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Chi-Power Golf Part 6 - Mastering the Mind - Body Connection

Traditional instruction in the game of golf sees coaches pretty much divided into two main camps: those who teach swing mechanics– and those who teach the inner or mental game.

Eastern philosophy and the martial arts view the mind and body as one complete unit and use the practise of meditation, particularly focusing on the breath, as the best way to achieve harmony between these two states.

Applied to golf, this philosophy and spiritual practise can enhance performance on the golf course through the continued strengthening of this mind-body connection to produce a swing that's powerful, relaxed and above all, consistent.

Golf as a martial art

The first step on the path to golf as a martial art is to develop you, the golfer – not just your swing. Learning how to calm your mind and relax your body is invaluable training which can easily be practised in your daily life and then taken into your game, to help you reduce self-interference and get out of your own way, when your nerves might otherwise get the better of you.

The warrior monks at today's Shaolin Temple, practise standing meditation for a two hour stretch every day, and they would have had to have done this as their basic training for anything up to a year, before being allowed to strike out with a kick or throw a punch.

Now I'm not suggesting you practise meditation for two hours every day, but I am suggesting that with a little effort in this direction, any golfer can increase their mental toughness and emotional control. The world of golf is full of mental game theory and mental game philosophy but nothing comes close to offering you the benefits a little personal practise in mental discipline can bring.

The traditional approach

Golf's mental game is traditionally trained independently of the golf swing – almost as a separate part of the game – and is aided by the use of sports psychology and in particular a branch of psychology known as NLP or neuro linguistic programming.

Typically, NLP involves helping the golfer manage their mental state by learning to reframe negative thoughts and encourages better performance through the use of positive inner dialogue – both very useful as motivational tools, especially when learning new skills, practising and preparing to play.

However, experience shows us that when a golfer is actually playing golf, the last thing they need is a mind full of thoughts, including a running internal dialogue about their current performance, complete with half a dozen swing thoughts.

If you've ever played golf in the zone – and most golfers I've met have had this experience at least once, even for perhaps just a few holes – then you know that the experience is one of unity between your mind and body, where you see the shot you want to take and execute it spontaneously, without anxiety or hesitancy creeping in to unsettle you.

In fact, a golfer playing in the zone stops the internal chatter altogether and becomes completely immersed in what they're doing, to the point where they stop reflecting on their performance and start to trust their instincts and abilities.

This state – immersion – or the absence of mental interference – can be trained simply by focusing on the breath, which has the effect of quietening the internal dialogue and relaxing the nervous-system.

“When you exhale smoothly, without trying to exhale, you are entering into the complete perfect calmness of your mind”.
- Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Master

Awareness of breathing is perhaps the single,most important factor affecting a golfer's performance, particularly when they are under pressure, yet it is a concept so simple that millions of golfers are still struggling to let go of swing thoughts and so on, because they are overlooking the power of this easy to learn skill.

So, how useful is this for your game?

Well, I guess that all depends on your relationship with the game – is golf for you simply a knock about pastime for the weekends or do you see it rather as a path to mastery, where continual development and enjoyment of your game rank alongside winning as the ultimate prize?

The profile of a typical reader suggests you probably hold the latter point of view, and if so you're in good company as the great Jack Nicklaus wrote in “Golf and Life”, about the self mastery needed to excel at this most sublime of games.

Again, as in the world of kung-fu – where three decades is about the average length of practise time necessary before one can be called a ‘master' – golf is a game/one of life's mysteries which holds continued promise to those who can unite mind and body to one aim, one hole at a time, one shot at a time, one breath at a time.

Want to give it a Chi?

What's involved in the coaching package (worth the cost of a new driver and proven to save strokes!)?

During a two-hour personal tuition session with Jayne Storey you will be introduced to the art of seated meditation (Zen) and learn how to use the alpha-state to reduce self-interference and as an aid to visualisation. You will also learn an ancient kung-fu exercise to develop your ground-force energy, which as sports-science now tells us, means that the more force you transfer into the ground from the top of your backswing, the more energy is available to power through the ball.

Unique drills will be taught on the putting green and/or practise range, so you can learn how to incorporate the exercises into your pre-shot routine.

You will also be given a personal follow- up programme structured around your work and other commitments, to help you practise on your own. Also included in the package are two special training reports, “Breathing to Win!” and “Power Training”, which are great reference manuals on all the exercises and drills covered in the seschi-Power Golf session, with suggestions for further study.

Get in the Zone – The ‘Alpha-state'

1. Sit upright on a stool or hard backed chair, your feet firmly on the ground, palms resting on your thighs. Hold the crown of your head up, as if it were held by a thread. Tuck your chin under slightly and relax your chest and shoulders. Look down at the floor or gaze gently at a blank wall about a metre or so in front of you. Keep your eyes open.

2. Once you are comfortable, concentrate your mind at the t'an tien – a point inside the lower abdomen, about 2” below the navel. It is important to centre your attention here. The t'an tien/navel is the well-spring of your physical power and your body's natural centre of gravity. As you develop your meditation practise, you'll become more aware of your navel as your physical centre.

3. Relax your stomach. Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth and breathe in and out through your nose. Do not force your breath. Just relax and breathe naturally.

4. As thoughts come into your mind (which they invariably will) simply watch them, as though you are observing clouds moving across the sky on a gentle breeze, and firmly take your awareness back to your breathing.

5. For beginners, it is always helpful to count your breath. Breathe in and exhale, silently counting one. Breathe in and exhale, silently counting two. Repeat ten times, and then start again from one. If you get distracted and lose your place, simply start again from one.


Once you've sat quietly for 10minutes, you will have reached the alpha-state, where your brain waves slow down, you'll stop talking to yourself so much and a state of relaxed concentration will flood through your mind Now's the time to start practising visualisation – a technique all the greats of the game have mastered.

Picture yourself in your mind's-eye, walking out to the first tee, completely calm, relaxed and ready to play some extraordinary golf. You can also visualise yourself swinging well, putting effortlessly, staying relaxed and open to possibilities on every shot. As your nervous-system cannot tell the difference between what's real and what's imaginary, this is a great way to train your mind for success on the course and the more you can envisage yourself making some great shots, chances are you'll recreate these experiences while actually playing.

Getting it done!

- Simply set aside 25 minutes, 3 times every week

- Start with 20 minutes of meditation and finish with 5 minutes visualisation

Before you go to the range or on the course, you should practise meditation for 10 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of visualisation. If you are consistent and make a determined effort, within 3 weeks you will have programmed your brain and nervous-system to stay calm and relaxed under pressure as you'll remember to focus on your breathing around the course and to visualise each shot before taking it.

Clients who are persistent and who have practised like this for 3months have even taken strokes off their handicap, so have a little faith in this simple process and get practising NOW!

For more information please contact Jayne Storey, PGA Approved Mentor

To learn more about Chi-Power Golf, visit 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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