Self-Discovery with the Inner-Game:Accessing Internal Feedback

Self-Discovery through Internal Feedback uncovers and enhances trusting swings.

Internal feedback is the cornerstone of Self-Discovery and originates from your Athletic Mind. It comes as a matter of feel, as a clear image of the ball flight, and the sound and feel of your club at impact. Most players can correctly predict how they hit the ball – left, right, or down the middle – even when they don’t see the ball leave the club head. They can feel rhythm and tempo during the swing, providing they’re in touch with their Athletic Mind.

The more coherent the sensory response, the more synchronized the swing will become. Each player generates a wealth of information with each swing through this intrinsic, sensory-information bank. Most often, however, players do not take advantage of this information. It is usually ignored in favor of any external feedback from a coach, or aa conscious mind fix of technique. .

Peak performance, though, is built largely on intrinsic feedback during the round itself. As with all the other aspects of the game, it is critical that golfers practice accessing their Athletic Mind intrinsic information bank  so that it will become an automatic process during competitive rounds. External feedback can be a motivating tactic of a good coach, and it can lead to important improvements. But, it is internal feedback that provides the self-sustaining lifeblood to all athletes during performance. The wisdom to hit good golf shots resides within each golfer and not in the heads of their instructors.

Richard Keefe, who has written extensively on the central nervous system’s process for learning and performing golf skills, writes in his book, Toward the Sweet Spot, “The better your sense of feel for the rhythm and motion of the club head, the better your form will be.”

Internal Feedback 

One of the reasons successful players can exercise the post shot process in a matter of seconds is that they are fully accessing their internal information bank. They know almost instantaneously whether their strategy was solid, and they often can sense whether or not their aim was proper. Finally, they often know before they have completed their swings whether there was tension or trust in them. These players have opened the door to this internal information rather than barricading it with conscious, external thoughts on technique.

Keefe has spent a great deal of time studying the speed with which superior athletes are able to integrate external information (yardage, wind, etc.) and internal information (seeing, feeling, etc.) without cognitive or emotional interference. He found that visual and kinesthetic sensory feedback often arrive simultaneously with a strategy decision.

I’ve heard top golfers say, “I’ve got this one.” You’ve probably had that feeling yourself, many times. It is almost inevitably followed by a good, if not great, golf shot. Most players haven’t given much thought to the process that produces this wonderful feeling – they think it just happens. The golfers in my workshops get pretty excited when they realize that they have it within their power to make it happen. It takes work, though. In order to allow the speedy integration of psycho-physiological data to take place in competition, your must practice the integration of internal feedback.

Any player can access this internal information, but it requires effort and practice. A good practice session for golfers should be as much about internal process as about technique. Successful players will tell you they practice more on feel and rhythm and hitting specific types of shots, and even on their pre-shot routines, than on specific swing techniques.