Golf Tips: Bridging the Gap

golfer putting on the green

How to Convert an Intention to a Functional Action in Golf

The process whereby a human converts an intention to action is subject to many internal and external factors that influence the functionality of the process. These influencing factors can either promote “flow” or create dysfunction. 

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The source of these influential factors can be perceived as emotional, physical, environmental, personal preferences, or simply a product of the memory file that is currently active.

Changing or modifying a technique, a habit, or a routine process, whether simple or complex, requires a periodized approach of planning for the change, tracking the progress, and providing feedback along the way. 

Whether an athlete is learning, training, or performing, it is vitally important that the pathway from intent to action is as uncluttered as possible. This starts with having a clearly defined expectation standard and a willingness to hold yourself accountable to that standard.

The most skilled performers appear to have three traits in common:

  • They have a higher degree of self-awareness; therefore, they can create a more clearly defined intention and convert what they imagine into matching functional movement. 
  • They can adapt their GPS more effectively to counter-intuitive dysfunctional interference (emotional / memory).
  • They can self-organize their thinking in order to better achieve optimum brain wave activity, leading to a greater ability to prioritize and adapt.

The learning, training, and playing of golf is done within very different and changing environments. The practice fairway, short game green, putting green, indoor swing analysis room, weight room, home course, and tournament course are all very different environments. 

To give ourselves the best opportunity to transfer our intent to actions, an athlete’s ideal performance state sequence must be trained and repeated with conviction to the process.

Cognitive science uses the term “transfer”, meaning what has been learned in one environment (range, indoor studio), must be transferred to the golf course in training, then tournament play. An athlete’s ability to functionally transfer their competency skills beyond the learning environment relies on a routine process that enables the athlete to tap into the best possible memory function.

Simple Steps for Converting Intention to Action

What are the steps that would best enable an athlete to convert intention to action?

  1. Prepare – Consider the environmental and situational variables.
  2. Filter – Prioritize what is relevant to the moment and visualize a plan.
  3. Plan – (Intent) Commit to the plan emotionally, energetically, and strategically. 
  4. Transfer – (Rehearsal = Commit / Conversion) Align your movement pattern to the plan.
  5. Execution – Verbally recommit, breathe, and apply trigger sequence, execution process, and pause.
  6. Reflect – Pause, respond with present moment intent versus memory-based reaction. Prepare and adapt to “what’s next.”

The athlete’s step process is a personal preference, as individual as the variability of the human athletes. The following could be considered as a mental performance step process that creates an ideal performance state linking (transfers) intention to functional action.

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