TomTuckerGolf.com

Golf Tips Newsletter
Issue 681 - October 13, 2021
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USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
WGTF "Top 100" Teacher
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach


 

"It is not the will to win that matters, everyone has that.
It is the will to prepare to win that matters." - Paul "Bear" Bryant


Tom's Featured Tip: Mental Game - The "Priming Effect" For Golf

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Mental Game - The "Priming Effect" For Golf

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.





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Mental Game - The "Priming Effect" For Golf

I'm always on the lookout for ideas from other disciplines that can be useful for golf, so I bought the book "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman. It deals with interesting facts about how your mind works, and techniques for using your mind more efficiently in task fulfillment. Most interesting to me for my discipline - golf - were the "mind priming" methods which can have a direct and positive application for golf improvement.

I was about a third of the way into it when I saw an article by David Mackenzie mentioning the book in an article about "Using The Priming Effect To Play Subconscious Golf".

To some people, information of this type is smoke and mirrors - but to me it's gold. Pull one great idea from it and it's a profitable use of your time.

Here are the highlights from the article (and the book). Mackenzie probably summarizes them more eloquently than I would have, either way there are some great takeaways for golf. Enjoy.

The Two Minds

In his book "Thinking Fast and Slow", psychologist and Nobel Prize winner (in Economics), Daniel Kahneman explains that most of our decisions are made using what he calls "System 1" the automatic, intuitive mind.

The logical and analytical mind, which he calls "System 2" is used very little in comparison. The reason that System 1 is used to do the majority of our "thinking" is about energy efficiency - it is faster and uses less energy to operate than System 2.

In the context of a golf shot, you make decisions on the best shot to play using your System 2, but the faster, more intuitive System 1 will be used to play the shot, and itís best to leave it to do so with minimal interference with conscious thinking.

How System 1 (The Automatic Mind) Works

System 1 is a storyteller and quickly creates patterns based on whatís familiar to us. Familiarity is safety, surprises could mean danger. It uses something that's called "Associative Memory" to predict what's next. A basic example would be word association, e.g. if you see a photo of a dinner table and then get asked to fill in the blanks of the word "S_ _P", you are more likely to fill in "SOUP", than if you were to see the a picture of a shower first, in which case you would probably fill in the blanks to create the word "SOAP". The subconscious is constantly linking the recent past to interpret the present and create expectations of the future (and use little energy or cognition in the process).

If ever youíve meditated and watched your mind, you can see how one thought quickly becomes another by associative memory. We respond to stimuli in the same way System 1 is constantly at work, only requiring the help of System 2 if something is unusual or surprising. System 1 is constantly responding to our environment and what we consciously choose to feed it by triggering thoughts and emotions.

For this reason, the intuitive mind can be influenced by something that psychologists call "The Priming Effect", which can be used to get more of the behaviors and actions that can help us perform and live better.

"The Priming Effect"

Studies show that when people are exposed to certain stimuli before doing a task, they are more likely to think, feel and perform in a certain way. I.e. Their mind becomes "primed". In the book, Thinking Fast and Slow, you'll find plenty of interesting experiments where priming was used to influence people to get different results from exactly the same study. Advertisers use priming in their adverts - they know how we respond to certain colors, words, images, expressions and use them to trigger feelings that make us compelled to buy their product.

Let's take a look at some ways that you can use The Priming Effect to control your thoughts and mood on the course.

Visualization For Playing Subconscious Golf

One way to play subconscious golf that I know you'll be familiar with is "mental imagery" or "visualization". This can be considered a form of "priming" by creating an image of a successful shot in your mind, you create a feeling of confidence that you can execute it.

Visualization can be used at other times in the round. Just imagining things you are grateful for can trigger a good mood. I once had a conversation with Dr. Bob Rotella and I asked him about some of the recommendations that he gives his students for playing under pressure. He told me of one mental game technique which is to prime a happy mood and slow walk, by a player imagining they are walking along their favorite beach. Looking at the trees in between shots can do the same thing - it's proven that we are calmer and walk slower in nature compared to urban areas.

Verbal Cues

Words are also triggers and a reason that self-talk is an effective mental game strategy. Using words in your Pre Shot Routine, such as FOCUS, CONFIDENT and FLUID, can prime your System 1 to create that internal state.

Positive affirmations are a form of priming which you can use before or during your rounds, to help you play subconscious golf. Tell yourself you are great!

A morning routine that involves priming can make a big difference in how your day goes. E.g. Setting intentions to be calm, relaxed and confident increases the chances that you will act in this way.

In a sport science study in the sport of field hockey, players were tested to see the effects of verbal cues on their ability to do a performance drill under pressure. The conclusion was that the group that used positive verbal cues before doing the drill, reduced anxiety and improved performance. Words connect to the subconscious and trigger feelings and emotions it associates with them.

Body Language and Facial Expressions To Play Subconscious Golf

Body language and facial expressions are another primer. When you smile, your intuitive mind makes an association with you feeling happy and creates emotions that correspond to it. Walking tall and confidently makes your intuitive mind trigger a feeling of confidence. On the contrary, adopting weaker postures triggers more negative emotions such as anxiety, disappointment and frustration.

Be mindful of how you are priming yourself

Now that you know more about how your System 1 is taking cues all the time from your environment and what you feed it, be mindful of what you expose it to. The subconscious forms patterns all the time to reduce the brainís energy expenditure and keep us safe, and these patterns (or "habits") are being formed all the time. With mindfulness and mental training for golf, you get to shape it and create habits and stories that can lead you to your best performing self more frequently.

Try this, you'll really like it - I know I'm adding more if it to my game.

Comments: TomTuckerGolf@gmail.com

Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,

Tom




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Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at TomTuckerGolf@gmail.com
for more information.

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Sponsors and Affiliates

Buying a sponsored product through any of my affiliate links helps support this free newsletter, and I only affiliate with excellent products that I use myself.  Thanks, Tom






Train with a Rypstick to improve your swing speed and gain more distance off the tee. If the versatility of three different swing weights in one club appeals to you, this is your swing speed training aid of choice.


Click here
Rypstick.com to buy now, and make sure that you enter TOMTUCKERGOLF (case sensitive) in the Discount code box when you check out to receive a 5% discount.




Click here to buy your
Divot Board to drastically improve your ball-striking. Combine your Divot Board practice and putting practice with the included putting lesson drills, and watch your scoring improve!.


Use your club or hand to re-set the board after your strike
Click here to buy now for outstanding Ball-Striking practice feedback

BONUS: when you buy through the newsletter link above, you'll also receive free access to my Putting Lesson Videos ($50 value) which cover: The Elevated Aimline Drill, The Squareness Awareness Drill, The Aimline Accuracy Drill, The Stock Putting Stroke Drill, The Barrier Drill, The Short Putt Channel Drill, and more.







Train with the Impact Snap training aid to improve your hand and wrist coordination for a powerful strike. A Golf Digest 2021 Editors Choice Training Aid

Click here
ImpactSnap.com to buy now and start using a great training aid that can be used indoors or outdoors.




Click here
SuperSpeedGolf.com to buy this swing speed training aid and increase your distance off the tee.


SuperSpeedGolf.com Buy now and get to work on increasing your swing speed now.




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All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach
Cell: (716) 474-3005
Email: TomTuckerGolf@gmail.com
http://www.TomTuckerGolf.com

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan