Monday, January 7, 2008

True Freedom: Subconscious Success Under Pressure, Part 1

This will be an ongoing series with a Part added daily.

Introduction: The Factors Combating True Freedom

When you played your past best golf were you thinking of your takeaway, your position at the top, or your two plane swing? What are the thoughts that flow through your mind when you hit your best shots? What thoughts free your body to calculate the position of impact which gets your ball in the hole? "Free" is the key word here. You are not free to swing if you are trying to confine your swing to a desired specific position on the course.

The rate of speed your club moves at, regardless of whether you are a junior golfer, college player, seasoned professional or a senior golfer, is too rapid, with too many angles for you to be guessing and checking during a round. Guessing and checking is the terminology used my 4th grade math teacher to describe a less effective method of solving a division problem.

Your swing changes in subtle ways on a daily basis. Every players’ does. It isn’t your swings fault, it isn’t your golf instructor's fault. Golf is a holistic process. To prepare to shoot low scores on command takes years of preparation. The average age of a successful PGA Tour player, one that contends on a week to week basis for a victory, is in their mid-30s. There are the anomalies, sure. They are the players that for some psychological reason, have figured out how to create this freedom faster than the majority. That ability also applies outside the golf course. A Tiger Woods-like competitor is not only the toughest golf competitor, he has the other aspects of his life in balance more consistently than the rest of the playing field. In a recent ESPN article, it was revealed that the period during his father's illness where Tiger was went winless in the major championships, was the darkest period of his life. )

Stevie Williams, Tiger's caddie, talks about how lost Tiger was. Tiger's conscious focus got him in contention for a while in all those events, but your best golf is not only what is conscious in the moment; it is your subconscious, your self-esteem and belief that has been created by millions of moments when you envisioned yourself in the light or in the darkness, or somewhere in between.

Whether you are able to pull a shot off at the end of your $10 weekend nassau, or a $7 million dollar event isn’t based on whether your swing came a fraction of a degree more from the outside of the desired swing plane. It isn’t based on that damn hook that crops up on occasion because you don’t set your hands at the top properly.

The end of a round is when you are most likely to lose a round: you begin to think about finishing the round strongly; you begin to analyze why you have performed well for the previous 15 holes; you consider the stakes and how much you could financially gain from three consecutive pars, how will your handicap benefit, how will your friends praise you; you are prone to getting ahead of yourself, you lose the moment; your muscles are broken down without enough nourishment to allow them to recover sending a chemical response to your brain that causes negative thoughts. All these factors become prevalent. When your physiological response is an increased heart rate, a dry mouth and shaking hands, your ability to find true freedom dictates your outcome. True freedom comes from your subconscious, which is rooted in years and years of trail and error, failure, success and its following perspective.

If your childhood experiences led you to believe you were not worthy of winning and your experiences following that did nothing to rectify that deserving belief, or your experiences in the past year have brought dramatic negative change to your life, 9 times out of 10, that series of shots in the final holes, when your heart rate increases and the heat of day seems to raise 10 degrees, your true belief in yourself, rooted in your subconscious, reveals itself. Those uncomfortable, pressure packed moments when your ass is on the line then becomes the ultimate way to know who you are and how to improve yourself. Following failure in those moments masks itself as a time to fall into inner darkness that perpetuates itself. That darkness, that longing to shake your head and throw a club father than your last shot went, is the reason you were unable to find true freedom in your swing.


What is true freedom and how I can achieve it when it's rooted in my childhood wedgies?


James said...

Interesting reading. My advice? Just hit it close, man!

Speaking of feelings of inadequacy though, have you and your sweetie set a date yet?



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