The pro 'zone'......mental?

The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by david s- » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 09:53:05


The following short article appeared in Melbourne's 'Age' newspaper on Monday,
April 21, 2003 - attributed to journalist Michael Cowley :-

".....Weekend hackers have often scoffed at suggestions that golf is 95%
mental, but American research has shown a good game is probably in your head.
The  research has helped explain the mental state professionals often call 'the
zone'.

The three-year study by researchers at the University of Chicago and Arizona
State University may help stroke patients and others with brain injury. The
study compared the brain activity of nine amateur and nine professional golfers.
It found that some areas of the brain related to motor planning and execution
were highly active in the amateurs but not in the professionals.

University of Chicago associate professor of neurology Dr John Milton said:
'There is an area in the brain which is related to the limbic region, which
lights up in the amateur, but doesn't seem to light up in the professional. '

Dr Milton said these areas in the limbic region coordinated sensory input with
emotions, movement coordination and voluntary movement.

He said the amateurs probably activated these areas because they were taking in
too much information. They might be anxious about the shot and were overwhelmed
by data.

'I think the game really is 95% mental, and I think this says that there really
is a reason if you don't get your mental game under control you are going to
inhibit your performance.'

Dr Milton hopes the research might be useful for victims of strokes and other
brain damage. 'Nobody thought that there might be a mental side to learning how
to walk again,' he said......."

So......I think this tells us to blank out 'data' when we are about to make a
shot....and just hit it!

Waddya think?

cheers
david

 
 
 

The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by woods » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 09:12:06

the game only become 95% mental when u've mastered the 100% physical
aspects of stance, grip, posture, alignment and last but not least, the
swing itself.

 
 
 

The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by Colin Wilso » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 10:39:42

Quote:

> So......I think this tells us to blank out 'data' when we are about to make a
> shot....and just hit it!

> Waddya think?

Probably. But doing it ("blanking out the data") is the hard part!

There's also the idea that there are four levels of competence in any
task or skill. For golfers there's:

1. The unconscious incompetent
They play badly and don't even know why.

2. The conscious incompetent
They play badly but are aware of what they are doing wrong.

3. The conscious competent
They play well, but have to think very carefully about what they do.

4. The unconscious competent
They play well and don't even have to think about how to do it.

These are just stages of skill development (or degrees of excellence).
They imply, obviously, that there's a mental understanding about the
skill that will help, as well as just the physical performance of it.
The ultimate is for the skill performance to become so automatic that
there is no mental input at all.

I doubt if many ever reach the purest form of Level 4. That's really
being "in the zone", sort of "Zen like". Type 4 is also often what
people call a "natural" ... or else they've taken 20 years to become an
overnight success. ;-)

BTW, I've seen all these four golfers on the course at various times,
and in my own play. I do find it really hard to break out from Level 3.

--
Cheers
Colin Wilson
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The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by Colin Wilso » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 10:41:56

Quote:

> So......I think this tells us to blank out 'data' when we are about to make a
> shot....and just hit it!

> Waddya think?

Probably. But doing it ("blanking out the data") is the hard part!

There's also the idea that there are four levels of competence in any
task or skill.

1. The unconscious incompetent
They do it badly and don't even know why.

2. The conscious incompetent
They do it badly but are aware of what they are doing wrong.

3. The conscious competent
They do it well, but have to think very carefully about what they do.

4. The unconscious competent
They do it well and don't even have to think about how to do it.

These are just stages of skill development (or degrees of excellence).
They imply, obviously, that there's a mental understanding about the
skill that will help, as well as just the physical performance of it.
The ultimate is for the skill performance to become so automatic that
there is no mental input at all.

I doubt if many ever reach the purest form of Level 4. That's really
being "in the zone", sort of "Zen like". Type 4 is also often what
people call a "natural" ... or else they've taken 20 years to become an
overnight success. ;-)

BTW, I've seen all four of these golfers on the course at various times.
I've seen all four in my own play. I do find it really hard to break out
from Level 3.

--
Cheers
Colin Wilson
------------------------------------------------------------------
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Trentham Golf Club: http://www.trenthamgolf.com
------------------------------------------------------------------

 
 
 

The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by SFB » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 11:19:51

Methinks they might know about brains waves waving, but have no idea why
pros and amateurs differ. What separates amateurs from pros is the mental
discipline the pros bring to the practice tee and green. The sheer
discipline to  practice until the brain shuts off and muscles do the work is
what separates pros from amateurs.


Quote:
> The following short article appeared in Melbourne's 'Age' newspaper on
Monday,
> April 21, 2003 - attributed to journalist Michael Cowley :-

> ".....Weekend hackers have often scoffed at suggestions that golf is 95%
> mental, but American research has shown a good game is probably in your
head.
> The  research has helped explain the mental state professionals often call
'the
> zone'.

> The three-year study by researchers at the University of Chicago and
Arizona
> State University may help stroke patients and others with brain injury.
The
> study compared the brain activity of nine amateur and nine professional
golfers.
> It found that some areas of the brain related to motor planning and
execution
> were highly active in the amateurs but not in the professionals.

> University of Chicago associate professor of neurology Dr John Milton
said:
> 'There is an area in the brain which is related to the limbic region,
which
> lights up in the amateur, but doesn't seem to light up in the
professional. '

> Dr Milton said these areas in the limbic region coordinated sensory input
with
> emotions, movement coordination and voluntary movement.

> He said the amateurs probably activated these areas because they were
taking in
> too much information. They might be anxious about the shot and were
overwhelmed
> by data.

> 'I think the game really is 95% mental, and I think this says that there
really
> is a reason if you don't get your mental game under control you are going
to
> inhibit your performance.'

> Dr Milton hopes the research might be useful for victims of strokes and
other
> brain damage. 'Nobody thought that there might be a mental side to
learning how
> to walk again,' he said......."

> So......I think this tells us to blank out 'data' when we are about to
make a
> shot....and just hit it!

> Waddya think?

> cheers
> david

 
 
 

The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by Puttste » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 11:42:03


researchers at the University of Chicago and Arizona

Quote:
> State University may help stroke patients and others with brain injury.
The
> study compared the brain activity of nine amateur and nine professional
golfers.
> It found that some areas of the brain related to motor planning and
execution
> were highly active in the amateurs but not in the professionals.

> University of Chicago associate professor of neurology Dr John Milton
said:
> 'There is an area in the brain which is related to the limbic region,
which
> lights up in the amateur, but doesn't seem to light up in the
professional. '

This similar science from a massage web site:

"A group was given mathematical problems both before and after a series of
massages and accuracy increased some 20%. Massage also increases beta waves
in this study which shows that one is more relaxed after a series of
massages."
Awesome, huh?
Puttster

 
 
 

The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by Asbj?rn Bj?rnst » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 11:43:43

Quote:

> 'I think the game really is 95% mental, and I think this says that
> there really is a reason if you don't get your mental game under
> control you are going to inhibit your performance.'

> Dr Milton hopes the research might be useful for victims of strokes and other
> brain damage.
<..>
> Waddya think?

Well, I'm certainly a victim of way too many strokes. I think it is a
bit harsh to call amateur golfers brain damaged, though.
--
  -asbjxrn
 
 
 

The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by Howard Braze » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 22:33:10


Quote:

> > Dr Milton hopes the research might be useful for victims of strokes and
> > other
> > brain damage.
> <..>
> > Waddya think?

> Well, I'm certainly a victim of way too many strokes. I think it is a
> bit harsh to call amateur golfers brain damaged, though.

On the other hand, you hit a small white ball around huge lawns with interesting
expectations - for fun.
 
 
 

The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by Mike Daleck » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 23:10:45

Quote:

> The following short article appeared in Melbourne's 'Age' newspaper on Monday,
> April 21, 2003 - attributed to journalist Michael Cowley :-

> ".....Weekend hackers have often scoffed at suggestions that golf is 95%
> mental, but American research has shown a good game is probably in your head.
> The  research has helped explain the mental state professionals often call 'the
> zone'.

> The three-year study by researchers at the University of Chicago and Arizona
> State University may help stroke patients and others with brain injury. The
> study compared the brain activity of nine amateur and nine professional golfers.
> It found that some areas of the brain related to motor planning and execution
> were highly active in the amateurs but not in the professionals.

> University of Chicago associate professor of neurology Dr John Milton said:
> 'There is an area in the brain which is related to the limbic region, which
> lights up in the amateur, but doesn't seem to light up in the professional. '

> Dr Milton said these areas in the limbic region coordinated sensory input with
> emotions, movement coordination and voluntary movement.

> He said the amateurs probably activated these areas because they were taking in
> too much information. They might be anxious about the shot and were overwhelmed
> by data.

> 'I think the game really is 95% mental, and I think this says that there really
> is a reason if you don't get your mental game under control you are going to
> inhibit your performance.'

> Dr Milton hopes the research might be useful for victims of strokes and other
> brain damage. 'Nobody thought that there might be a mental side to learning how
> to walk again,' he said......."

> So......I think this tells us to blank out 'data' when we are about to make a
> shot....and just hit it!

> Waddya think?

> cheers
> david

I personally think there's a lot of truth to this, although they don't
say, IMO, the most important reason why it's relevant to golf.  It's the
old "Train it and trust it" approach that Rotella and others say.

Walking is a skill requiring some level of coordination and balance.  We
don't think about it while we do it because we've trained ourselves to a
level where we *don't* have to think about it to do it.  And so walking
is natural and easy.

Golf is similar but different.  It's the "walk up to the ball and hit it
without thinking" kind of issue.  If you have enough skill to do that,
you're probably better off doing that.  Certainly the pros have this
ability.  Rotella has told some pros to try a "run and gun" sort of
short game--just go up there and hit it, don't think about it.

I think there's a lot of validity in that idea, if you have the skills
to do it.  

I've been in the zone a number of times, but it's always fleeting.
Sometimes it's just 4 holes in a row; then I start thinking about it,
and *poof* it's gone.  Or I'll hit a bad shot and my belief in the zone
(what I'm assuming is my belif in it) disappears.

There have been other times when I'm not necessarily in the zone, but
I'm having a very good round.  I tend to be quiet; it's almost a
deliberateness.  It's not slow, but rather, what I'd assume to be a
particular tempo of play that I seem to maintain during play.  

I'll have to think about that some more--tempo of play (not of swing):
Unhurried, yet not pokey.  

I've thought about the "Zone" a lot--strikes me as one of the last great
frontiers in golf (or any sport).  How to get in it, how to stay in it.  

Oftentimes, I'll hit a shot that suddenly puts me in the zone.  Almost
like something clicks and there I am, in it.  That, of course, has set
me wondering about what it is about a shot that does that.  And, by
extension, how I can produce such a shot on demand when I want to.  

Alas, I'm afraid my skill level is such that I haven't figured out how
to do that yet.  :)

Mike

------------------------------------------------------------------------
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The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by The Re » Fri, 25 Apr 2003 23:51:04

On Thu, 24 Apr 2003 00:53:05 GMT, "david s-a"

Quote:

>So......I think this tells us to blank out 'data' when we are about to make a
>shot....and just hit it!

>Waddya think?

My very best shots are when I have an empty head; no swing thoughts,
no worrying about the hazards, no wind, no weather...it's like there's
a barricade up between me and the world.  The only noise I hear is the
click at contact; I trust my body to execute the swing and just strap
in for the ride.  What's really interesting is that I don't even feel
like my eyes are focused until after impact...

I do that about three, four times a month, maybe.  Most of my other
shots are good, but something creeps in.  My nastiest habit is paying
attention to everything.  If it happens before I hit, I can stop,
recognize it as a consicious thought, and purge it.  Problem is, most
of the time those thoughts creep in during my backswing.

Rick: "check yardage, pull club, get up, hit it" is my exact pre-shot
routine, by the way.  Here in Saskatchewan you usually have to throw
in "check wind direction and speed", but that's becoming instinct now;
very rare I have to throw grass anymore.  When I add more steps to it,
it brainlocks me...I start worrying about alignment, about my
takeaway, all that crap.  If I trust myself, I play decent - and
occasionally, I play very, very well.  When I start thinking and
second guessing, I play crap.

Anybody reading Deepak Chopra's "Golf for Enlightenment"?  I'll post a
book review when I've finished it (about 3/4 of the way through), but
right now it's looking like Rotella for the Golf in the Kingdom crowd
(which would be me :).  

Todd McGillivray - http://cplhicks.tripod.com/
Emailing me?  tmcg at sasktel dot net
"How can you know anything about yourself if you've
 never been in a fight?" -- Tyler Durden, Fight Club

 
 
 

The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by Peter Straus » Sat, 26 Apr 2003 03:00:51

On Thu, 24 Apr 2003 01:48:59 GMT, Rick Rider

Quote:

>When you think, you stink!

>Mostly mental for anyone that has a handicap index below 25 or so.  We
>spend far too much time thinking about which club to use, how to set
>up, worrying about alignment, etc. when we have that knowledge
>already, we simply don't fully trust it.

>If we would just chose the club, usually based on yardage, take our
>stance, and swing the club, we'd do better much more often.

Maybe that's why my best club is my 3W.  I never have to worry about
distance, since I'm usually using it when the yardage I have left is
more than I can get, so no worries about overshooting.  I just take my
stance and let 'er rip!  No mind noise.  'Swonderful!
 
 
 

The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by Howard Braze » Sat, 26 Apr 2003 03:32:53

The new problem is trying to get Rotella's (and the other psychologist's tips)
out of our head so that we aren't thinking of too many psychological tips at
once while playing...
 
 
 

The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by Howard Braze » Sat, 26 Apr 2003 03:30:53


Quote:
> Maybe that's why my best club is my 3W.  I never have to worry about
> distance, since I'm usually using it when the yardage I have left is
> more than I can get, so no worries about overshooting.  I just take my
> stance and let 'er rip!  No mind noise.  'Swonderful!

So you agree with the Mickelson practice of hitting the ball as close as you can
to the green.   I suppose that even he modifies this a bit depending on hazard
location.

My course management isn't designed to get me 150 yards from the green.  I don't
have any particular shot that I count on.   Instead, I just want to be in the
wide part of the fairway and where my next shot is aimed in a comfortable
direction.

 
 
 

The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by Klaus Hein » Sat, 26 Apr 2003 04:54:30

Not sure if you saw my earlier reply titled Re: Tension, but this is
exactly what this Jim Fannin (The Zone Coach) guy talks about.  As I
said before, he works with Charles Howell III, Skip Kendall, David
Peoples, etc.

In a clip from that article it says:

Quote:
>...the amateurs probably activated these areas because they were taking in
>too much information.

The Jim Fannin guy talks on his web site about how the average person
has 2000 thoughts per day while world class athletes have 1000-1200.
I think basically this means they simplify their thought process.  You
can see the actual link here:

http://www.zonecoach.com/GetFile.asp?ContentID=30

Check out the rest of his web site too.  His client list is extremely
impressive.  I already bought his Golf In The Zone CD and I just
signed up for a membership on his site.  I was always really wary of
mental coaches, but this guy offers something for those of us who
can't afford a $20,000 mental coach.  His CD has helped quite a bit.
Great article Rick!

P.S.  If anyone knows of any other links to mental coaches that
specialize in golf, I'd love to know about them.  Post them here if
you could.  Thanks in advance!

Klaus

On Thu, 24 Apr 2003 01:48:59 GMT, Rick Rider

Quote:

>>He said the amateurs probably activated these areas because they were taking in
>>too much information.

 
 
 

The pro 'zone'......mental?

Post by david s- » Sat, 26 Apr 2003 10:20:40


Quote:

> I've thought about the "Zone" a lot--strikes me as one of the last great
> frontiers in golf (or any sport).  How to get in it, how to stay in it.

In my experience I find that the trouble with the 'zone' is that when you're in
it you don't know/realize you're in it until you tip out of it!
I have often hit one, two or even three humdinger drives in a row without any
particular thoughts except the one that says just hit it..it is going to work!
On these occasions I think to myself 'I've got it, by jove I've got it'; my golf
game has suddenly clicked.......but I forget to think about what I am actually
doing to acheive these remarkable shots! Ultimately I tip out of this euphoric
state with absolutely no idea of what happened.....and I am back to my old high
(handicap) standards!

***y frustrating!

cheers
david