Your Mindset Matters

According to human performance research our emotional reactiveness and stress can lead to poor performance by way of inhibited cortical functions like co-ordination, problem solving, and reaction speed. I recently posted a 78 +6 with 64% FIR, 44% GIR and 30 putts. I also didn't register a single 3 putt and only carded one double. That's a significant improvement from my previous round that included 37 putts and two doubles. Fast forward to 3 days later at our first Men's night event where I carded a 91! I had an excellent warm-up, I checked off all my boxes. I felt physically and mentally ready, so I thought! I stepped up to the tee and heard a familiar internal dialogue "Don't top this shot". Although I had moments of brilliance on my outward nine, I didn't regain my confidence until the 13 th hole. Realizing that posting a reasonable score was out of reach, I settled myself down, I stopped tinkering, and I employed my version of what Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott describe as their "Think Box and Play Box".


Sensory Homunculus and Motor Homunculus sculptures at the Museum of Natural History, London, based on the cortical homunculi mapped by Dr. Wilder Penfield. Photographed by Dr. Joe Kiff.


"the worst most destructive force you can unleash on the golf course is anger" Lynn Marriott & Pia Nilsson co-founders of VISION54


Poor decision making is one manifestation of anger or anxiety. We have all stood over a shot and had those thoughts or intuition that something wasn't right, and yet still followed through with poor execution. I knew that something wasn't right, my ball position didn't look right and didn't feel right.


My round improved significantly when I employed a process that I adapted from Lynn Marriot and Pia Nilsson, that essentially ticks off all my preround check points. I like to describe it as my Feel Box, Think Box, and Play Box. It's currently a work in progress and will soon become my time saving process that will help me develop trust. For more on this process follow my IG feed @balanceisking.


In the image above you will see a depiction of something called a Cortical Homunculus. According to Wikipedia, a cortical homunculus is a distorted representation of the human body as it relates to the amount of area of the brain dedicated to processing motor function and sensory information. The amount of area dedicated to any region of the body is not proportional to the surface area or volume of that body part but rather how much information is gathered from that area.


As you can appreciate we interact with our physical world and receive vast amounts of information from areas of our body aside from the obvious places like our ears and our eyes. On a golf course we primarily receive information from our proprioceptive systems, and our vestibular system and sometimes we place too much emphasis on what we see instead of what we feel. As an obsessed golfer I am learning to trust what I feel in order to make appropriate adaptations to the changing surface beneath my feet. Receiving accurate information and interpreting this information is part of the process I'm learning towards creating a reliable feel that I can trust.


Stay tuned to my upcoming blog posts when I dive into optical illusions and optical performance and how understanding this has helped me improve my game.


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