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GOLF TIP #8: GETTING MORE BY DOING LESS
Have you ever noticed the inverse relationship between effort and success in golf? In most pursuits in life hard work and effort are rewarded; often handsomely. Itís a cornerstone of the American way isnít it? So why doesnít the same hold true in golf? Well, this author doesnít presume to know the answer to this elusive question. However, it seems that, like all the other opposites evident in golf, effort and result is another example of opposites. Try harder get less, try less and get more. Sounds too good to be true doesnít it? Well, letís think about this a bit.
First lets examine the concept of ďtryingĒ. If we try to do something over and over we should, and usually do, improve our level of skill. However, attaining skills does not guarantee execution of those skills. The annals of golf are filled with many examples of very gifted and skilled players, who never realize their apparent potential. There are also many examples of players who are very determined to improve their game who become very successful. Through hard work, and sound instruction, skills can, in fact, be developed and this is of course the cornerstone of improvement. But trying to perform well implies effort and effort in some sports kills performance. Trying implies I havenís really arrived yet in the knowledge that I perform well.
Research has shown that very well practiced motor skills, like putting, for example, are best performed by letting the performance occur rather than thinking, planning or trying to perform well. In other words it is possible to harm performance by trying too hard. Have you ever noticed that eating takes almost no effort. We donít have to think about hitting our mouth with the fork. We just do it! No planning or effort involved here, just habit. This is the essence of learning to play in the Zone. A skilled gymnast, for example, can perform well but if too much emphasis is spent on thinking about what she is doing during the performance the essence of the performance is lost. Often this is what happens during competition, thinking during the performance distracts the athlete from the process of doing the performance. As a result a fall from the beam often occurs.
Now lets examine another concept ďtrustĒ. If I trust that I have the necessary skills to perform well I can feel confident in my game and know that my game will show up during play. I donít have to try, I just know that it will just show up without any effort on my part. When a musician knows that he or she is prepared for a performance and knows that the practice has been sufficient, the music usually just flows automatically.
We can apply the same principle to our golf game and get more for less too. As I often say, if I can get myself out of the way I can play some real golf. Try just letting the clubs play you someday. Iíd be really interested in hearing from you about the results.
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