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Are you wasting your time taking lessons?

What are you going to do about your game this season? Keep it the same?

Play more or practice more? Change your clubs? How about taking some lessons? What a great idea! That is the answer, have some lessons and change your swing, improve your technique. Good idea and definitely a way forward but before you do anything HANG on a minute as you may just be about to do something that is a TOTAL waste of your time! So much has been written over the years about WHAT to change in your golf swing. You may favour a certain teacher be that a David Leadbetter or Butch Harmon, you may believe in a certain method be that the ‘two plane swing’ or the ‘golf machine’.

All of that is fine because I am not here to tell you WHAT to do in your swing. I am going to leave that to other people who are better qualified than myself. Yes, so muclip_image004ch has been written on what to do in your swing but so little has ever been written on HOW to change your swing. You see unless the information your receive from your chosen coach or method becomes ACTUAL physical motion then it is nothing other than INFORMATION. Information is fine, it is the starting point but we need to know HOW to change our swings so that it becomes our actual BODILY motion. We may not like to even consider this when so much is talked about ‘muscle memory’ but to actually change your swing you have to change your BRAIN, the storehouse of your ‘swing’.

You have to alter the neural pathways in your brain that send the commands to your muscles. By understanding a little more of how our brain works we can then get down to the job of taking good technical information and making it an efficient golf swing in as quick a time as is possible. Anything else literally is putting a cart before the proverbial horse. I have over the last number of years done a lot of research on this area because it has intrigued me as to how many people I have seen take lessons, good lessons from good coaches but their swings have NEVER changed, not one bit! They have had great information but NOTHING altered. Then after nothing altered with one coach they went to another coach and NOTHING altered with that coach either!!

You may know somebody very well who has been through a similar experience. The more research I did the more it became clear that even though we know so much about the ‘golf swing’ we know so little about how human beings take in information and how their brain ‘codes’ that information. Within the scope of this article it is impossible to give you all of what has now been discovered but I do want to share with you what may be THE most important discovery made by a lady who you should find as much about as possible. Dr Gabrielle Wulf has spent the greater part of her life studying how humans learn motor skills. In a nutshell her work describes the difference between what she calls an ‘Internal Focus’ and an ‘External Focus’ and it seems that one if FAR better than the other when trying to change the swing.

An ‘Internal Focus’ is where you are focusing on your arms, your wrist, your legs or whatever. You are focusing on trying to get your body to move in a certain way but your focus is internal to you. Basically the way that most golf lessons take place. An ‘External Focus’ is where you place your attention on something that is external to your body so it could be the club or it could be the flight of the ball or it could even be your own belt on your trousers but it is external to you. Her research had my jaw dropping with its implication as she proved over and over again in scientifically tested environments with lots of different sports that an EXTERNAL focus was dramatically more efficient in learning than an INTERNAL focus.

What does this mean for me and you down on the range? Maybe we have been trying to change our swing in a way that the brain doesn’t really like. If you are stood on the range focusing on your arms or legs or whatever you MAY just be holding yourself back. Shift that focus to something EXTERNAL and you may be very pleasantly surprised with the results.

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