Practise your swing to make it a natural movement
published : 24 May 2023 at 05:00
newspaper section: Sports
writer: Brett Brasier
We are all human, and thoughts and emotions must be managed -- that's why golf is hard.
We are not machines, and golfers' physical and mental abilities have limits.
Our brains are our control centre. Not so much our muscles. Not our subconscious, as no swing or stroke happens without instructions from our brain box.
Electric signals from the brain through nervous systems to our muscles cause action.
We don't have a digital chip running programmes and producing the same output every time.
Machines can achieve incredible consistency but not golfers.
Approaching golf as if you are a machine is guaranteed to frustrate and limit your performance because you cannot be that consistent.
There is no memory in your muscles. Nothing happens without signals from your brain.
The purpose of practising your swing or stroke should be to make it a natural movement for you, not requiring control or supervision.
The purpose of practice should be to help you trust your movement sequence, so you do not have to control it. You just do it.
Most swing coaches make you focus on trying to control the swing, or stroke, in a certain way which causes disrupting signals to interfere with the practised sequence of signals.
You are told you must remember to make sure you and the club move in certain ways, achieve certain positions, because it is important if you are to be consistent and effective.
When we first learned to throw a ball, we watched others. We picked up the ball and attempted to throw it.
With practice we could soon do it without thinking too deeply about it. However, because every shot counts and the total score is all important to us for lots of reasons, we react to outcomes emotionally. This is natural.
In other sports, these emotions can help you play but not in golf.
These emotions hurt most golfers. Little reactions and big reactions together with positive emotions and negative emotions happen.
When they do, chemicals are released into your body that reduce your golf skills.
Out of Bounds: These chemicals tighten your big muscles a little bit, and cause bigger emotional reactions, which can affect several shots or holes. You do not recover until the chemicals have been processed through your system. Unfortunately, this process takes too long, forcing many golfers to enter psychiatric clinics.