Act vs. Apprehension: “M” vs. “E”, Part 2

By Dr. Matthew M. Rosman, GSEE
Director of Biomechanics and Sports Science, The Golfing Machine, LLC

In Part 2, the discussion will focus upon how the aspiring student golfer may gradually adopt an “act” over “apprehension” approach so that the engaged execution of a G.O.L.F. procedure has the potential to be performed with the highest level of competency as is possible.
All of us are blessed with a wonderful potential to grow and evolve as we derive meaning from our encounters and experiences in life, including golf. Our golf practice and play activities will include periods of self-appraisal and feedback pertaining to aspects of performance execution conducted by the biomechanical system relative to short term and long term goals.  

Regarding the feedback and review process, it is strongly recommended that the execution of a Stroke Pattern by the biomechanical system be immediately followed by a Competency Appraisal Review (C.A.R.™) of the aforementioned execution, as it relates all specified intrinsic and extrinsic skill acquisition goals. This review includes process and outcome based appraisals.
Competency Appraisal Review will benefit the aspiring student golfer with the inclusion of a comparison of the actual executed Stroke Pattern choreography to the selected G.O.L.F. procedural blueprint technique pathway schematic, as well as a comparison of the actual executed resultant Ball Response Display relative to the Ball Response Display goal.  
  • Therefore, both the TGM technique and the BIA™ performance competencies utilized by the aspiring student golfer require separate, but complementary diagnostic evaluations.  
  • In addition, if the execution was conducted in response to an on-course related strategic management challenge, a review of the outcome relative to the intended goal should also receive a Competency Appraisal Review.  

Mr. Kelley refers to, and encourages, the use of a clinically based, objective, diagnostic, Competency Appraisal Review in Chapter 14-0, of The Golfing Machine when he writes:

“The longer the experience of the player, the more information the Computer will have for comparisons as situations arise. ‘Post-mortems’ of shots are good contributions to this library, too.”

Thus, a “post-mortem”, as Mr. Kelley states, is a critical analysis or review of the Stroke Pattern execution and the resultant Ball Response Display upon its conclusion.
Clinical based appraisals rely upon logic and the objectification of feedback into data analysis, rather than becoming distracted by states of counterproductive emotional upset (about the aforementioned conducted performance execution) that may induce states of apprehension regarding the next performance execution act.

A key basic objective of golf is centered upon the goal of skillful object manipulation.
  • The object to be manipulated is the golf ball.  
  •  The tool of operation is the golf club.  
  •  The force by which the tool is operated is channeled through the biomechanical system.  
  •  The biomechanical system is owned and operated by a specific golfer participant.  
Each individual golfer participant has specific aspirations, motivations, and a passionate desire to succeed.  And, each and every golfer participant will experience some level of subjective based emotional inducing thoughts regarding performance pertaining to each and every execution conducted.

Negative, subjective, emotional based, feedback may create the potential for an internal state of dissatisfaction about how the “self’s” biomechanical system conducted the performance execution “act”, influencing the overall proficiency for objective, focused, concentration for future performance execution “acts”.  The subjective based thoughts experienced have the potential to produce fluctuations in concentration and performance execution quality and consistency by disturbing states of concentration and focus pertaining to both the performance execution act and resultant Ball Response Display.

Since negative based types of thoughts such as apprehension adversely impair the capacity to concentrate focus for desired performance execution, the aspiring student golfer will greatly benefit in becoming educated in a productive strategic thought management approach, by which negative and emotionally distracting subjective thoughts are disregarded through a compartmentalized focus of deriving meaning only from objective based Competency Appraisal Review of the data.

This means that strategic thought management is a skill that can be taught to the aspiring student golfer.  Strategic thought management can be practiced and entrained, just as other golf based skills are, over time, so that the capacity to act, despite the presence of apprehension, to attain desired performance competency may be achieved.  
  • A first step in strategic thought management is to provide the aspiring student golfer with a set of guiding principles regarding how to act (competently execute) despite the presence of apprehension.
  • The next step is for the aspiring student golfer to develop the actual and specific skill-sets to learn how to optimally engage in the performance execution act without being adversely distracted by the presence of varying levels of internal based endless chains of ruminating, counterproductive, subjective based apprehensive thoughts.

A key guiding principle in developing a proficient strategic thought management approach is:

Every C.A.R. conducted by the aspiring student golfer or the Authorized Instructor should not incorporate the use of subjective, potentially emotional inducing verbiage, valuations, or judgments regarding the performance execution act and resultant Ball Response Display.
  • A subjective (de)valuation approach (the opposite of using a C.A.R. approach) undermines competency development, sabotaging the learning process, by diverting the more desirable focus of needs and tasks (objective competency appraisal solutions), to various forms of non-proficiency based, fluctuating, spurts of  “chatter”.  
  • This internal dialogue of “critical” commentary often only serves to stir negative arousing emotions rather than the employment of useful forms of objective clinical based feedback concerning proficiency optimization of the Stroke Pattern “act” by the biomechanical system.  
Most of the self-talk that infuses the conscious mind with an automation of apprehensive emotions is counterproductive or adverse in that it bypasses the desired objective needs and tasks in the present moment. This permits distraction to overwhelm the capacity for calm, centering, and objective analysis due to the influx of emotional turbulence, undermining the focus and concentration required to conduct the performance execution act in as lawful a manner as is possible.

The array of apprehensive thoughts may range from self-criticism, to heightened over-concerns about the dilemma of a course water hazard, a challenging lie, unpredictable wind gusts, the importance of “making” the shot, what others may think, and, so on.

Careful monitoring and revision of verbiage will greatly facilitate the process of reducing focus from e-motion (apprehension) to motion (the act).
It is of great benefit to respectfully communicate, as part of the learning process, that no inclusion of, or referral to, subjective based, emotionally charged verbiage may be used with regard to the performance act, as theact” is an execution only.  Theact” may be lawful or unlawful relative to its application in comparison to a chosen procedural blueprint schematic.  Therefore, neither the student nor the instructor should permit such forms of subjective feedback to be part of any lesson encounter, practice session, or on-course activity. The value of the “self” is not subject to evaluation as part of the learning process.  Only the performance execution “act” and the competency requirement needs should be.

Mr. Kelley’s verbiage and writing style in The Golfing Machine demonstrates a careful technical selection of communication, using objective terminology, and verbiage to categorize that which is productive in comparison to that which is counterproductive, in attaining all of the desired goals for an uncompensated Stroke Pattern.  Mr. Kelly strives to avoid or minimize subjective and opinioned based judgments. He wants the golfer to employ a logic based, step by step procedural approach.  Mr. Kelley also suggests that certain motion based tendency biases toward a resultant Ball Response Display should be incorporated as the hub about which the lawful assembly of compatible components for the entire personal Stroke Pattern should be chosen and integrated (1-H):

“There is little excuse for forcing the average week-end golfer—who has some strong tendency or other—to adopt any procedure or Stroke Pattern that calls for the elimination of that tendency.  It is far easier to develop a Stroke Pattern that properly compensates for it.”

“There is no effort to classify any Stroke Pattern as best or worst, except on the basis of Mechanical Advantage.”

Notice that Mr. Kelley’s classifications and appraisals center upon striving to utilize objective analysis of the scientific method rather than subjective based emotionally charged forms of judgments or opinions about the self. This is a platform by which strategic thought management may be implemented for performance enhancement of the execution (act) despite the presence of states of apprehension.

In the Preface (XIII) Mr. Kelley states:

“Please remember that this handbook is intended to serve as a manual and tries to adhere to a textbook style of writing which customarily eschews selling, debating, reminiscing, opinions and hilarity.”

Furthermore, Mr. Kelley defines key responsibilities for the Authorized Instructor and the Student in 1-G:

“Why trust instinct when there is a science. The instructor can only inform and explain—the student must absorb and apply.  When better judgment is the margin of victory, it is misleading to give unscientific procedures the credit.”

Carefully crafted verbiage and concentrated recognition of only the objective findings associated with all aspects of the performance execution builds the capacity to “act” despite the presence of states of apprehension regarding impending performance.

The following serves as an educational illustrative example of a strategic thought management approach being integrated and customized into a sample TGM-BIA™ Fusion lesson design.  One of the central goals is to encourage the development of an act over apprehension process as it relates C.A.R. skill-building.  For illustrative purposes in this example, this specific aspiring student golfer is classified in the novice category, with both limited intrinsic and extrinsic skill-sets, as well as with limited playing exposure:
  • Assist this specific aspiring student golfer in becoming aware and comfortable that states of apprehension are quite common and normal.
  • Inform this specific aspiring student golfer that states of fear and excitement are emotions which produce similar states of physiologic response in the body. Often, it is the manner in which each specific person labels, interprets, or designates an aroused physiology as being classified as that of “fear” or “excitement” that shapes and molds an individual’s emotional sense or appraisal of various life experiences.
  •  The AI will have this specific aspiring student golfer engage in a process of (in a non-emotionally charged fashion) immediately, logically, and precisely, repeating back the objective feedback statements about the performance execution act and Ball Response Display just rendered by the AI (upon observing and evaluating the performance execution act and Ball Response Display just conducted by the biomechanical system of this specific aspiring student golfer).
  • The AI will inform this specific aspiring student golfer to make known, with full disclosure, of when emotional turbulence begins to overwhelm the ability to objectify the feedback gathering mechanism.  This can be followed by strategies of stress reduction including taking a break, engaging in some positive and pleasant forms of conversation, relaxed belly breathing, and so, on.
  • If a critical type of subjective based judgment is utilized, this should immediately be followed by having this specific aspiring student golfer utter a word of nullification such as “Delete” or “Erase” followed by the replacement to a logic, objective based form of feedback.  For example, if this specific aspiring student golfer stated, “That was a poor shot I just hit” or “I really chunked that one”, this would be followed by having this specific aspiring student golfer utter, “Delete” or “Erase”.    
  • Then, this specific aspiring student golfer will replace the subjective based statement with an objective based appraisal such as, “The execution was out of sequence”, “The motion just employed seemed to lack Rhythm.”, “The left wrist was not flat during impact”, etc.  
  • The AI will educate this specific aspiring student golfer in how to employ the strategic thought management approach to maintain focus upon the components, the characteristics, the pose choreography, the elements, and so, on, of theact” and not to engage in incorporating any “self” (“I”. “Me”, “My”…) language or attachments into the Technique and Performance Competency Appraisal Review process.
  • If (for example) this specific aspiring student golfer is unable to identify a process related snare, then encourage the objectification of the outcome of Ball Response Display feedback from what the “self” did to what the motion, the golf club, and/or the golf ball displayed.  Hence, how did the “act” affect the object’s response display?

Thus, the biomechanical system and the golf club utilization manufactured an impact that produced a specific outcome of golf ball display.  The aspiring student golfer did not “wobble”; rather, an aspect or component of the biomechanical system wobbled.  The aspiring student golfer did not hit a “bad shot”; rather, the biomechanical system conducted a performance execution act (pattern of motion), expressing unlawful elements, relative to the selected technique procedural blueprint pathway map, producing a golf Ball Response Display that did not comply with the defined Ball Response goal (s).

Part III will continue the discussion…..

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