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Dr. George H. Green
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Strengthening the Mind-Body Connection since 1976.

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2003 Archives: Stressless Golf

Dr George Green, stressless life, stresslesslife, Biofeedback Center, ADD management, ADHD management, Pain management, Dr, Green, George Green, Brainwave Biofeedback, EEG, Incontinence Biofeedback, Neuromuscular re-education, NMR, Biofeedback Nevada, ADD The Quest for Identity, Institute for the study of cognition and creativity
"High performance golf is as much a function of your ability to relax as it is of your skill."

Imagine the ball and the hole as one.

I saw a cartoon recently of a duffer stuck in a sand trap with sand flying all around him from his considerable efforts. His wild swinging at an apparently unresponsive ball was resulting in digging him into an ever larger hole. The caption of this cartoon was, "Farnsworth takes a much needed day off."

I wondered if this cartoon was funny because Farnsworth was obviously not having a relaxing day off. Or perhaps it derived its humor from the fact that the probability of hitting a golf ball with any degree of accuracy under any circumstances decreases as frustration, tension and anxiety increase. Or maybe more to the point is the disturbing truth that there's a Farnsworth living inside each of us.

Of all the leisure time activities invented by humans none rival golf for having to deal with potential performance frustration. Unlike any other leisure activity, frustration is actually an inherent quality of golf. And it's fairly simple to measure decreasing performance accuracy as our feelings of frustration increase. As one goes up, the other goes down.

Part of the problem lies in that fact that golf relies more on a practical application of chaos theory than any other sport I've studied. Chaos Theory essentially tells us that for a very small initial change we get a disproportionately large and variable result. This means that if you are going to move your golf game into high gear, you're going to need to create a means of minimizing the variables that influence those initial changes. If you observe the great golfers, there's almost a sense of nonchalance about them. It can seem as if they didn't really care that much. You can be certain that they do care since their image and their livelihood depends on it.

As I observed many of these great golfers, they seemed to have a second sense that allowed them to feel wind drift and to eyeball the lay of the fairway with uncanny accuracy that guided their strokes. The truth is that anyone should be able to maximize their golf game with a simple appreciation of their ability to become self-aware. Once you develop an elevated self-awareness all those factors, both internal and external, that will influence your swing become part of you automatically. Certainly, a good basic skill is required. But enhancing that skill with this type of self-awareness invariably leads to improved efficiency in virtually anything you do. The question is not whether this works. It's whether you can let yourself use it. In my practice I use sensitive electronic devices and special exercises to bring people to this self-aware place in their minds. To a place where your focus is calm and selectively absorbing only that input which is relevant.

High performance golf is as much a function of your ability to relax as it is of your skill. The first step is to learn to relax on a single breath. This requires considerable practice and should be done dozens of times throughout your day. When you think of it, take a single deep breath, hold it for a second as you let your shoulders droop and your jaw relax. The exhale slowly while imagining that all tension and stress is draining out of your body.

When you have gotten competent at generating that feeling, apply it to your game. Each and every time you address the ball, perform that simple exercise until it becomes second nature. Do this before lining up your swing. Then look at the ball with relaxed eyes. Now look at where you want the ball to go, also with relaxed eyes. In your mind gently bring the two images together so that the ball and your target are blended. Take one more relaxed breath and make your most important thoughts as follows:

1) body relaxed;
2) ball and target are visualized as one;
3) whatever happens is fine.

This last thought, that whatever happens is fine, can be tricky. But it's essential. In order to create outstanding performance you must signal your mind and body that there are no stresses. The more stress you feel, the more your mind must pay attention to those problems. That's just the way our bodies work.

The less stress you feel, even to the point of telling yourself that whatever happens on each swing is fine, the greater is your ability to gather all the elements of your mind and body as well as the sensory data about each shot.

It's that simple. Practice this a lot. You have nothing to lose. The least that should happen is that your game will become more enjoyable. But if you manage to succeed in creating even a slightly relaxed focus, your performance on the links will be significantly more accurate. And then Farnsworth's day off will be just a joke.

 

Dr George Green, stressless life, stresslesslife, Biofeedback Center, ADD management, ADHD management, Pain management, Dr, Green, George Green, Brainwave Biofeedback, EEG, Incontinence Biofeedback, Neuromuscular re-education, NMR, Biofeedback Nevada, ADD The Quest for Identity, Institute for the study of cognition and creativity