I’ve just submitted my latest article to Atlantic Golf and Lifestyle; it’s the new title from the editors of the former Golf International magazine, for whom I wrote from 2008-2014
My latest piece argues that golf isn’t really a mental game, but rather a game of mind~body connection and provides six keys to strengthen this connection which is crucial for linking up your mind with your swing motion.
Here’s a short extract:
“Stop Press! Golf is not a Mental Game!
It’s quite a controversial statement, especially considering that many golfers have bought into the premise that positive thinking, outcome visualization and the re-framing of thoughts in their mind can have an impact on their on-course performance.
These interventions do work to a large extent but the effects are short-lived and cannot do much to halt the biochemical reaction (nerves, anxiety and adrenaline) which pressure arouses in the nervous-system when standing on the first tee or putting for the championship.
While I absolutely see the value of achievement psychology, motivational thinking, and neuro linguistic programming as tools to motivate, inspire and prepare you before stepping on to the course, when you are actually playing the game, you need to leave these things in the locker room along with all those swing tips.
The mind cannot control movement. In fact the wrong use of the mind only serves to hinder the flow of motion. But a mind that is connected to the body can and will enable the performance of movement that is fluid, powerful, effortless and precise.
You can’t think your way to the perfect golf shot; this is something that happens only when the controlling influence of the mind is subdued. If you follow my work you’ll know I’m a great advocate of traditional Zen meditation, a practice which helps to tame what’s often called the ‘inner chimp’ through the process of focusing on the breath.
This is the simplest and most direct way to activate the mind~body connection. It creates a sensory feedback loop between your attention (mind) and your breathing (body) and so conjoins thinking with feeling, linking up your mental state with your movement.
Conversely, the more the mind tries to take control and organize your swing (or putting stroke), the more you try to “get it right” the more tension arises in the body and the less fluid and accurate your motion.
Again, the mind cannot control movement. It’s not fast enough to keep up with the tens of thousands of neurons, slow and fast-twitch muscle fibres and tendons all firing at the right time, in the right sequence to create the correct chain of events that allows for the 1.8 seconds of one of the most complex movements in all of sport…the golf swing”.
Read my last piece for AG&L issue 2 ‘The Art of Paying Attention’ – simply click the link and scroll to pp 26-27