IJGA has partnered with Dr. Izzy Justice, a neuroscientist who specializes in brain function and athletic performance, to help our students become more self-aware and resilient athletes. IJGA students have the unique experience of learning more about their brain function and how to manage their emotions from one of the world’s leading experts on neuroscience and performance.
It Is Not Just About Physical Strength
The critical opening question that Dr. Justice challenged us with was, “how can we become mentally stronger, and how can we quickly recover from bad shots?” These are questions that every junior golfer repeatedly asks but seldom can answer. Dr. Justice takes complex problems and provides simple solutions that every student can practice daily to master their emotions and get into a flow state.
Using an EEG device and proprietary software, which he calls the Trackman of the Brain, Dr. Justice can capture brain waves during various activities. Attaching the device to one of the IJGA students, we observed his brain waves during a neutral state, multiple activities, and meditative state. The difference was drastic, with far more “traffic” or brain activity as the task became more challenging.
Increased Mental Traffic Decreases Golfer Focus
When we play golf, there is a lot of noise and traffic in the brain which significantly inhibits performance, but it is impossible to know precisely what our brain waves look like from one moment to the next. For this reason, Dr. Justice created a simple “red, yellow, green” system to quickly identify when we might be in high, medium, and low-frequency brain activity. When we are in “red,” we can only operate at 5% of our brain’s capability, so high brain waves inhibit our ability to hit consistently good shots. If we can have the awareness to identify when our brain waves are “red,” we can make adjustments to get back to yellow and ultimately to green.
When the student on the Trackman of the Brain engaged in a calming exercise such as deep breathing, his brain waves instantly changed to a lower frequency, alpha/theta waves. In this alpha/theta state, brainpower operates at 80% of capacity, and based on neuroscience research, performance in players enhances up to 230%.
Emotional Control Is Our End Game
After observing the brain waves change so quickly, it is clear that if the players incorporate the right strategies and exercises regularly, they can control brain waves, therefore, controlling emotional temperature. This level of control is a paradigm shift in that we are not using positive thinking or mental gimmicks to talk ourselves into being calm, focused, relaxed, and present. By using fact-based science, the objective is to keep our brain frequency low to think clearly and be our best. Not only is this approach simple and effective, but by its physiological nature, it relieves the athlete of the psychological blame for poor performance.
We know that golf is primarily mental and nothing changes in a round except what happens in your brain. Using these tools to stay green will help you stay more focused and minimize the internal dialogue and chatter that many junior golfers experience.
IJGA Cares About The Mental Temperature Of Our Golfers
This study is the first of several sessions that Dr. Justice will be conducting at IJGA, and we are very privileged to have his incredible opportunity to learn from him. For more information about our programs and all the benefits IJGA offers, contact us online or call at 1-855-378-8177 for more details.