shots while sitting in your favorite chair. Welcome to the Twenty-first Century. Top sport professionals, Olympic athletes and elite entertainers have been visualizing or playing make believe for years with the help of Sport Psychologists or Hypnotherapists. These professionals help their students reach Alpha and Theta brain wave patterns. Alpha wave bursts are needed for peak performance. Once relaxation or Alpha waves are achieved it’s the rich sensory input that’s the key to successful imagery: when you practice mentally, imagine not only the motions your body makes, but the smell of the fresh cut grass, the sound of the club hitting the ball, taste the lemonade you just sipped to quench your thirst and feel the morning breeze roll across your face. The more enhanced the sensory perceptions, the better the results. Your body will “learn” from whatever screen you wish to expose it to - and so it goes without saying that you should only mentally rehearse successful movements.

It is a question of positioning your lens of perception, and deciding what your going to focus on."
-Richard Zarro, The Enchanted Mind

Brain Wave Cycles Per Second*

Delta 0-4 cps Theta 4-7 cps Alpha 8-13 cps Beta 13-40 cps

 

The four basic brain waves seen in an electroencephalogram (EEG) are Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta. The Alpha wave was discovered by Austrian Psychiatrist, Dr. Hans Berger. Each of the four basic EEG waves are linked to different states of consciousness. Delta is seen only in the deepest stages of sleep, Theta is seen in light sleep and drowsiness, Alpha is seen in waking states where there is relaxed and effortless concentration, while Beta is seen in highly stressful situations, and where there is difficult mental concentration and focus.

Alpha production is an innate skill of our brains. However, the fast paced life style most of us have adopted has resulted in a loss of the skill to produce Theta and Alpha waves. People who have more Alpha brain waves have less anxiety.

Creativity is another activity for which Alpha waves are helpful. Scientists have shown that highly creative people have different brain waves from normal and non-creative people. In order to have a creative inspiration, your brain needs to be able to produce a big burst of Alpha, predominately on the left side, effectively shutting the left-brain down . This allows the creative right-brain to expose the new idea.

Peak Performance is another activity for which a burst of Alpha are needed. Sports scientists have shown that increases of Alpha waves, primarily in the left-brain, precede optimal performance. There is a distinct difference in the brain wave pattern of an expert and a novice athlete. Just before an expert sportsmen makes his or her "move" there is a burst of Alpha in the left brain. Novice and intermediate athletes do not show this Alpha pattern. (1997 Biocybernaut Institute, www.biocybernaut.com/tutorial/alpha.html)

It's the goal of the New School of Golf ™ to teach its students how to obtain a burst of Alpha in the left brain. There is a technique to learning how to achieve the Alpha burst. The technique will be taught to you during your lessons. When you're ready ... it'll be easy.

HOW TO PLAY GOLF.

Chapter Two
Setting up the Theory of the Physical side.

MORE HOW TO PLAY GOLF#2

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