Fill in the blanks:
"____ing ____ is a wonderful experience
in that no two experiences are ever the same. You cannot make predictions of how any experience will be. Every time you ____ __, it's a surprise. Therefore, it's best to stop all expectations or preconceived ideas we have about the experience."
Playing golf, of course. Correct: "every time you play it, it's a surprise." Or, did you fill in those blanks differently, just as each and every one of us swings a golf club differently (last Sunday's winners from the PGA Tour, and PGA Euro Tour, below, courtesy of my colleagues at TPI)? If so, I'd love to hear your blank fillers...
But, you knew that, right? Or did you think each and every golf experience was going to be like:
- Some other one
- One from day's gone by
- The data, results and/or feedback you receive whilst whacking balls indoors, off of perfect lies into a screen, with machines predicting (there's that word again) where they end up
Surprise, surprise... Expectations. Preconceived notions. More Surprises. We address them all in Train2Trust sessions, isn't it time you had that experience? Scheduled gatherings at Eugene Country Club at bottom, more on T2T by clicking just south.
Read, watch and listen on, boys & girls, to fill in a few blank in your golf game...
Not familiar with this term (I think you are...)? Let me fill in that blank: a practice technique where you mix, blend and incorporate related skills. Oh, it's been around for a while (and an integral part of T2T), yet it is currently gaining more and more traction with cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists. Perhaps, like so many, you've been stuck in some commonsensical paradigm of practice - blocking. Blocking advocates learning/training one skill at a time.
Ironically, when we play a round of golf, what transpires looks, tastes and feels (the experience) much more like interleaving, than blocking. So.... why not simulate the utter randomness of the ball & stick game in the park, instead of something... other? And why not make sure you have the proper ball and sticks in your arsenal, like those my peeps at Callaway design, create and offer (click above for the latest, and greatest offerings)?
Over the past four decades, a small but growing body of research has found that interleaving often outperforms blocking for a variety of subjects, including sports and category learning. You want more of the scientific poop? Voilà:
"Interleaving strengthens memory associations. With blocking, a single strategy, temporarily held in short-term memory, is sufficient. That’s not the case with interleaving—the correct solution changes from one practice attempt to the next. As a result, your brain is continually engaged at retrieving different responses and bringing them into short-term memory. Repeating that process can reinforce neural connections between different tasks and correct responses, which enhances learning."
'Predicting' that today's round will be like yesterday's? Oops...
Yours truly in Trikonasana (triangle) pose from many tides ago. This image magically reappeared in the July 2019 issue of PGA Magazine (whisper out to D. Jozwiak for his interest).
Although my flexibility has waned a bit, some things never get old - like the true medicine yoga represents. Dare we call this "golf specific" (one of the more grotesquely abused terms in the sport)? Perhaps... do you think strength, mobility, balance, focus, concentration and breathing are relevant in our experience in the golf park with ball and stick?
Uh...yeah. And notice the back drop, if you please: the elixir known as "fresh air" (Pacific Ocean beachfront air, specifically) in abundance, no where to be found in those cubicles, cars or golfy domes.
Did you forget to look at the calendar for today's experience? Expecting things to be like yesterday? Think again...
Click on a triangulated CS above, for some legendary tunes and lyrics from a Liverpool-based foursome.
Love was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away
Oh, I believe in yesterday"
The game of golf seems so easy at times, then like a tardy 4th of July firecracker - KABOOM - you feel as if you've never touched a club before, huh? And yes, you too are looking for a place to hide away.
I understand. How can it be, you ask? Thinking about the same things. Focusing on the same motions. Trying your best to make the same swings as when your golf ball was behaving. Yet nothing works...
But it's not yesterday, nothing is the same, all is in flux. It's the present. The here. The now. Surprise!!! How to proceed? Consider:
- Accepting &acknowledging
You've heard this term in my missives before (time and time again, actually) - for a good reason: 'tis one of the missing links in progressing in our 'wonderful golf experience.'
Catching on (and up) with a couple of other performers:
The former Tom Brady backup is working on his mechanics this off-season with quarterback guru Tom House, and:
"We're trying to implement drills as close to game-like situations as you could get to."
Are you? Implementing round-of-golf-like situations (experiences) into your practice? Variety, consequence and no do-overs, to name but a few. If not, don't be surprised when your golf ball does react like it does when being tracked with a weather-predicting radar into a drive-in movie screen...
You catch this (click on a wide awake T-Dub above)? TW's 1 AM ET wake up message from earlier in the week? And you thought cats slept all the time...
What gives? Context specific circadian rhythms give, that's what. Acclimating his mind, body & spirit to Northern Ireland (pity he doesn't have an other-wordly links layout, à la Royal Portrush, below, to tinker around on..), site of next week's Open Championship. He's prepping best he can back in FLA; proper attire (click below for some Nike Golf offerings) can certainly help.
Surprised (yet again?) that your #skillbuilding under a roof is not transferring (why practice at all if it's not gonna help during the actual golf experience?) when it matters? I'm not.
Coaching & Guidance
LEARNING ALERT!!! I intentionally misguided you up top re those blanks that needed filling, did you notice? Gave you the answer, instead of letting you discover it. "Playing golf" fits in convincingly, does it not - but what else might work in there (the questions we must ask when how best to swing a club, and play this game)?
We are all impressionable, vulnerable, even desperate at times, for answers, solutions - even a magic, cure-all potion at times. Our self-appointed (#considerthesource) SM & Interweb 'golf experts' and marketers are keenly aware of this, ready to pounce on your links-related insecurities.
Yet learning that lasts (isn't that what you want of your practice?) is about you filling in the blanks, with some feedback, direction and encouragement from a golf guide.
Dr. Mark Guadagnoli:
"Learning isn't about getting the answer right, but rather about figuring out how to solve the problem."
Train2Trust guided practice sessions in July, 2019:
Saturday, July 13, 10:00 - 11:30 AM
Saturday, July 27, 10:00 - 11:30 AM
Plus: individual and small group guidance at Eugene Country Club, or a facility near you.
"When we are stuck in our convictions and personas, we enter into the disease of having good ideas and being right… We think we have a lock on truth, with our burnished surfaces and articulation, but the bigger we pump ourselves up, the easier we are to prick with a pin. And the bigger we get, the harder it is to see the earth under our feet.”
-- Anne Lamott
~ CS ~