Awareness is a valuable function in the process of learning and improving an effective golf swing. In its simplest, awareness can be used interchangeably with consciousness. In order to stimulate the attribute of awareness and a deeper understanding of the body/mind flow in learning and performing a physical motor skill such as a golf swing, I suggest using the activity of observing your handwriting as a conscious practice. Awareness can serve as a tool in stimulating your kinesthetic intelligence.
When you first learned handwriting it required conscious attention in order to facilitate the movement of your arm, wrist, hand and fingers to perform the necessary mechanics. As you practiced writing successfully, your brain integrated the appropriate mechanics into the neural/muscular system of your body/mind. Writing eventually required less conscious attention and started to become “automatic” and subconscious. The next step was to just form a subtle intention in your mind of what you wanted to write and the kinesthetic intelligence of your body carried out the intention by performing the necessary mechanics.
Can you already see how this natural learning process is going to apply in developing an effective golf swing that can flow from your subconscious? It’s a process that we as human beings use for learning any complex motor skill. Similar to learning handwriting, the motor skill of a golf swing first requires awareness and conscious attention. We need to consciously establish effective foundations of grip and posture, along with a conscious understanding of how the tool of a golf club functions. (See the August 2020 Instinctive Golf Blog Learning and Performance on this site.) Developing an effective golf swing then requires a practice of trial and error and failure and success. This is a process where the brain disregards what doesn’t work and retains the successful movements and mechanics into the neural/muscular system (often called muscle memory or motor memory)……so the movements and golf mechanics can become ingrained into, and generated from, the unconscious body/mind.
Just like “successful” handwriting, once we repeat an adequate number of “successful”golf swings and golf shots, the movements and mechanics eventually become subconsciously generated from kinesthetic memory through a subtle intention of the mind. It requires a letting go of conscious control of mechanics because conscious attempts at control interfere with the natural flow of the body/mind in performing a motor skill.
I suggest that you experiment with your handwriting as an awareness practice to understand the connection between your body and your mind in performing a motor skill. Notice the difference in the quality of your handwriting when you try to consciously control the form and mechanics of your writing versus when you just establish a subtle intention and let go into trusting the rhythm of your kinesthetic intelligence, or motor memory to provide the successful movements and mechanics. It’s much about letting go of the mind’s attempts at control. Your handwriting, and your golf swing, will flow when there is no judgment of results and no fear of mistakes. You won’t be consistently perfect, but with awareness, you’ll assist the body/mind in learning the motor skill effectively – by instinctively discarding the unsuccessful and retaining the successful into kinesthetic intelligence or motor memory. Your brain, your body and your mind are all brilliant learners. We can use this learning process to develop an effective golf swing generated from the subconscious body/mind by establishing a non-judgmental experimental golf practice where there are no mistakes, only learning.
This natural learning process is at the core of the instinct-awakening golf exercises found in Awaken Your Inner Golfer. The exercises assist your body/mind flow by learning to feel the difference between an effective golf swing with successful results and an ineffective golf swing that results in “clunkers.” It is a process of learning by trial and error and failure and success. When there is no judgment about the “right way” or the “wrong way” in performing the motor movements and golf mechanics the brain naturally and instinctively chooses what feels good and produces successful results and integrates it into your neural/muscular system so that it becomes “automatic” and unconscious. It does take some patience, discipline and non-judgment in practicing the golf exercises, but the benefit is that these qualities will flow not only into your golf game for improved results, but also into the flow of your life. Awareness of the intelligent flow of your body/mind can bring you joy, peace and a new found trust in your golf game. Try it……trust it! What do you have to lose……maybe only your perceived limitations?!?
One thought on “Awareness”
I think the hand writing analogy is helpful, but in my particular case, I feel a better example would be in learning to use a typewriter or play a musical instrument like a piano.
As a piano player myself, it amazes me personally how my brain can “hear” the melody and my fingers can execute the playing of the melody (right hand) and chords (left hand) without much thought at all. Of course, it didn’t start out that way, but over a period of time with repetition and discarding the ineffective movements, the task becomes infinitely easier and there isn’t much thought involved. It just sort of happens. I want my golf swing to be very similar and can think of no reason why it shouldn’t.