Friday, August 27, 2010

Can British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen's "trigger" help you improve your golf game?

David MacKenzie
David MacKenzie
Written by David MacKenzie

Louis Oosthuizen's victory in The Open and the discovery of the "Red Dot" concentration trigger that helped him win has golfers wanting to understand exactly how it works. Here's how. 

The concept comes from a behavioral technology called Neuro Linguistic Programming (or NLP), a fairly new branch of psychology that attempts to improve a person's mental and emotional behavior. The teaching assumes that specific goals or actions (neuro) can be better achieved by "anchoring" (programming) past experiences with reinforcement stimuli such as touch, word or sight (linguistic).

Louis Oosthuizen marked the now famous Red Dot above his thumb on his left glove after working with Sports Psychologist Dr. Karl Morris. During practice, when he was 100% focused and ready to execute a shot, he would look at the Red Dot and "anchor" this mental state with that sight. Then, during competition, looking at the Red Dot as part of his pre-shot routine would automatically recall that feeling and make his mind enter that exact same state.

The goal of NLP is to bring together the conscious and unconscious minds.

In this case, Oosthuizen would first make conscious analytical decisions on how to best play the shot. Then by looking at the Red Dot, a reaction would be triggered by his unconscious mind to adopt the emotional state associated with that visual anchor.

The unconscious mind does not reason, is not logical and makes no judgments. Its primary job is physiological, in regulating body temperature and breathing. But it is also a repository of feelings (hence your dreams) which (if triggered correctly) can be recalled by the conscious mind. In a game where performance can be massively impaired by conscious thinking, bringing the non-judgmental unconscious mind into the shot process can only help our scores.

Confidence plays such a huge role in performing well in golf, so it is important to be able to recall (on demand) those times you felt success. The pre-shot (and post-shot) routine is one of the most important factors in achieving this. Getting yourself into a confident, positive mind-set will massively improve your chances of success. And this is exactly what the "trigger" does.

Golf is an unusual game in that it lasts 4-5 hours. For this reason it is imperative to be able to switch on and off - relaxing as much as possible when you can and conserving energy to give EVERY shot your best concentration. During the intense pressure of The Open, Oosthuizen was able to relax in between shots, safe in the knowledge that his Red Dot would take him into the necessary state of mind to give every shot his absolute concentration and focus. It reinforced his practice and gave him the self-confidence to execute.

The next time you are on the range, practice going through your routine and get as focused as you can be on the shot you are about to play. Give it everything you have. Then look, say or feel your "trigger" - this can be visual, verbal or touch (Ernie Els uses the Velcro on his glove and Fred Couples uses a tug on his shirt.)

That anchor will automatically start to produce the desired action, which is to recall that same focused state of mind. When you hit a good shot, anchor that too in the same way. Then try it on the course and make your new "trigger" part of your routine. This will tell your unconscious mind to adopt that optimal state of mind and you will be ready to play the shot as best you can.

The Golf State of Mind Audio Teaching has been designed as a tool to optimize your mind to ensure that you get closer to your potential EVERY time you practice and play. By using techniques to increase your powers of imagination, visualization and feel, you will discover a whole new, and more powerful, approach to golf game improvement. Listen to it on the way to the golf course or practice range and you will start to play fearlessly, remove negative interferences and become transformed into a better and happier golfer. Through learning how to synchronize your body and mind with visual and feel based exercises and learning a consistent approach to each shot, good golf will become a simple subconscious process. Don't continue to waste any more time practicing in the wrong way!!!
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1 comment:

Walter Percy said...

Connecting the subconscious and the conscious mind, is a good way to achieve optimal performance in any game.

The red dot follows the same principle applied to golf putting aids. Through consistent strokes, the body would be able to get accustomed to certain way of putting. That way, when actual game comes, the body will naturally position itself in the same manner. Thus perfecting the putt. Hence, simulation resulting to a habit is the goal of most golf putting training aids and other golf performance enhancement gears.

Very interesting post. Thanks!