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Chi-Power Golf Part 26 - Want to know the secret to better golf?

It's all about the moment before the shot. If you're anxious about your swing, or just looking for new ways to improve your performance around the course, try mastering the moment before you take your shot, changing your approach to focus on non-action, rather than action, helps you get into ‘the zone’ and experience a state of relaxed confidence, which is conducive to performing a fluid, more powerful swing. Jayne Storey explains why

All motion originates in the mind, yet golfers rarely analyse the quality of their swing by the quality of the gap (i.e. the moment of non-action) before the swing begins. When you review a game you’ve played, or listen to commentary on a pro tournament, it’s mostly a reflection on or analysis about swing technique or the putting stroke.

However, certain clues exist that remind us how important it is that things feel right in the gap before motion – for instance, a commentator remarking that a player “didn’t look comfortable” over a shot, or a putt, and so on.

Further exploration of the gap, this pause before motion, helps us to understand how a player (maybe you) can be technically excellent on the range and yet find it difficult to take that swing to the course.

It can also help us explain why you can play a spectacular round one day, shooting your lowest ever score, and yet the next lose all feel for your swing and hit it everywhere. So what is it about the gap, the pause, the ready-position, the set-up, that’s so important – and how can you use it to your best advantage? Same situation, different results Let’s look again at a phenomenon I’m sure you’re all familiar with, that of hitting a pure, solid shot, one that takes your breath away...only to follow that up with a complete mis-hit a few minutes later.

On the surface, it seems like your swing technique has broken down, all the moving parts out of sequence because you’ve failed to keep your head down, or haven’t rotated your shoulders correctly, failed to complete your backswing, and so on. Look deeper, however, and you’ll be aware that the mental processes that occurred before the pure shot and again before the clumsy shot were markedly different.

Traditional problem solving... The traditional way of tackling poor performance is to learn more about technique, changing your approach or method altogether by seeking the advice of another coach. After all, the swing is a linked series of movements which, for some reason, have broken down – which must mean you don’t understand enough about the mechanics. Right?

Wrong.

Changing your perspective When you understand how the mind~body connection actually works and that the quality of motion begins with the quality of the stillness experienced before you take the shot, you will then be on track to reproducing a fluid, powerful and effortless swing every time. What I’m talking about here is more than just a pre-shot routine it’s a method of entering the zone before taking your swing. If you get your mind-set right before you start moving, the body will respond accordingly.

Psychologists understand this but their methodology is counter-productive – i.e. they will have you reframe thoughts, encouraging a positive internal dialogue and so forth, whereas research now proves that the quieter your mind is, the more able your body is to produce a fluid, powerful motion.

There are so many processes occurring in the mind, brain, and body while you swing that once you start thinking about it, the less able your body is to move efficiently. Experiencing ‘the gap’ correctly Training yourself to think as little as possible really is the key to peak performance. Keeping your mind quiet, focusing, for example, on your breathing, helps you to use the gap to activate the zone and experience fluid motion as a result. And once in that elusive zone, you will experience fluid motion:

* Time moves normally or even seems to slow down a little so that you do not feel rushed but as if you have all the time in the world to make your drive or putt

* Thoughts become quiet, almost background, so that you’re not thinking about what you’re going to do nor analysing the results

* The motion is fluid, feels effortless Conversely, when your mind is busy, when you’re talking to yourself about your swing technique or your performance, your brain starts interfering with the signals to your motor-system, causing a slight delay (we’re talking 10ths or 100ths of a second) which cancels out fluidity and effortlessness and makes the movement inept and clumsy.

* Next issue we’ll look at ways to create a feedback loop between your mind and body, keeping them relaxed and ‘in sync’, which in turn activates your fast-twitch muscles, enabling the correct firing sequence for a more fluid, powerful swing.

To learn more about Chi-Power Golf, visit www.chipowergolf.com where you can find out about personal tuition, talks and workshops, and also sign up for a free newsletter, "The Mindful Golfer".

To contact Jayne Storey, ring 07986 447250

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine





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