Some Food For Thought...
Whilst neuroscience research strives to explain physical brain activity, its research method restrictions (i.e. number of variables) leave it unable to directly explain the "mind". Consequently, the "mind" is only discussed as epiphenomena of brain activity. Research methods can not empirically define the following model and why I present it to you outside of academia. That's not a problem for me, it explains my reality and if you live a life unconstrained by the research method, please read on.
Ever been in 2 minds?
We have many minds (they are actually different BRAIN regions) and each has a role to play in relation to supporting your belief system, motor skills and ability to focus your attention. I have developed a "Theory of Minds" which describes the relationship between the unconscious, sub-conscious, non-conscious and conscious minds. My goal, as a non-technical golf coach, is to enable the golfer to putt and swing golf clubs using their NON-conscious mind and what currently prevents this occurring specifically is either persistent conscious mind interference and/or limiting sub-conscious beliefs.
The UN-conscious Mind.
Let's start with getting a misnomer out of the way. The unconscious mind is that state which exists when you are asleep or anesthetized. You can not swing or putt UNconsciously although you may have imagined playing great golf in your dreams! The frequent use of the common misnomer highlights the purpose of my work - if you can't clearly define where a problem lies how can you possibly solve it?
The SUB-conscious Mind.
The sub-conscious mind lies at the heart of your self image and belief system. This has developed over many years based on your experiences and what has been said to you. Self limiting beliefs are just memories developed over time so it is quite possible to replace them with others which empower you. It takes time, like building a new motor pattern, but hypnosis works by first quietening the conscious mind in order to access the sub-conscious mind. You can experience improved performance by sitting in an armchair and listening to empowering suggestions over and over again. Please note that you perform many life skills without the need for hypnosis so if you think your belief system holds you back get TARGETED help and work on specific issues.
The NON-conscious Mind.
The non-conscious mind is responsible for your motor skills and navigation through life. This is your work horse in life and can not be improved. It is perfect. It drives your car, makes the tea and manages all your physical activities in life flawlessly, once a TRUSTED motor skill is in place. So what stops it from swinging your golf clubs or using any other tools of your trade? Persistent conscious mind interference. For example many golfers, both Pro and amateur, can spend their entire lives attempting to consciously control their swing and/or putting actions and wonder why performance is so inconsistent. Unfortunately, this is like trying to emulate the performance of a 64 bit computer using an abacus. It destroys flow and any possibility of performance.
Conscious golf limits your potential.
"Playing" golf or any other sport involves learning how to STOP trying to use the conscious mind to do what the non-conscious mind does best - manage your physical movements. Children understand this intuitively and yet adults struggle to play. Take a detailed look at current institutionalised coaching practices worldwide and you may see why consistent golf performance remains elusive (even at the elite level) whilst you practice and play consciously striving to control your swing/putt.
It's an institutionalised coaching method and therein lies your challenge!
Target Oriented Coaching UNIQUELY explains HOW to learn and practice your sport NON-consciously (not unconsciously!). This critical and essential shift from limiting conscious control to non-conscious flow is ultimately the difference between learning to use tools and performing with them. They are very different mental skills and many struggle to achieve performance state due to destructive practice methods.
The Conscious Mind.
The conscious mind is responsible for your intention and directed attention. This can be controlled for short periods of time. When you direct your attentional focus, you direct the conscious mind, and in this moment your intention and attention are aligned. Just as you are doing reading this article. Many advise you to "think less" but this simply leaves you vulnerable to situational thoughts which are often erroneous under perceived competition pressure. The conscious mind loves/hates a vacuum!
Feeling unable to control your attention will result in your chosen sport being no more than a spin of a roulette wheel where you respond to whatever chooses to pop into your mind. This is not very helpful when you need to focus your attention on specific tasks in order to be in the correct physical state with the correct focus. The ability to develop the discipline of attentional focus control is most essential in sports where you have time to think before execution of a task. Golf, Archery et al.
It must be me that's the problem!
Many athletes recognize their performance plateau's after years of working on their technique and often, borne of frustration, believe there has got to be something wrong "between the ears". This is when the mistake of treating the mind as a single entity, like the physical body or technique, typically takes hold and attempts at improving their "mind game" are not as targeted as they need to be. Hit and miss.
When you have cleared out the clutter of limiting self beliefs, enable your non-conscious mind to manage your physical actions and keep the conscious mind engaged with your task, you'll be getting closer to experiencing what if feels like to perform consistently. Rest assured you will never master your sport, just like you will never be able to conquer your minds but take the time to understand them.
I hope this Target Oriented Coaching psychological framework clarifies the need for targeted mind coaching. Academia classifies the above as pseudo-science but there is not an "approved" psychological method which isn't. That's inherent in the practice of ALL subjective psychology. Clearly there is a place for science and a need for targeted mind coaching.
How are you trying to learn, practice and play golf today?
Introductory online course can be viewed on your PC or tablet and available here:
HOW to Focus For Golf - Discover the Psychology of Aiming