Processing changes,NLP,the mind,learning, discussion forum

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 :slight_smile: 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 :wink:

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 :slight_smile:

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 :slight_smile: 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.

Very intresting subject of conversation. It was great to read. Our high school swimming coach used group hypnosis before competitions. Not positive there is a direct cause and effect relationship but they were undefeated for 6 straight years. :astonished: I still use those same techniques for relaxation.

I recently read a book about how neuropsychologists are now capable of capturing images through the various medical imaging techniques available (like MRI) that can show how nueral pathways are built through learning a new activity. Also, learning any new activity now has the side-effect of boosting learning potential in the future. Basically, neural plasticity increases every time we learn something new. To put it another way, a stagnant mind that hasn’t learned anything new decreases our future learning potential. Also, we can awaken new neural pathways but we need to build their ‘signal strength’ through repetition to support their existence within our central nervous system. This way, if we stop doing something for years at a time, we can come back to that activity and ‘re-learn’ it much faster than we originally learned it.
Of course, the same priciples apply to learning something INCORRECTLY as well…if a neuro-muscular firing pattern is ‘burned-in’, then it takes lots of repetition to correct it. Correcting undesirable neuro-muscular firing patterns can be a difficult task that evidently requires diligence. A conscious sense of purpose seems to help, though.

A lot of it seems obvious but now there is proof in a DIRECTLY MEASURABLE way within the brain with medical imaging techniques. It is Interesting to a geek like myself. :ugeek:


Just think of all the balls hit on ranges “burning” in incorrect patterns :open_mouth:

I’m still very new to the idea but it does bring up some very interesting questions and theories. I don’t think it would decrease the number of repetitions required, but am more interested in it’s use in learning correct motions faster to make the repetitions more effective and possibly a hypnosis mp3 that you could listen too of a particular module leading to visualising doing it. Could any of us have done the drills so well having not watched Lag do them over and over?

I certainly didn’t need much convincing that less is more on the range, you have to be so careful to practice the right things or you are making things worse. I am hoping to be able to contribute more as time goes on. Hypnosis is where NLP grew from, which is where most modern sports visualisation techniques came from.

Thanks for the input Bagger, I don’t think there is a single one of us here not a geek in one way or another. :ugeek:

That would certainly explain how lag got it all back so quickly after the layoff.

What was the book by the way?

That is exactly why I posted a week or so ago that I am hesitant to do anything but swings from no further back than 9 o’clock in order to preserve that Mod 1 work and not morph it into some unintended movement. I video when I can for that reason also. Even though I have the Mod 1 form down to just rep it out from here I told Lag that I am going to monitor on video and send him a snip if something looks off.

The title of the book is, The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, MD. Here is one of the reviews of the book from the Toronto Daily Star,

“A panoramic examination of plasticity’s profound implications. Injured or dysfunctional cells and circuits can indeed be regenerated and rewired; the location of a given brain function can, astonishingly, move from one location to another. The body’s lifespan may not have to outpace its mental lifespan…Everything that you can see happen in a young brain can happen in an older brain. Deterioration can be reversed by twenty to thirty years.”

A lot of the book involves case studies and as I would read one I would think, ‘I have to come back after I am done the book and re-read this one’…except almost every one of them was that interesting so they all kind of ran together in one eye-opening catalog after another. The most interesting things in science are learned when we get the chance to study exceptional circumstances like Autistic savants or child prodigies, people with genetic anomalies and deformities or accidents that have left them deformed because we get to see how what is missing affects their development neurologically.

That is why exceptional athletes intrigue me. They really are case studies…the statistical outliers. But invariably the one’s we all end up admiring are the one’s who bring a unique mental approach to what they do that makes them rise to the top of the physically talented heap…It’s always sustained neuro-muscular efficiency under pressure and over a long period of time that really defines a winner…not small glimpses of greatness that come and go like the wind. So Lag is right in the sense that today’s GOLF is lacking that razor sharp exactness in favor of something way less exact, noble, or romantic: approximation of perfection (love of distance in lieu of efficient, repeatable exactness) instead of precision. Tiger Woods can putt and he would probably also be great with persimmon (he at least used to play with them in the offseason) but we will never get to see the proof of it and we should all feel a bit deprived.

I can rant no more…sorry for that meandering stream of consciousness


Thanks for the very insightful posts…

One of the reasons I play golf and try to stay relevant, at least as a good ballstriker, is to keep learning myself, therefore continuing my personal quest for a simpler, more effective and efficient golf swing. By doing so, I keep my own mind active and also open to new light bulbs either within the context of the golf swing or better ways to describe the sensations that are best to be felt or focused upon for the benefit of all of us.

I think a lot of golf instructors hang up the clubs and don’t play, and I think that is not in the best interest of the students.
I feel it is beyond important that I am able to demonstrate directly the concepts I put forth here personally. That is one of the reasons I admire Mac O’Grady. He can walk his talk.

I never want to become an “observation only” based instructor.

I can assure you all… I am also a student of these modules… none of what I teach is anything new. My body resists change every bit as much as any of you. I am very realistic about my own swing changes and the time frame it takes to make them. I played for years off irons that were 1 degree flat off standard, although I have for years always wanted to play off much flatter lies. I took 6 of my favorite sets and bent them in January, and it really took 5 or 6 months for it to really become me. Completely comfortable, mindless, and truly subconscious. All I can say is … I really wish I had done this back in junior golf or college. It really is like cheating. Once your swing plane truly flattens biomechanically, you are at a significant advantage for the accuracy of your shots. I say this with complete conviction now because I speak with direct knowledge.
Historically the greatest ball strikers have swung the golf club from a very shallow entry from P3 into impact. The difference now is that I went from intellectually understanding the geometry of it, to learning a very good way of biomechanically making the transformation, and now I completely understand and feel from within the positive reality of the change.
If I was an observation based instructor, I would not be able to truly have the insight into the golf swing that I do now.
This is a perfect example of why I will continue to get out on the golf course and play this game. For me to be the best instructor I can be… I need to keep my thumb on the pulse of advanced ball striking technique. The precision it takes to swing a golf club properly is also consistent with my choice to play more demanding “classic” gear… persimmons, blades and so forth.

On hitting the impact bag being meditative: My wife came to visit me while I was hitting the Impact bag yesterday and asked me how I am able to do it for so long. I thought about it and told her that if I were watching her I would probably ask the same thing but once you start doing it, it’s actually harder to stop than it is to keep the rhythm and flow going.

The police officer didn’t quite understand when he came by to ask me what I was doing because multiple people called to report an unknown loud hammering noise in the area. :open_mouth: :smiley:

we are outlaws aren’t we? :smiling_imp:

very interesting guys.

I have an NLP qualification but that in itself is irrelevant. One of the problems with NLP is that there is no real certification process and anyone can certify anyone else really. That said, I think there are applications for it to help improve golf. I went to see Tony Robbins a few years ago and man he can work magic with NLP!

I also strongly believe in the use of hypnotism to improve golf. I listen to several tapes that I got from Bee Epstein Shepherdwho wrote the book Mental management for great golf. This is a superb book I highly recommend.

I also believe that the work Dr Mumford does is essential to great golf.

Regarding hypnosis, I believe that you can sit under a tree as long as you like listening to a tape that tells you you are Tiger Woods, but you will still swing like the hacker you are once you get on the course! Instead a hypnosis tape worth listening will remind you of the things you are trying to achieve, visualising you carrying them out correctly and getting perfect results.

Interesting topic. Amazing story about the guy who wouldn’t use anaesthetic!

Good point Styles…

It’s never just any “one” thing… it’s a combination of things. NLP is one of the things, good mechanics, repetition, experience,
I’ve said it before… Hogan’s secret is that there were "SECRET “S” "

It’s never any one thing.

I am a big believer in good rock solid technique as a sure way to go… a solid firm golf swing will compress the ball better,
fly the ball straighter… to see that over and over is good for the mind, confidence… then confidence breeds upon itself.

Hogan also made a point about equipment… I don’t have the exact quote in front of me, but he talked about how weak (looser) shafts will let you down under pressure. I couldn’t agree more. Much more timing involved with looser shafts.

We need to get our gear lined up also… and that has great importance too.

The one common element to all improvement related topics is a desire to get better.

Here is a concept i remember reading about the brain and learning: When a new task is learned, a part of the brain is stimulated (neuronal connections made) to support the learned behavior. You may say so what to that statement because it seems obvious. But, in an experiment with blind individuals taking classes to learn to read Braille, areas of the brain that were stimulated during and immediately after attending class on Fridays remained stimulated for the rest of the day…but by Monday with the weekend off, those same “stimulated” areas in the brain had shrunk back nearly to pre-stimulated states. Therefore, there seems to be a premium on brain surface area that can be reserved for new behaviors. In other words, it is difficult to establish NEW learned behaviors to the point where that behavior ‘gets’ an area in the brain reserved for it unless enough repetition calls for a neuronal “need”. Or, it is as if a critical mass of repetition must be reached before a behavior becomes truly learned (six months of classes in the Braille experiment). Of course, this varies from person to person and even within the same person over a lifetime. That is why it is harder for any adult to learn multiple languages compared to a child…less cortex real estate available for new behaviors (less neurological adaptability).

Interesting again.

I have heard that ‘genius’ level is reached in about 10,000 hours of practice genius in 10000 hours.

This figure is crucial (in my opinion) for turning children into great golfers (or anything else really).

Thanks Styles…

interesting stuff indeed.

I remember as a kid sitting in school wondering how much better I could have been if I didn’t go to school, and just played golf from sunrise to sunset everyday. I always thought academics were inhibiting my improvement. Same thing at the college level.
I remember sitting in political science class looking out the window and wondering how is this possibly improving my golf game.
I would rather have been hitting balls over at the soccer fields down the white line.

There was a kid in my high school who was constantly in trouble for ditching class and surfing everyday. He eventually dropped out of school and moved to Hawaii, and became a very successful pro surfer.

Maybe this explains people like Steve Jobs who I believe was a high school drop out. Some people drop out to party… but others drop out to really pursue their vision early, not wanting to waste anytime…

Don’t let your children read this post though! :smiling_imp:

Wish I would have got my computer last year cuz I would have chimed in then- sorry I’m late to the dance- taking some time to read through all these threads.

Lag: Surprised to hear that you’re a drummer. Me too. How cool is that. Without seeing you in live action I know you have a distinct advantage over perhaps others regarding rhythm and timing. Came to the conclusion later in life that us drummers may have an advantage in being able to feel multiple postions within a golf motion all at the same time. When I first started learning golf the instructor would never let me work on more than one thing at a time although I always felt that I could have handled more. But I didn’t understand why I was thinking that way. Later in life it became clear that us stick men have to be able to sense and feel 4 different patterns simultaneously- each with their own unique rhythm and timing. Had a little laugh with the COAM threads and I was going to ask if COAM applied to the stick movements :laughing: Are there drummers on tour that you know of?

Wish I would have got my computer last year cuz I would have chimed in then- sorry I’m late to the dance- taking some time to read through all these threads.

Lag: Surprised to hear that you’re a drummer. Me too. How cool is that. Without seeing you in live action I know you have a distinct advantage over perhaps others regarding rhythm and timing. Came to the conclusion later in life that us drummers may have an advantage in being able to feel multiple postions within a golf motion all at the same time. When I first started learning golf the instructor would never let me work on more than one thing at a time although I always felt that I could have handled more. But I didn’t understand why I was thinking that way. Later in life it became clear that us stick men have to be able to sense and feel 4 different patterns simultaneously- each with their own unique rhythm and timing. Had a little laugh with the COAM threads and I was going to ask if COAM applied to the stick movements :laughing: Are there drummers on tour that you know of?

I do think drumming or even guitar playing helps with our ambidextrous balancing. One of the reasons I am really big on having students do a lot of one handed module work with both hands separately.

I remember the first day I was able to separate my left foot from my left hand ( I am right handed but play drums left handed) … when that separation took place, it was like a whole new world opened up… and I could then explore odd time signatures, and get a feel for a lot of the music I like to listen too. I can play in any meter with ease… and really feel it without counting. I learned a lot of odd meter patterns on guitar studying early on, and when I took up drums, it transferred over really quickly to the kit, because my brain was already there.

Another reason I am so disciplined about a golfers core rudiments or what I call “the modules”
Once they are mastered, then you just simply open up your possibilities tenfold if you so choose to explore a more
sophisticated method of striking a golf ball.

I know Justin Tang has been exploring Hammer Man’s two handed hammer drills with good results.

Thanks Lag: Odd time signatures makes life interesting. Bonham lives!! :smiley:

Does that mean you play them upside down like you would with a guitar? :wink:

Captain Chaos

I play guitar right handed, but with a drum kit, I kick with my left foot, and have my snare drum over on the right side played predominately with my right hand, and my high hat right of that… My toms go from high to low from right to left… so that is typically what is called a left handed set up. My ride cymbal is over on the left side of my kit. So it’s completely backwards like Phil Collins set’s his up. I use concert toms also which is pretty old school also… but I like that flatter sound, like Alan White.

Flatter sound…flatter clubs…flat entry. Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.