Over the years of closely monitoring athletes during their practise sessions, I have been surprised by the amount of time that is spent in what I call “Disengaged Mode”, going about their practise in physical form but having their minds disengaged or cluttered during performance.
In a sport like golf, most players have trained their minds to focus on multiple elements of their performance, rarely giving their minds a chance to pay full attention to any one facet of that performance. When we execute deliberate practise, we give ourselves a chance of creating new neural associations to performance and building a pathway to access those associations in future performances.
Deliberate practise is having isolated, engaged focus working on building one element of your performance and one element only! Deliberate practise is self critical, analysing the performance and breaking down all the facets that involve a high level performance. So if you are trying to ingrain a new motor pattern in your swing, you are focusing on that motor pattern and that motor pattern only. The same goes for your mental patterns, elements such as ingraining focus, commitment, visualisation, quiet mind or letting go.
The Post Shot process will consist of a blending of acknowledging elements that you performed really well and elements that you would like to improve next time. Being as specific and descriptive during this period will help your mind store better quality information.
Deliberate practise is more of an analytical, intense and involved process but helps us to really pay attention and get more involved with the elements that determine high quality results. The more we can get involved with what we are doing, the more chance we have of building that performance as a Neural Pathway in our minds, once we build that pathway and repeat that pattern of performance, over time that pattern will become your most dominant pattern. The value in this process is that under competitive pressure, its often our most dominant pattern that will control your performance and impact the quality of results you will achieve.
Our brains are forever changing, but in adults it is only when we truly pay attention to something that those changes last.
If you can add a 15min Block of Deliberate Practise into your practise sessions, you will begin to make lasting change in your Neurological Networks and start building empowering Neural Pathways that will help you narrow the gap between potential and performance.