Understanding Right Brain Golf
Get your right brain golf in the game. The right side is much better at creative and expressive tasks, such as reactive movements and motor skills.
Now think about golf. As an activity, it has two distinct phases. The first phase is what is call the pre-swing, and it involves our activity before we hit the ball. It contains our arriving at the ball, analysing the situation we are faced with, working out the shot we need to make, assessing whether or not we have the skill to execute it, selecting a club for the job and beginning our routine, which would probably include carefully lining up.
The second phase comes once we have finished our pre-swing routine. This is the moment when we hit the ball. It is the time when we need to stop thinking and allow the pre-swing work we have been doing to have its effect. It is where we need to experience what we are actually doing. We have pointed our brains in the right direction and now we let our bodies get on with it.
If we refer back to the characteristics of the left and right-brained thinking, it’s easy to see that our left brain is best suited to the first phase(pre-swing), while the right brain is best suited to activities of the second phase(playing). The left brain is good at taking care of the analysis and decision making, the right brain golf is good at acting on that analysis and decision and we must become more reactive to play our best possible golf To further train your right side, you need to start to visualize shots, and try to “turn off” your brain like Jordan Speith says he does when he plays his best..
Right brain golf, the trouble here is that we have too much self-chatter due to the time we have to accomplish the task of hitting a golf ball. In my experience, the dilemma for the majority of us is that we tend to take the left-brained approach into the right-brained orientated activities. We are still analysing and instructing ourselves in the moments when we need to be just doing, and experiencing what we are doing. The problem for many people is that trusting the right brain to take care of the physical action without conscious guidance can feel taking a risk, that we have less control and that we are unsure what will happen next.
A significant number of us will also do the reverse – I’m one of them. Being right-brain dominant (right brain golf), I prefer to do something quite quickly before analysing it. So when I play golf I want to get on and hit the ball without analysing the situation properly and without going through a proper pre-shot routine.
It is important to realise that none of this is good or bad, or right or wrong. It is just how we are as human beings, and the better we understand our predisposition the better we can them In our favour. By identifying which is the dominant half of our brain, we can work on developing the skills of our non-dominant half by practising activities that demand those skills. In my case, being a right-brained dominant thinker, I would improve my performance if I introduced a little more left-brain discipline into my game, and developed a specific pre-shot routine that helped me to eliminate elementary errors. A left-brainer, on the other hand, might learn to on with hitting the ball. The various focusing exercises that we will come to later are designed to eliminate this sort of internal interference