Less Is More: Why Trying Too Hard Can Cause ErrorsCopyright © 1999 - 2035 Craig Townsend
A well-known Zen principle is "less is more" - and never has a truer statememt been spoken about golf.
In an amazing paradox - the harder we try in golf, the more we engage our much weaker 'conscious' mind during our play - instead of the hugely-powerful subconscious, which strangely enough, is activated when we try less!
This is what makes golf such a great challenge - we need to use both minds in order to be successful. We use our conscious mind to create our intention (or goal), but we then need to be able to switch it off, and use our subconscious to make the stroke!
The players who have the toughest time are those who think too much - as this is an activity of the conscious mind, which will always ensure that things go wrong!
The conscious mind does not know how to hit the ball; it has an understanding of what to do, but it is the subconscious which contains an archived record in your memorybank of the every single shot you have ever hit in your lifetime - this is where your experience truly resides.
Yes it's true, it remembers everything - about every single shot - including the exact 'video' of each stroke, the feel of the shot, the lie you had, the rhythm, backswing and follow-through you used, the result you achieved, the ball you used, the score you made, etc etc.
Most of this information is never accessible to us consciously, as human brains have been created with a reticular activating device - to ensure we are not overly bombarded with thousands of useless pieces of information - which also blocks your conscious mind's access to the archives of your golfing experience.
This is why you must never try too hard - or else you will be accessing the least-informed of your two minds to hit the ball.
By contrast, your subconscious knows exactly how to hit each shot perfectly - yet it is only very occasionally we allow it to access our game! The subconscious is activated when the conscious mind is basically switched off - which automatically relaxes our mind and body, allowing our strokes to flow much easier. This is why so many players play better in the relaxed atmosphere of practice rather than in competition - this is when they use their subconscious!
So it is always better to err on the side of detachment and relaxation rather than over-trying - especially in practice - the place where you master your strokes and mental approach for competition. Keep this in mind and see if you can incorporate this method into your game.
"The Mind controls the body, and the Mind is Unlimited"
The best of success, Craig Townsend
Mind Training for
Golf Mental Training Program