I had this conversation with Lag,
I found this course the same way most did, via Lag’s TGM thread. I have played for about 20 years, starting aged 13 and ever since University have been interested in how we learn and how to learn better. This comes from realsing modern tuition doesn’t seem to be improving anyone (in terms of average handicap)
I will not only be completing this course over the coming years I am also diversifying my career also. Starting in October I am completing a diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy and NLP. I will be tailoring my course towards golf and dentistry but will let you see what I can come up with over the coming months (and years). It can be tailored to any speciality from golf to dentistry and I have a strong interest in how we can improve learning/performing motions. Below is a converstion I had with Lag that I hope we can build on here.
Lag: I worked with a mental “guru” for several years, and he used to enjoy going to the dentist, having his teeth drilled without the use of any novacaine or pain killers. He explained to me how he enjoyed the challenge of putting his mind in a place where pain was not allowed to be experience. He was a very devout follower of eastern metaphysics. He helped me a lot on may levels.
WD: Ever since reading The Inner Game of Golf by Tim Gallwey I have been interested in how we learn. I have always know how poor people are at trying to DO a motion. For example if a pro was trying to get some one to hit more inside out they could verbally do it, try to put them into the position but the subconcious way would be to get them to hit divots that fly right. They are not trying to do the motion directly, it happens as a result. I see that as the same as your drills. I want to be hitting a 7 iron to a target on course a certain distance. I am getting into a better position coming into impact but i’m not thinking about it, my subconcious mind (which know no right or wrong, just what is usually done) will perform the golf swing. There are minor conscious inputs but we all know we can’t control the millions of nerves and muscle fibres, we teach them. I don’t think about changing gear in my car. I did at the begining but I certainly don’t force a FLW so I don’t crunch the gearbox!!! I’m interested how you came up with the concept, i’ve seen impact bags before but this is an amazing concept. I assumed you had a background in biomechanics since stopping playing?
Lag: I have always had a basic understanding that to improve muscular condition, intent, direction and path, you need to create a point of resistance. To best recreate the reality of the golf course, we need to do these at full speed also. Just common sense.
WD: It is interesting how you course does bypass, as you say, years of mindless ball beating. For the better players who have previously done these things right like Bradley, it is reawakening, for others they have never felt these things.
Lag: The muscles need resistance to strengthen. The golf ball offers little resistance. A bag is much better. Getting into a good rhythm is great on the bag… more meditative and allows for that little window into the subconscious to be opened without the distraction of the ball. With enough bag work, the ball feels incidental as it should. George Knudson made this a point in his teaching… very good sensation.
WD: I know whenever I have had a traditional lesson I find it silly to try to perfom the exact motion correctly only trying to hit a ball. I would prefer to over do the fault, overdo the correction to give the mind more feedback as to what is in the middle. I often think the yips putting come from trying to be to exact performing a stroke and fearing a poor stroke where we can actually hole putts swinging out to in in to out etc etc. Golf seems to have become obsessed with perfecting the motion in a particular way. Your biggest lightbulb for me to date is that you can’t fake a FLW, it happens. Anyone trying to is going to end up like I did overleaning the shaft trying to force it. Your drills are perfromed at full speed so there is no chance for the conscious mind to kick in it’s just one building block after another. Genius.
Lag: I am a guitarist and drummer also, so I know that learning independent motion takes time and practice. You have to learn things in sections. If for say on drums, I am trying to construct a certain rhythm that requires three or four limb independence, I will have to learn the basic rudiments of limb separation before I have any chance of executing properly. Execution must also be in good time, and that only happens once conscious thought leaves the room. You just go to feeling the groove, and the only conscious thought might be transitioning into the breaks with a fill, which then is very much it’s own subconscious event. The golf swing is no different. With the modules, I am just showing how to get proper separations to occur.
In the golf swing, it is nothing more than a jumbled blur for most golfers. We pick it apart, piece by piece, learn the proper biomechanical action, then put it back together into a well constructed and finely engineered highly structured precise blur. That’s the difference. Now things can happen… You can just go play golf or move through a piece of music without great effort.
WD: It is where Brian Manzella has done a good job in my opinion for the average golfer who just wouldn’t put in the time here. He has videos for patterns from the extreme open clubface slicer to the closed clubface hooker. He has a very high level TGM background with Ben Doyle and I feel he does a very good job teaching to the masses. He also doesn’t buy into that TGM is one pattern, just a description of ways of doing it. He has also been ostracised for not agreeing that it’s all law and some of it it just plain wrong!!!
His trackman work is very interesting too. It is interesting how people with the same clubhead speed can hit it such differing distances.
I will certainly have some coursework geared towards both the mental game but my main interest I have is in learning how WE learn. There is no such thing as muscle memory, the brain remembers and tells the right muscles to fire, and if this is done repetitively they get stronger at performing the action, and the brain fires in the right way better, but the muscle itself doesn’t remember, just gets stronger.
Lag: But I do suppose that we could imagine that the muscles remember that they have a certain strength. It seems to be there from day to day… I took off golf for 15 years and it only took me about 3 months before I went out and shot a 65 course record.
WD: There have been some interesting studies showing athletes in a room hooked up to a brainwave monitor visualising for example a 100m race from start to finish. The brain waves that fire the muscles are almost identical in terms of those produced during actual motion/racer. I am no more than an amateur at the moment but I see no reason why over the coming months I couldn’t produce a hypnosis mp3 or a neuro linguistic program for some one to visualise the drills. Done correctly this would accelerate the learning of performing the action, although not the burn you could imagine the burn though (which would ask the theoretical question of would that lead to a stronger muscle???)
Lag: I think it would be a great thing to have such a program to offer, especially through this course… let’s keep it in mind.
WD: I actually think an average golfer would be better having a lesson to diagnose and then visualise/NLP/hypnotise to get a better result. Lets face it, lighter and further hitting equipment hasn’t helped has it
Lag: Light gear is a four lane direct pathway to over acceleration hell. It’s funny because they were experimenting with this in the 1930’s with big heads and light gear. Hogan, Snead, and all the greats that came afterwards either intellectually or instinctively knew better. Now golfers are making the same mistakes again.
WD: I hope you get some beginners trying this out, that would be a great study to match that against standard instruction. One of the biggest hurdle for hackers is they don’t “get it” for smacking a ball, the reverse of every instinct as Hogan said. I bet anyone could learm to do the drills and smack the bag though.
Lag: Yes i think so.
WD: I am making some preliminary inroads into visualising doing the drills. I will keep you informed and will let you see anything I can come up with.
Hypnosis I used to think of as stage shows where they made people dance like chickens. It has so many applications at training and reprograming the mind. This can go from first tee nerves, to ingraining preshot routines to potentially doing the 150 reps in your mind under hypnosis directly or via an mp3. The goal is to accelerate the process of changing the behaviour or motion. As I write this it is getting my mind racing with ideas!!!
Lag: I am sure there are great ways to accelerate the process, but I do think it takes time… Life is long, and we don’t need to be in too huge a hurry. A consistent program of say 150 hits a day should keep things doable and avoid the big wall smacking burnout effect.
WD: I feel I have the edge in having been a pretty good ball striker, and rebecoming a great ballstriker. The main fault of mind gurus, rather like your instruction states , is that they don’t generally know what it’s like to be a great striker/player. In trying to teach someone the mind you have to know what it should be doing. My example would be unless you have done the drills you couldn’t perform a decent hypnosis routine to help someone. It would only help, nothing replaces doing the drills.
Lag: There is no substitute for having been there. No doubt easier to re learn or re live than having never felt it before. Look at Tom Watson recently in The Open.
WD: I always thought Rotella with his theory of not watching scoreboards was a way of running away from pressure mentally. You know that the swing should hold up under pressure, even work better the more important it is. Not pretend it’s a casual sunday fourball. That’s like using a long putter to calm your wobbly nerves.
Lag: I think pressure is really how you perceive it. I always enjoyed being in the hunt on Sunday. But I found I didn’t enjoy the long months in between the hot weeks. I was more in love with working on my technique than playing casual rounds of trying to play as many tournament rounds a possible. I think being in contention gave me a stronger sense of purpose.
Just being another guy on the tour grinding it out week to week was not all that interesting to me. I suspect that had a lot to do with my retirement. I feel really blessed now that I have found that childlike place inside me again where I am enjoying playing golf for the sake of playing golf. I now realize that every round I have three competitors excluding my own mind.
I am playing the architect’s footprint. I am playing the weather. I am playing the greens keepers conditioning and the daily pin placements. I found that by playing different sets each round, I enjoy the freshness of the changing feels of the different gear from round to round. It never feels robotic or stagnant anymore like golf would often feel like in the past. The feel of all these great blades I have from round to round, I find myself looking forward to getting back on my 59 Dynas, or my Silver Scots… my various sets of Hogan irons. It’s a nice addition to golf. I think it also is a big help to my students that I am able to stay connected to the game as an active player, as it keeps me alert to new sensations or concepts that might not otherwise be accessible to an arm chair instructor. I am very much alive and always learning.
WD: I believe there is a huge void in how we apply swing knowledge. We know so much about the swing, but we are terrible at learning. This is where your modules are very exciting. I used to buy lots of training aids (a LOT of them crap) basically searching for things that automatically gave the right feeling so that the conscious mind did not have to do too much. The way in which you drills (sorry for this phrase) slowly start to infect the full swing. I find it so strange that traditional instruction concentrates on trying to consciously do the action repetitively. I find I get the motion correct then think of nothing other than counting the reps.
Lag: It is a fact that the greatest golf swings have not evolved from the age of technology. We will never see another Ben Hogan or George Knudson swing again until equipment gets heavier again, and courses are designed for extreme accuracy not distance. Thick rough, big trees, small greens or shaved surfaces around the greens put a premium on accuracy of ball striking. I think the average golf instruction really has little understanding of the golf swing.
WD: I will get to work, this module seems to be very important for me. I have always known the way my lower body moved was weak and incorrect. As my lower left back is nice and stiff this morning, I’m guess yesterdays training went well
I really do believe deep down that this isn’t just important for my golf, but there is something amazing happening here.
Lag: We will see!
WD: How many people can say they have become better golfers by not hitting balls. I know I now can but I kind of always knew that. It’s hard to explain what it feels like, even more so for a “name” instructor who hasn’t EVER done it.
Lag: That’s why I don’t hit balls anymore. Drills, and on course target practice is what I find is best.