Trigger #2 for getting in the Zone when you swing a golf club:
Focus is a huge part of getting in the Zone.
The first Zone trigger we discussed earlier... is about what you Focus on while swinging.
The key is to Direct or Tune your Focus on the Process of the swing and not on the Result.
This helps make sure you are Present in the moment while you are swinging the club.
Presence is the foundation for peak performance.
The second Zone trigger... is about what part of your brain you Focus with.
You have a choice between two brain systems when you Focus.
You can Focus using the Cognitive part of your brain.
Or you can Focus using the Sensory part of your brain.
The Cognitive part of your brain is great for early in the pre-shot routine when you're making the decision of what shot to hit.
The Cognitive part of your brain is excellent at analysis, logic and decision making.
When it comes time to hit the shot... You need to turn off the cognitive part of your brain and turn on the Sensory part of your brain.
Your eyes... Visualization.
Your body... Feel.
Your ears... Sound.
The Sensory system in your brain is closely tied to the motor system in your body.
Why Sensory and not Cognitive?
There are a number of reasons but two very important ones:
The cognitive part of your brain works best when it works slowly. It's primary function is to help you make accurate decisions. It is not designed to help you control movements. Imagine writing your signature thinking about the movements of your knuckles your wrist and your elbow. The movements would be very slow and the signature would not look very good. The same is true of your golf swing. Did you know the Sensory systems in your brain can process information up to a hundred thousand times faster than the cognitive part of your brain? The golf swing takes less than a second... you need to use the fastest processor you have.
When you use the Cognitive or thinking part of your brain to try to control movements... you are effectively telling yourself you don't trust yourself to execute the movement you have spent so much time training. Peak performance only occurs when you trust your trained movements and allow them to happen... As opposed to trying to make them happen. Research has proven that trained movements are subconscious patterns and when you allow them to happen is when your brain triggers the optimum brain waves for a performance. This is one of the main reasons why it is difficult to perform under pressure. The more important the result is the harder it is to trust the trained movements... So your conscious brain sneaks in and tries to control things.
The Zone trigger distinction between Sensory and Cognitive often creates a lot of confusion.
We use the term "swing thoughts" to describe what's going on in our brain while we're swinging the club.
The term swing thoughts is not a problem in itself... as long as they are actually "swing pictures" or "swing feels" and not cognitive thoughts.
The terms you use are important... but nowhere near as important as what is in your brain.
Helpful hint... The more your "swing pictures" or "swing feels" are connected to the target the better.
Thoughts tend to be very specific and related to parts of the swing and not connected to the target.
They also tend to be much more analytical and attempt to control the movements... as opposed to allowing the movements to happen.
Let it happen.
Turn on your senses.
Turn off your thoughts.
Hit better shots.
If you're throwing a pitch or you're shooting a free throw... you're not thinking about parts of the movement or trying to control the movement.
The same is true for the golf swing.
Tomorrow we're going to take a quick look at some things you can do to start to recognize the difference between Sensory focus and Cognitive focus.
Make sure to check back!