variants to gene pool through non-random mutations (I use the words non-random,
as the lay person indicates random to be mystical. The mutations are actually
caused by very defined physical laws which we could predict if we had enough
data available to us. But as the amount of variables involved are humongous, making
the whole system very chaotic, but not random). These mutations often cause
variability in the species (such as higher strength, different colour coat
etc), and then natural selection takes over and the organisms which are best adapted/suited
for their environment are left to prosper. What the hell does this have to do with
natural selection (and even on the more macro level of cosmology) also apply to
in the micro level of our bodies. As I stated, the body is very adept at self
organizing. However, it is also very adept at ‘closing off’ variables – it is
why we get more stubborn as we get older. The body figures “well, if it hasn’t
got this old fool killed already, it must be working – let’s ingrain it so it
is automatic”. This is not a good thing when we are looking to develop better
motor patterns – which every golfer is.
of movements during your practice sessions. The body can then take this new
information, and use it to self-organize into a more effective pattern – one which
suits better the environmental and internal constraint of the player currently.
Who is going to find out the more optimal technique in something – the person
who only tries one way, or the person who uses a multitude of different methods
and can pick the best option from those methods?
learn to intentionally hit the ball differing directions (the variation) in
different ways (through change in grip/clubface release/set up position/top of
swing position etc). Through introducing
these variations of movement and ways to hit the ball left and right, the user
can then consciously or unconsciously start selecting appropriate fixes for
their slice. In fact, the human body will automatically start to self-organize
into better patterns without the player’s knowledge at all.
should explore extreme variants of motion rather than trying to make subtle changes
(hit a snap hook as well as a baby draw). This will give the brain and body
maximum information from which to draw appropriate conclusions.
Skill boundaries and improvement in co-ordination
learning) can also help massively in the broadening of skill boundaries. You
will essentially be pushing yourself and the movement into areas previously
unknown in most cases. As with lifting weights in the gym, by pushing yourself
beyond a boundary, you grow and get stronger. This applies to the body as much
as it does the brain.
cognition. “I’ll never be able to get rid of my slice” – well, if you just
learn to hit a snap hook, you have all the tools you need to get rid of
it/control it. You will also find, through your experimentation, that you are
able to perform things at a level you never could before. Through development
of the systems which deal with co-ordination, spatial awareness, depth
perception and proprioceptive awareness, we can really start making leaps and
bounds in our motor skills.
Ever wonder why kids wobble when they walk, and why they love to play? This wobbling and playing is evolution’s way of developing co-ordination skills through testing certain boundaries, making subconscious links between what is and what isn’t successful. When successful variants have been found, the body ‘locks in’ on these through strength improvements and minimizing of flexibility, as well as neurological changes in the brain which make those movement patterns more ‘attractive’ (through myelination, improved synapse sensitivity, firing of electical impulses etc).
Useable and transferable skills
will be of great value to us directly (such as learning the ability to hook it
around a tree, or developing the ability to spin the ball more). But some
skills will not be of direct use, but will be transferrable.
the short game area. I told them to get their 7 iron out, and proceeded to take
them behind bunkers and into situations where a 7 iron is the worst club
possible to use. The guys immediately responded with “why are we doing this? We
are never going to use this shot in tournaments”. What they didn’t understand
is that, if they developed the ability to hit a flop shot with a 7 iron, that
skill would transfer over to doing it with a sand wedge. And as the flop shot
with a 7 iron is so much more difficult, it would make the shot with the sand
wedge seem comparatively easy.
you think Tiger or Seve would be able to do this shot if I asked them?”. There
is no-coincidence that they would be able to. A couple of days later, I found
one of the more diligent practicers on his own hitting pitches. As I walked closer
to him, I saw that he wasn’t using his wedge, it was way too big a club for
that. I asked him what club he was using – he was standing there hitting
delicate landing pitches over a bunker with a 4 iron (wow). He then told me
that his ability to pitches the ball got so easy after his 7 iron session with
me that he was now seeing how far he could push his boundaries.