I actually received a copy of the book today having ordered it last night…I jumped straight to the readiness potential chapter; these are the notes I made in an hour’s reading;
Scientists Kornhuber and Deecke demonstrated that analysis of the brain showed a shift in electrical potential which shows that an action is being prepared. This ‘readiness potential’ is logical, after all the brain has to prepare an action by calculating how it is performed. The only strange thing is the timing.
On average it was nearly a second prior to the action, that is a long time. The brains were getting ready for the action long before the decision to act had been made!
Therefore, when exactly do we consciously decide to initiate the act? After all, this huge one second delay is not apparent in our everyday life. We know that its a split second, like 0.1 of a second, not one whole second between deciding and acting, so why does the readiness potential appear so long before any conscious decision? Does this mean that I have no free will? Someone else calls the shots in my brain?
A more thorough experiment revealed that 0.35 seconds passes between brain start up ( readiness potential) and the conscious decision to act and that nearly a full second, 0.55 of a second, passes between readiness potential and action.
So to get back to Steb’s golf, any attempt at a golf swing is preordained a whole second before it happened. There was no glitch in Steb’s ability to make a golf swing, after all his practice swing is perfect, there is however a prewired instruction to hit the ball which renders him helpless to any conscious manipulation of the club as the truncated action that really happens instead has already been pre ordered more than half a second before he decided to hit the ball.
Steb’s real golf swing therefore begins unconsciously, a half a second before he even started his swing, the problem does not lie with the glitchy uncompleted backswing, it lies with the decision made by his brain about what action it has decided to perform.
Steb’s consciousness dupes him as it dupes us. It is a tin god that just pretends to be in charge but actually lags way behind the real moment when decisions are made. So no amount of exhortation, talking to yourself, conscious trying or any of that stuff is going to change the way you play golf…
If your brain is embarrassed or unconfident about the way you play, it will interrupt the act….so the lurch is really a deep seated fear of looking stupid like stage fright. Remember Woody Allen’s character in the film Play it again Sam displaying inappropriate interruptions when trying to chat up women?
OK, I want to just include a disclaimer that I have literally only spent an hour reading so far but thats the gist of what I have understood so far.
From the very limited reading I have done thus far, I think that the solution may be to realise that the brain will short-circuit any action it does not like or it thinks may be embarassing. Instead it may be more advisable to just let the brain take charge and produce the strike it prefers since it will decide what it wants to do anyway! Obviously the more you become competent at drills the more likely the brain is to elect and trust to utilise these actions during the real swing.
As I read more of the book, I will post any more insights as I discover them, if people are interested.