Zone Sign #4
Ease and Effortlessness
The bottom line:
The harder you try... the worse you are going to perform.
Yoda hit the nail right on the head.
"Do or do not... There is no try".
The definitive study on the experience of being in the Zone was done by Mihaly Csikszentmhalyi (try saying that three times fast).
He studied over 20,000 athletes musicians and artists.
One of the most surprising pieces of data... was that when people were performing their very best and deep in the Zone, it was universally reported that everything felt easy and took very little effort.
Traditional sports ethic says the harder you work the better you are going to play.
When you are training your swing and your game there is some truth to that.
But when it comes to game day... getting close to the Zone and getting into the Zone can only happen when you are allowing your subconscious mind to run the show.
Only when the subconscious mind is in control do complex movement patterns feel easy.
Let it happen... do not try to make it happen.
When you try to run things with your conscious mind things feel difficult... everything feels like a challenge.
The conscious mind is not wired to control complex movement patterns.
Especially when the result matters and you are feeling pressure.
Interestingly... One of the reasons why most golfers feel a big gap between the range and the course is because at the range they are allowing their swing movements to happen... Because there is no pressure.
When they get on the course and the pressure gets higher... they try to make key elements of the swing happen.
This is almost the complete opposite of what should be done.
Training at the range is about paying close attention to your movements and even controlling your movements... to make sure you are turning them into accurate subconscious patterns.
Playing (especially when you want to get into the Zone) is all about allowing those subconscious patterns to take over your swing and your game.
One of the sayings I love to pass along to all my clients is:
Strive for effortless power not powerless effort.
One way to keep track of this and begin to improve your access to ease and effortlessness is to pay attention to the level of effort that you put into your best shots.
Just making a mental note after you have hit a really good shot will let your brain know that more often than not when you use less effort you will get a better result.
Give it a try!
Over time your conscious mind will start to recognize that your subconscious is better suited to the job of helping you hit golf shots in the Zone.