Intention – Making It Happen
It is assumed that the intention of the putter is to putt the ball in the hole. Risk assessment, current score, and more all come into the strategic considerations of how far the golfer is willing to ‘go for’ the putt. Do you intend to go for the high-risk/high-reward shot? Or does the situation call for a more conservative strategy?
Decision-making is the first component of intention. Past experience and patterns often drive our decision making. One of the most important components of making a decision is to include the subconscious mind since it is hitting the ball. So the process is that you think (conscious) about one option and feel (subconscious) what your body is telling you (yes or no) and then you think about a different option and feel your body (yes or no). The mind/body loves the thought/feel of “yes.” When both of them agree, that is the shot to hit at this moment in time. The choice with the strongest synchrony is the best choice right now.
Once you have decided on the shot to hit or the putt to roll, imagery is used to program the motion. Imagery is one of the most powerful resources you have to set an intention for a successful performance. It is defined as “vivid descriptive input that appeals to one or more of the senses” (sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste or intuition). The brain does not know the difference between what is real and what is imagined. Our research shows that imagined patterns in the brain are similar to real performance, simply at a lower level of activation. Neurons that fire together wire together. So the more often you imagine what you desire, the sooner it will become reality. The mind creates the image, the brain programs the motion, and the body creates the motion!
So what are the images that you can create in golf? The most common image is the ball flying through the air. It is important to also sense it land, roll and stop so the whole shot is programmed in the brain. When putting, we certainly imagine/visualize the path and the ball entering the cup. We can envision the face of a clock to help orient ourselves to the hole. It is most important to see/feel where the ball is going to drop in the hole to successfully program the motion. Listen for the ball to drop in the hole and then feel successful.
The swing is another image you use in golf. You can picture the swing, feel the smooth acceleration, hear the sound of impact or acceleration of the club, sense a great motion, etc. The more senses you include, the more complete the motion is programmed and the more likely you are to create the desired swing. Lastly, we create images of “who” we want to be on the golf course and this is the person that hits every shot and rolls every putt. You want the same successful person stepping up to every ball regardless of the story that goes with the shot.
Emotions are your source of energy to “will” what we imagine and create your intentions. All emotions can provide the energy for imagery and creativity except frustration and sadness. These two emotions drain us instead of activating our system. So you learn to use your emotions to imagine and create what you want instead of letting your emotions run your golf game. Having an awareness of your emotional state is first, followed by choosing the emotions you want to use at any given time on the golf course (intention).
When your mind’s intention to move is translated by the brain, neurochemicals and electrical impulses contract your skeletal muscles resulting in certain movement patterns. A simple rule of intention is asking for and defining exactly what you want by self-talk, visualization, and defining the shot in your mind. The key to intention is making a choice and not altering that message to the body. If the body is getting mixed messages from the Central Nervous System this will lead to inconsistent results.
The THINQ Golf Intention Game is designed to teach golfers to start, perform, and finish! Distraction is added as an additional challenge, and at completion of the shot, the golfer learns strategy by deciding whether to anchor the shot, keep it, or throw it in the trash.
Are you ready to train all of the mental skills required for maximizing on-course golf performance? Become a THINQ Golf member and start Gaming Your Brain today!
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