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FINDING YOUR PERSONAL HARMONY

By Joe Thiel PGA Master Golf Professional

 

As far back as the great Bobby Jones, who said the absolute "exclusion of all thought as to method" is the secret of a good golf shot, the hunt for the personal ideal mental components has been on by many a player. With that in mind I would like to share a bit of what I have learned over the years in hopes of influencing your own personal quest to achieve some of these important internal secrets. If you're like me the hope that these secrets will translate into combinations of lower scores and a heck of a lot more fun.

I have found it quite interesting that most players, even these young lions today, seem to hit the ball a bit crisper when warming up then in the typical competition. It falls off a bit more sharply for the amateurs out there who don't have the time to devote to their game improvements as these players who we tend to compare ourselves to. This scenario is true of all sports and the reasons are many. I want to address just a few of these and hopefully try to communicate thru word some good ideas for you to wrap your mind around.

1. The first is to absolutely understand that the primary cause for error in the golf swing is TENSION. I have made it my business to test all players for many many years in this area and have found 100% of the time when tension is understood and "monitored", (not stopped), every single player improves dramatically. This monitorization or awareness is a major mental building block for internal harmony.

2. Another prime area of discovery is to understand what we call "internal field tempo." This internal rhythm field must be discovered so each player can understand their finest tempo/timing combination that needs to be practiced each time you have opportunity so it naturally and athletically translates into your flow when you play the game for score. Each of us has our own unique DNA and we want to use that DNA in the form of rhythm and flow when we play because it creates such a positive internal chemistry. This all important internal chemistry or our own Ideal Performance Internal State allows us to experience that neat little comfortable zone as it is so widely referred to.

3. The next critical area of understanding is to realize what negative verbal interference is and how it effects internal chemistry. Also what is too much dialog and what is just right. We all have the capacity to choose what we allow ourselves to think about and what we will not. In golf since our muscular system does not understand English, it sure does not make a lot of sense to continue to place verbal demands on it in hopes that it does. It has been dramatically over studied and well documented that all this verbal instruction and constant chatter is a direct cause for the over tightness that I referred to above. From there it just snowballs from just that tiny bit of doubt, to a bit of anxiety, to a bit more of tension, to even a bit of worry/fear. We just don't "trust ourselves" to allow our

athletic selves to hit these putts/chips/shots. We all tend to say at one time or another man when I was a kid I could easily hit that shot but not now. Reason – we have trained hard, very hard to not trust, and true honest trust has been there since we were

born.

Ok, how will you translate all this conversation in order to impact your performances?

Lets start off with each and" every" opportunity you have for a practice session after stretching well, hit about five 8 irons with absolutely no target in mind. Yep no target and also with the mind set of no judgment of outcome, zero effort to control the clubface, path, leg action and the like. Just hit some fun nonjudgmental shots. Do the same with your 6 iron and then once again with your driver. Rate these shots on ability to not be distracted by typical verbal commands of any sort on a scale of 1-10. Now do this again with only 2 shots each and improve on those grades. You should easily start to notice that with no judgment of outcome that there tends to be a bit more flow and softness to your movements. Should tell you something about poor physical and mental targeting complete with visualizations that play havoc in our own mind fields. If you practice this well and often then take that same mindset to the golf course when you play and after initial set up/alignment transfer to allowing the ball to go where it darn well feels like it.

Next, if you have a metronome great but if not purchase one. The one we use is a guitar metronome that has a rich toned 2-2, 3-4, and 4-4 timing beating system. This is important since the short game, putting, and long game settings need to be adjusted. Everyone is quite different in their body chemistry and DNA make up but to give you nice generic numbers lets start in these full shots at 116 beats a minute in 3-4 time. Starting on the high pitch sound of beat one, mid way back beat 2, top position beat 3, and impact at the high pitch of beat 4. The difference here is that we want to teach our lower body this rhythm not our hands and arms. This is huge as it also gives us a quantified way of training our hip and arms arrivals times We want to arrive at our prime lower body impact position on beat 4. Takes a short time to finally realize what great tempo/timing is like and the results are incredible for every single player. The short game is another set of numbers and maybe another article or video for you to well understand.

Finally during your new tempo/timing swings start to body scan for tension. First check in the lower body area for tension and note it. We have found that just noting it will be enough for your brain to take care of the needs to adjust it. Do the same for your upper torso, shoulders, arms, and hands as well. Once you seem to locate the # 1 area of tension in your swing, where it is located and the severity, just focus on this area when you hit shots monitoring a simple comfortable/consistent tension and note what happens. I am certain you will be astounded at the results. Try taking this concentrated tension/timing/non judgmental mental component to the course and see how this new "process" impacts your game.

Joe Thiel PGA Master Teaching Professional

www.joethiel.com

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About Joe

Joe Thiel has spent 40 years helping others learn and enjoy the game of golf.He is one of only a few golf professionals in the U.S. who has earned the prestigious PGA Master Professional designation. The local PGA region has honored him as the PGA Teacher of the Year three times - in 1993, 1995, and 1997. He was also inducted into the Mercer County Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the 'Millennium Who's Who in America.' Golf Magazine has also honored Joe with the title of Top 100 Teachers in America for many years and Golf Driving Range Magazine has also honored him as one of the top 50 Teachers in America. More About Joe.