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Competitive Golf - Key to Accessing Your Best Shots: Quiet the Noise

Competitive Golf

 

The quality of each shot can make or break your round.

 

The current focus for improving your Shot Quality focuses primarily on physical skills training.

The level of quality for physical skills is designated as your Skill Fitness level.

 

Improving Skill Fitness directly correlates to increased Shot Quality… in non-competitive environments.

 

However

 

Improved Skill Fitness and Shot Quality in non-competitive environments do NOT directly correlate to improved Shot Quality in Competitive Golf.

 

1.      Competition Pressure

2.      Heightened Emotions

3.      Insufficient Energy

 

Inhibit the ability to Access optimum Skill Fitness and Access optimum Shot Quality in Competitive Golf.



 

The gap between Skill Fitness in non-competitive golf and Shot Quality in Competitive Golf is subsequently referred to as the Skill Access Gap,

 

Reducing the Skill Access Gap DIRECTLY correlates to improved Access to optimum Skill Fitness and optimum Shot Quality in Competitive Golf.

 

The smaller the Skill Access Gap, the higher the Shot Quality in Competitive Golf.



 

Strengthening Mental Fitness using research proven and neuroscience driven training is THE KEY to reducing the Skill Access Gap and improving Shot Quality in Competitive Golf conditions.

 

To further clarify, Shot Quality in Competitive Golf is determined by three Performance Benchmarks:

 

  • Skill Fitness

  • Physical Fitness

  • Mental Fitness

 

  • Skill Fitness Metrics:

examples: Path, Face, Attack, Contact, Speed, Spin

  • Physical Fitness Metrics:

examples: Flexibility, Strength, Speed, Endurance

  • Mental Fitness Metrics:

examples: Pressure, Emotion, Energy

 

This article explores how the three Performance Benchmarks affect Shot Quality during Competitive Golf.  

 

More importantly, this article outlines the science behind and the process of applying the Benchmarks for the purpose of minimizing the Skill Access Gap and maximizing Competitive Golf Performance.


As mentioned in the summary, the current Shot Quality improvement process for Competitive Golf focuses primarily on Skill Fitness and Physical Fitness.  This methodology lacks a critical component.

 

Skill Fitness improvement does give you the “potential” to execute improved Shot Quality determined by physical movement patterns and the resulting ball flight dynamics.

 

Physical Fitness improvement does give you the “potential” to execute the improved Shot Quality with added flexibility, speed, and explosiveness.

 

Why only “potential”?

 

Because “Access” to optimum Skill Fitness and “Access” to optimum Physical Fitness is only achievable (under competitive conditions) when specific “Mental Fitness” KPI’s are met.

 

Why are “Mental Fitness” KPI’s important?

 

Because neuroscience research studies over the last 50 years have definitively proven that all Physical Skills (learned movement patterns) are stored in the mind.




Research has also definitively proven Physical Skills are Triggered in the Mind. 

 

More specifically, Triggered by a specific "Mental State".

 

Which means that “Access” to optimum Skill Fitness and Shot Quality is determined by “Access” to the optimum “Mental State” that triggers Skills (learned movement patterns) NOT by Muscle Memory.

 

Reliance on Muscle Memory for Shot Quality in Competitive Golf causes the Skill Access Gap to fluctuate significantly (experienced as inconsistency and low quality under pressure).


Extensively trained and seemingly repeatable Skills (learned movement patterns) and thus Shot Quality, can be severely inhibited/interfered with when the essential “Mental Fitness” KPI’s cannot be Accessed.

 

This is why even the best touring professionals can still hit “low quality” shots when experiencing Competitive pressure, emotions, and energy deficiencies.




The Skill Access Gap between low Shot Quality (inhibited Skill Access) and peak Shot Quality (optimum Skill Access) is one of the most frustrating experiences in Competitive Golf.

 

For the purposes of discussion, low Shot Quality is referred to as "Floor Shots" and peak Shot Quality is referred to as "Ceiling Shots".

 

The intent of this article is to help you clearly understand what triggers the Skill Access Gap AND get an overview of the science driven Keys proven to reduce the Skill Access Gap during Competitive Golf... when every shot has increased importance and or consequence.

 

The Skill Access Gap is triggered and magnified by NOISE.


There are two types of NOISE.

 

External NOISE:

  • Visual Distractions (ex. course challenges, peripheral movements)

  • Auditory Distractions (ex. people, equipment)

  • Kinesthetic Distractions (ex. wind, slope)


Internal NOISE:

  • Perceived Pressure (ex. event importance, expectations)

  • Negative Emotions (ex, anxiety, frustration, anger)

  • Swing Thoughts (ex. movement patterns, key positions)

  • Results Focus (ex. shots, score)

 

NOISE creates "interference" that reduces the clarity and the strength of the Signal created in the conscious mind that is an important step in the process of Accessing the Optimum Shot Quality stored in the subconscious mind.

 

The higher the volume of NOISE, the bigger the Skill Access Gap and the greater the probability of low quality "Floor Shots".

 

When you do not have the ability to quiet the NOISE triggered by Competitive Golf conditions on command, the Skill Access Gap grows and Shot Quality decreases relative to the volume of NOISE.

 

When you learns to reduce NOISE volume, the Signal from the conscious mind (where Shots are chosen) to the subconscious mind (where the Skill Memory is stored) becomes clearer, stronger and more effective as a key step in the process of Accessing the desired Skill Memory and thus Shot Quality for the task.

 

This is the reason why ALL Competitive Golfers find it much easier to Access peak Shot Quality outside of Competitive Golf conditions and the NOISE that those conditions trigger.

 

Reducing NOISE volume directly translates to increased Access to optimum Skills Fitness which raises the quality of "Floor Shots" and increases Access to "Ceiling Shots".

 

When the mind is completely FREE of NOISE, the Competitive Golfer can create clear Sensory Imagery of the desired shot, fully commit to that Sensory Imagery and the "automatic" processes of retrieving "Procedural Memory"  in the subconscious mind will trigger the optimum Skill Quality for the chosen shot.

 

This is the description of what occurs when the golfer experiences "The Zone".


With NOISE being the primary negative Trigger that creates/increases the Skill Access Gap... what are the positive Keys to quieting NOISE, reducing the Skill Access Gap and hitting better Quality Shots in Competitive conditions?

 

Currently, the amount of research specifically related to improving Access to "Procedural Memory" falls short of the research dedicated to Creating "Procedural Memory".

 

However, by combining available research with extensive golfer testing, this article proposes that there are three Process Keys to strengthening Access to optimum Skill Fitness in Competitive conditions:

 

1.      Pre-Shot Repetition - Quiet the Noise

2.     Positive Motivation - Love the Challenge

3.     Automatic Intent - Let It Happen

 

Pre-Shot Repetition

There is a reason that golfers, baseball players, basketball players and athletes in a variety of sports all have ROUTINES they follow before important moments.  They are EFFECTIVE.  Repetition sends a strong signal to the subconscious mind which Skill Memory is optimum for the desired task.  It is important to note that the Repetition/Routine GOAL is not solely physical preparation.  The critical key relative to the Skill Access Gap is to Quiet the NOISE before every shot.

 

Positive Motivation

Motivation can also been described as the mood/drive for the Routine leading up to the shot.  When the goal is Access to optimum Skill Fitness, it is critical that the Motivation leading up to the shot is Driven by Positivity.  Love of the Challenge (Joy for the opportunity to test Skill Fitness) and Optimistic Curiosity (excited to assess Skill Fitness progress) are two of the most powerful Motivations for Accessing optimum Skill Fitness in Competitive Conditions.

 

Automatic Intent

Intent takes one of two directions: "Make It Happen" or "Let It Happen".  "Make It Happen" implies a lack of Trust in Skill Access and dictates conscious control of the Skill which is counter to peak efficiency for optimum Skill Access. Imagine trying to control movements of feet, ankles and knees when walking down stairs. Essentially, trying to "Make It Happen" creates excess NOISE in the cognitive and emotional systems of the brain.  Conversely, "Let It Happen", reduces cognitive NOISE, increases psychological trust AND triggers access to the Brain Wave frequencies that open the door to "The Zone".

 

Here is a short video to further clarify how Skill Access for Competitive golf works:



If you would like to learn more about the contents of this article please check out my Competitive Golf white paper.


The white paper does a deep dive into the neurobiology, the psychology and the physiology of Accessing Your Best Shot quality in Competitive Golf.


Here is the link:



If you would like to chat with me about improving your Mental Fitness for golf... book a complimentary 30 minute Zoom session here:



Looking forward to hearing from you!

Geoff







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