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  • Practice: learning, enjoyment and performance

    Back to the Great Game after a long break. I must say the last 3 weeks have been full of experiments, learnings and aha moments. Before my long break I was really serious about golf. I mean too serious. My focus was purely performance and it didn't go that well. Trying too hard comes to my mind.

    I just watched this video from Fred Shoemaker on how to practice and it really spoke to me. Really love this guy by the way. He talks about the 3 points to includes in your practice: learning, enjoyment and performance. I believe this is the PEL triangle from Tim Gallwey.

    http://www.golfchannel.com/video/sho...plan-practice/

    Anyway, I realise I now learn of a lot during my practice sessions, experimenting and going out of my comfort zone. I also really enjoy myself. Not taking myself seriously. As for performance, well whatever should happen will happen!

    What about you? How do you usually organize your practice sessions?

  • #2
    A bit more information on the PEL triangle from the Inner Game of Golf by Tim Gallwey.

    Granted, the rules of golf say that the goal of the game is to get around the course in as few strokes as possible. Performance is obviously important in all goal-oriented activity. But is it the only goal? It may be the only goal that is measured and scored. But is it the only result that counts? It is difficult for some golfers to see it any other way. But if you think about it, if all you really wanted was a low score, then the easiest courses would be the most popular. But it is usually the case that the most difficult courses are the most expensive and the most sought after. This is not consistent with a single-minded desire for low scores. "Well, challenging courses are more fun," the golfer replies. Yes. I agree, and often more beautiful. Does that mean there is another goal - fun or enjoyment perhaps? Is that a real result of golf? Or do you consider enjoyment just an incidental by-product of a good score? If you had to choose between having a low score and having a good time, which would you choose? Regardless of your answer, it is a fact that for the four to five hours you are playing eighteen holes of golf you are somewhere between misery and ecstacy. And human beings have a built-in preference toward the enjoyment side of the range of experience. So, almost by definition, enjoyment is a goal that comes with us while we're playing golf.

    These questions are quite relevant to the subject of relaxed concentration. Generally speaking, those who value the inherent enjoyment in a given activity have an easier time finding a consistent focus.

    Thus far, we have established at least two universal goals in golf: a performance goal (to score well) and an enjoyment goal (to have the best possible experience). Is there another? What about learning? Can you learn something valuable while playing a round of golf? Is what you can learn confined to golf, or can you learn things that will be useful outside of golf-like relaxed concentration, or confidence, or self-discipline, or honesty? And is it the person with the lowest score who necessarily learns the most? Obviously not. In any particular round of golf, learning and score are clearly distinct achievements.

    So now we have three goals-performance, enjoyment, and learning-that are all present in golf. In fact, if you think about it, they are present in all activities in play or in work. Now comes an important question. Are these three goals related? Do they belong in a triangle indicating mutual interdependence? The obvious answer is yes. If a person is performing at a certain level but fails at learning and enjoying the activity, what will soon happen to the performance level? Likewise, if a person does not enjoy the activity, it may be possible to keep up high levels of performance over the short haul but not the long one. On the other hand, if learning is happening, it is only a matter of time before it is bound to have impact on performance. Most great athletes and great performers in every field genuinely love what they do because of the experience that it brings them-not just because of the extrinsic results.

    You can take performance, enjoyment, and learning as three mutually supporting aspects of sports or work, a relationship I will refer to as the PEL triangle. Many work teams who get caught up in the performance momentum alone don't get the necessary support from the other two sides of the triangle. This can have serious consequences if you are working in an environment of change. Learning is exactly that capability which enables us to adapt to change. It saves much more time than it takes. Thinking you don't have time to learn from mistakes is very time-consuming. Furthermore, learning from experience doesn't really take time because it happens while you are working. I's more a matter of attitude and personal and cultural priority, not time, that gets in the way. I have introduced the concept of balancing the PEL triangle in many work teams, and in almost every case a surprising improvement in performance has resulted along with the intrinsic benefits of increased learning and enjoyment at work.

    The fact is that these three goals are the inherent goals of Self 2, so the simplest way to balance the triangle in any activity is simply to learn to choose Self 2. Given the chance and just a little encouragement, Self 2 always goes for enjoyment and learning. Its best performance is the natural result. This is inherent, but it is definitively a choice. Every such choice strenghtens your connections with Self 2 and increases the probabilities of spending more time in a state of relaxed concentration.
    A few interesting obstacles to learning quoted below from this article.

    https://thesystemsthinker.com/the-inner-game-of-work-building-capability-in-the-workplace/

    Below is a partial list of obstacles to growing capability:

    The assumption that “I already know.” Professionals often feel that they must present the appearance of already knowing everything and already being perfectly competent. This is an obstacle to learning that young children do not share.

    The assumption that learning means remediation. For many people, the suggestion that they should learn means there is something wrong with them or their level of performance.

    Fear of being judged. We learn this early, through teachers and parents who used judgment as a means to control behavior and effort.

    Doubt. The uncertainty we feel when we face the unknown is a prerequisite for learning. Young children are not embarrassed by not knowing something. However, as we age, we are taught to feel stupid or incompetent if we lack knowledge or experience or are unable to perform up to expectations. We are especially vulnerable to this feeling when faced with the challenge of unlearning something. The prospect of acknowledging that we might have invested time and effort in a perspective that is no longer valid can seem especially threatening.

    Trying too hard to learn and to appear learned. This phenomenon is a derivative of fear and doubt, and leads to constricted potential and mistakes. Our errors then confirm ours self-doubt and bring about the very outcome that we feared.
    Last edited by Ferko; 12-30-2017, 05:22 AM.

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    • #3
      Took a few days off so going to the range this morning. I'm wondering if I'm not becoming an Obsessive as described by George Leonard! I should not forget to enjoy myself, I should not forget to enjoy myself, I should not forget to enjoy myself... ;-)

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      • #4
        Hi Ferko,

        This is some interesting and insightful stuff you posted here!

        I can see how it would be easy to fall into "The Obsessive" category described above. I've been playing golf for 8 seasons now. As some do I suppose, I started out as "The Dabbler" with sort of a "take it or leave it" attitude, that is until I noticed some nice improvements. Thinking that I might be able to be good at this, I then decided to invest time and effort into golf to continue to improve. But the "trying too hard" and becoming "too serious" as you said can easily follow. And if you don't watch out, for some, it can easily lead to "The Obsessive" pitfall. From there I suppose one could potentially end up in the looney bin if one isn't careful.

        Keeping things in perspective is important. And at some point I suppose everyone individually has to decide how much importance and emphasis should be placed on golf. For me, golf is strictly a warm weather recreational sport that is generally played six months out of the year. And it's not something that I've ever had a desire to compete in. I admire those who can shoot in the 70's or better, but getting to that level really isn't necessary for me. So I decided after last year that shooting in the low 80's is perfectly okay and fine for me. Thus, going by the four archetypes described above, I contently place myself in "The Hacker" category. If I happen to break through this plateau one day fine, but if I don't, that's fine too.

        In the end, for me and golf, I believe the paramount point is just as you insightfully suggested Ferko, "I should not forget to enjoy myself."

        Edit:

        P.S. You know, I've been thinking about this for the last few months, but posting these thoughts here gave me a sense of freedom. Perhaps just this attitude of acceptance has already taken away the self-imposed pressure of shooting in the 70's that I've put on myself the last couple years.
        Last edited by Cally; 01-03-2018, 04:57 PM. Reason: Add an observation

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        • Schrodinger
          Schrodinger commented
          Editing a comment
          Ditto - My mind is clear of the WHAT and now comfortable with the HOW. I get into posture, do my PMD/Goldilocks, checking that my 'setup matches the picture' , move that machine , making a judgement of where the ball will be in the way, then just 'let go' and swing to the target. I've resigned myself to the fact that I will not hit fantastic shots all of the time but its a lot more fun than before. But I still study the WHAT because I like knowing whether there is some unanimity starting to formulate across the industry (its mind boggling that there are still so many different theories and beliefs out there).
          Last edited by Schrodinger; 01-03-2018, 06:31 PM.

      • #5
        My "enjoyment" part at the range today was to play left-handed (I'm a right-handed player). Bought a lefty 7i years ago and put it in the bag. Took me some time to figure out the grip. After 10 balls or so I managed to hit the 90 meters (~100 yards) sign. Took me some more balls to gain more distance and I was not consistent at all. I hit a few nice shots up to 110/120 meters (~120/130 yards) but didn't go further than that. Fun.



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        • #6
          As a side note, notice which eye you use to look at the ball when playing from the other side and how you naturally turn or tilt your head. Interesting. I read stuff on natural preferences and they call it the "motor" eye. This is the eye you naturally use to apprehend space and movements. Although both eyes are used, one is dominant (kind of the 80/20 rule) and it's not necessarily the same as the eye you use for alignment / aim.

          I only found a video in French on the subject. They talk about a French soccer player named Ribery. He doesn't like to play on the right side because he's right-handed and has a dominant left eye. It means he has to turn his head right to look at the ball with his left eye and therefore cannot at the same time "look" at what's happening on his left side (other players, the field). If he's now playing on the left side of the field, he can fully use his motor eye (left). Looking at the ball, the field and other players.

          If you look at the player starting at 1:58, you'll see he needs to look at the ball on his right side with his left eye then the field / other players on his left side. He has to switch from one to the other and constantly turn his head right (to look at the ball) and left (to look at the field / other players).

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          • #7
            Originally posted by Ferko View Post
            My "enjoyment" part at the range today was to play left-handed (I'm a right-handed player). Bought a lefty 7i years ago and put it in the bag. Took me some time to figure out the grip. After 10 balls or so I managed to hit the 90 meters (~100 yards) sign. Took me some more balls to gain more distance and I was not consistent at all. I hit a few nice shots up to 110/120 meters (~120/130 yards) but didn't go further than that. Fun.
            Sounds good Ferko!

            It's one thing to watch something in a Shawn video like a drill or something and say that's neat, and it's another thing to actually try it for ourselves and see what it's like. I don't have a left handed club, but maybe I should get one. I do however have an Orange Whip that I'm able to swing left handed and it really is a good exercise!

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            • #8
              Hi guys,

              I have dabbled with hitting balls Left-handed as well.
              My reasoning was that, in case my "perception" of the swing was affected by my nearly SIXTY years of playing, how would a NOVICE perceive my instruction?
              I reasoned that from the LEFT side, I was a NOVICE as well?
              Wouldn't WIG concepts allow me to play Lefty?

              Now.....I've found that I can consistently make contact with the ball, but I would be hard-pressed to define my efforts to MAKING golf-SHOTS?

              Just as Ferko is suggesting that your dominant EYE will have an impact....

              So will your dominant HAND?

              I have thus far found it difficult to get my hands to "turn over" while swinging Lefty.

              Either my Left hand is too "weak" to take control (and turn over) or my dominant Right hand is too "strong" and won't give in?

              It is a work-in-progress and I'm staying after it.
              (not on a regular, full-time basis, but occasionally....)

              dude abides
              "OLD" Forum Participation

              Entry Date: 18-JAN-2011
              Posts: 1813
              Thank You: 1048

              "Be water, my friends"

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              • #9
                Hi guys,
                (me again....)

                I also stumbled across this piece about the "coordination" of your EYES and your EARS?

                https://www.theatlantic.com/science/...rdrums/551237/

                This is a good example of how your MIND responds to your INTENTION?

                INTENTION creates ATTENTION.
                Just as your EYES divert to your intended objective, so do your EARS?
                (pay particular attention when the Author reports that the EARS "reacted" BEFORE the Eyes??


                I believe that our OTHER bodily functions will react to our INTENTION in the same manner.
                Key to the golf-swing.

                Are we all REALLY sure that our Intention is "out there" and not "down at the ball"??

                Really?

                Be water, my friends

                dude abides
                "OLD" Forum Participation

                Entry Date: 18-JAN-2011
                Posts: 1813
                Thank You: 1048

                "Be water, my friends"

                Comment


                • #10
                  Last year I got an offer I could not reist. Complete Mizuno MP54, 3 Mizuno wedges, a 3 wood plus a Taylor Made R1, all LH for a very reasonable price. At the beginning it was hard, grip, stance (tilt) etc.
                  But I kept going and tried to get rid of the stuff of normal approach and tried pure WIG.
                  Basically I gave me a task and tried to not take care about the strange feels.
                  Hey, cutting grass 1-handed with the right hand or throwing a frisbee is easy.
                  Success came.
                  Now I warm up often, 1st 10 shots or so are LH.
                  Of course, a good and a bad shot happen one after the other.
                  but there are more and more real good ones up to 90% of my RH swing.
                  Big fun.
                  Mainly if somebody is near to me on the range. I am sure, they think I am a beginner with some talent. If I then switch to RH and bomb the driver to 300 yard I often saw jaw dropping.

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by COSTA103 View Post
                    Hi guys,
                    (me again....)

                    I also stumbled across this piece about the "coordination" of your EYES and your EARS?

                    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/...rdrums/551237/

                    This is a good example of how your MIND responds to your INTENTION?

                    INTENTION creates ATTENTION.
                    Just as your EYES divert to your intended objective, so do your EARS?
                    (pay particular attention when the Author reports that the EARS "reacted" BEFORE the Eyes??


                    I believe that our OTHER bodily functions will react to our INTENTION in the same manner.
                    Key to the golf-swing.

                    Are we all REALLY sure that our Intention is "out there" and not "down at the ball"??

                    Really?

                    Be water, my friends

                    dude abides
                    Great points you made Dude; and very interesting article. Thanks for sharing it!

                    When they mentioned the "vibrations in the liquids within our heads," I wonder if I might have more "liquid within my head" than the average person!

                    Seriously though when I read the article you posted I thought of Jason Day and an issue he was having a year or two ago . . . did you see when during a round of golf he had to stop and lay down on the golf course? They said it was vertigo related to an inner ear issue.

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