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The Virtue of Being a Stupid Monkey (and How it can Help Your Golf Game) - Page 4

post #55 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogielicious View Post

OK, back on topic.  Is it possible to be a "stupid" stupid monkey?  Sometimes I get so focused on working one key or item, that I don't notice I have drifted off the other keys.

This winter, I worked on keys 1, 2 & 3 primarily because I was indoors.  Worked out well.  Come spring, I really wanted to work on my accuracy, so keys 4 & 5 come into play.  My miss has been a push fade, especially with the driver.  I have been very focused on working on Key 5, but was still struggling.  Then, while reading a thread about body alignment and seeing James video on hitting a draw with the driver and body alignment, it dawned on me that I have completely forgotten about my shoulder and hip alignment at set up.  

I went to the range yesterday, replicated what I was doing and sure enough, I was way off.  Then I went back to basics and just focused only on shoulder and hip alignment at set up, and everything straightened out.  I was even able to purposely draw or fade the driver just by set up thinking about nothing else.

I strive to be a stupid monkey, but because I am so frickin' analytical, I worry that I will forget the basics.  How do I get from Stupid
2 monkey back to just stupid monkey?

This is me! I get so focused on what I'm working on that other pieces that I though were ingrained (apparently not) fall by the way side. Weight shift is usually the first to go which SUCKS because up until I started Evolvr weight shift was what I worked on the most!!! I kinda got it back now but I need to poke my head out if my monkey costume once and a while to take a quick check-up that other pieces haven't vanished.

The other hard part about maintaining a stupid monkey state is that the piece you're working on (provided its the right piece) will start to make other pieces come together, I have to block out those peripheral improvements or I can drift mentally and start to work and focus on those pieces instead of just staying the course and working the piece that my coach gave me.
post #56 of 145

I can completely agree with the reasoning here. I feel like I make my best swings/contact when I just focus on the very basics and don't try to overthink the shot. I just line up for the shot and think "ok, just straight back and through, keep your head down and turn those hips." But I also feel like its easy to not think all that much when your swing is as good as those guys on tour.

post #57 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JacksonJ13 View Post

I feel like I make my best swings/contact when I just focus on the very basics and don't try to overthink the shot.

 

That's not really the point of the post. The point of the post is more about how you have to approach your practice, about how you almost have to force yourself to have two intellectual "levels" of how you view the game, and how most people would do better to spend a lot more time on the "monkey" level than the "theorist" level.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by JacksonJ13 View Post

But I also feel like its easy to not think all that much when your swing is as good as those guys on tour.

 

That also misses the point, in that the pros are slightly more capable of spending more time outside of the "monkey" level, and yet they spend MORE time there because it's the BEST way to get better, faster.

 

You know the joke about how you're not good enough to get mad at a poor shot? It's similar to this: the average amateur is not good enough to spend as much time out of the monkey zone as they do.

post #58 of 145

I'm not sure I 100% agree with this mantra.  At the very least, this advice may not be good for everyone, and possibly good for no one.  I may be misunderstanding the intent of the post, but it kind of sounds like you are saying its better to just incorporate key changes into your swing and move on than to understand the reasoning behind that change.  One thing I have found over the years, and this isn't just with golf, but with anything, is understanding why means you are much more likely to remember it.  I am an engineer so I can probably think of a bunch of weird examples where understand how something works helped me understand it overall use a lot better.  However, one of the best analogies I can come up with comes from my years of playing the piano.  I was never great at piano, but one thing I do remember one thing about learning pieces.  You start out sight reading, practicing each and by itself slowly.  Then you slowly put the hand together, measure by measure, section by section.  Then you start to speed it up, still looking at the music as you play.  Slowly you memorize the piece where you don't need the music.  You still think about whats coming, as you are playing in your head you see the notes coming, the tempo, how each fits together.  This is where you kind of have to be careful.  Since I wasn't very good, I would often just play and play and play without music until the piece went from being memorized in my conscious brain to memorized in my subconscious--what people colloquially refer to as muscle memory.  I could start the piece and literally check out and my hands would just do their thing.  I wouldn't need to think about what was coming next my hands would just play.  However, this invariably led to a situation where I actually FORGOT the notes but could still play the piece.  If you grabbed me halfway through the piece and said "what actual notes are next?" I wouldn't be able to tell you.  If you said "ok fine you may not be able to tell me but can you play them?" I wouldn't be able to do that either.  I would have to actually start from the beginning if I got stopped in the middle.  If I every made a mistake or my momentum got stopped I couldn't just pick up in the middle.  I'd have to go back to square one.  All because I forgot the way the piece worked and I was just being, as you put it, a "stupid monkey."

 

This is my long way of saying I don't see how you can practice correctly and maintain a good swing without knowing why a swing the way it is.  I don't see how you can take feedback from a round or a session of hitting balls and make the right corrections if you don't understand the why and the how of golf.  If your ball start hooking like crazy and you don't understand ball flight laws and the effects swing path and face angle have on the ball, how would you know that you were flipping your wrists or getting you hands ahead of your hips or whatever it might be?  And that is just basic ball flight stuff.  I often hear how the short game and the game of golf in general is about creativity.  How can you improvise if you don't know what does what?  If you don't know how moving the ball back and forward in your stance affect trajectory and spin, how can you punch the ball under trees or keep the ball down in the wind?  

 

If your point is merely to say don't be a tinkerer, then ok.  I agree that constantly making tons of tiny changes to your swing isn't productive.  Perfect is the enemy of the good, and your swing will never be perfect.  Professional help is good, but we don't have 24/7 access to someone to say "hey for the last 3 holes all my shots have been going high and fading, what do I need to fix?"  Or even better, "hey I'm hitting off pine straw and I have to keep it low to get under those trees but it also has to carry that bunker and then stop on the other side how do I do that?"  You need to know how your tools (the 14 clubs in the bag) can be used by you to manipulate the ball based on the situation to do what you want.  Doesn't seem like something a stupid monkey can do, unless he memorizes every possible situation, lie, obstacle, distance, weather conditions he will ever experience and memorizes every possible kink in his swing that could happen and the exact fix for it.

post #59 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdman10687 View Post

I'm not sure I 100% agree with this mantra.  At the very least, this advice may not be good for everyone, and possibly good for no one.  I may be misunderstanding the intent of the post, but it kind of sounds like you are saying its better to just incorporate key changes into your swing and move on than to understand the reasoning behind that change.  One thing I have found over the years, and this isn't just with golf, but with anything, is understanding why means you are much more likely to remember it.  I am an engineer so I can probably think of a bunch of weird examples where understand how something works helped me understand it overall use a lot better.  However, one of the best analogies I can come up with comes from my years of playing the piano.  I was never great at piano, but one thing I do remember one thing about learning pieces.  You start out sight reading, practicing each and by itself slowly.  Then you slowly put the hand together, measure by measure, section by section.  Then you start to speed it up, still looking at the music as you play.  Slowly you memorize the piece where you don't need the music.  You still think about whats coming, as you are playing in your head you see the notes coming, the tempo, how each fits together.  This is where you kind of have to be careful.  Since I wasn't very good, I would often just play and play and play without music until the piece went from being memorized in my conscious brain to memorized in my subconscious--what people colloquially refer to as muscle memory.  I could start the piece and literally check out and my hands would just do their thing.  I wouldn't need to think about what was coming next my hands would just play.  However, this invariably led to a situation where I actually FORGOT the notes but could still play the piece.  If you grabbed me halfway through the piece and said "what actual notes are next?" I wouldn't be able to tell you.  If you said "ok fine you may not be able to tell me but can you play them?" I wouldn't be able to do that either.  I would have to actually start from the beginning if I got stopped in the middle.  If I every made a mistake or my momentum got stopped I couldn't just pick up in the middle.  I'd have to go back to square one.  All because I forgot the way the piece worked and I was just being, as you put it, a "stupid monkey."

This is my long way of saying I don't see how you can practice correctly and maintain a good swing without knowing why a swing the way it is.  I don't see how you can take feedback from a round or a session of hitting balls and make the right corrections if you don't understand the why and the how of golf.  If your ball start hooking like crazy and you don't understand ball flight laws and the effects swing path and face angle have on the ball, how would you know that you were flipping your wrists or getting you hands ahead of your hips or whatever it might be?  And that is just basic ball flight stuff.  I often hear how the short game and the game of golf in general is about creativity.  How can you improvise if you don't know what does what?  If you don't know how moving the ball back and forward in your stance affect trajectory and spin, how can you punch the ball under trees or keep the ball down in the wind?  

If your point is merely to say don't be a tinkerer, then ok.  I agree that constantly making tons of tiny changes to your swing isn't productive.  Perfect is the enemy of the good, and your swing will never be perfect.  Professional help is good, but we don't have 24/7 access to someone to say "hey for the last 3 holes all my shots have been going high and fading, what do I need to fix?"  Or even better, "hey I'm hitting off pine straw and I have to keep it low to get under those trees but it also has to carry that bunker and then stop on the other side how do I do that?"  You need to know how your tools (the 14 clubs in the bag) can be used by you to manipulate the ball based on the situation to do what you want.  Doesn't seem like something a stupid monkey can do, unless he memorizes every possible situation, lie, obstacle, distance, weather conditions he will ever experience and memorizes every possible kink in his swing that could happen and the exact fix for it.

Read the whole thread, your points are addressed and discussed several times. You don't have to be a stupid monkey 24/7 and understanding the why is fine, even helpful but you should aspire to be a stupid monkey when you are actually practicing and attempting to make a change.

When you're not practicing you can analyze and theorize all you want but when it's time to do it, just do it.
post #60 of 145

Man Birdman, talk about an overreaction rant on something. If you actually read everything carefully you would find your rant was pretty pointless.

post #61 of 145

Sorry if it came across as a rant.  I didn't mean it to.  I love reading iacas's posts--they are always really really well thought out and in depth.  So when I respond and share a different opinion, I likewise want to give it the level of effort he did.  And I am by no means trying to say anyone is wrong or anything, I just wanted to give my impression and see what iacas thought since perhaps I am misunderstanding his point of view.
 

post #62 of 145

Thursday I went to the range and only worked on set up and body alignment.  I looked at ball position and the subsequent flight.  For the driver, if I play the ball at my heel (front of ball at left heel), the drive will be more likely a fade.  Further forward it becomes a straight draw (similar to James video on driver and high draw).  For irons, 8 and 5, ball at left heel produces a straight draw. Move it back a half ball and it is more of a push draw.  Back another half and it will start to fade.  I tried to keep all other things equal.

 

For body alignment, I am focusing on keeping my shoulders aligned with my hips and feet.  I developed a bad habit of opening my shoulders with respect to hips and feet that was wreaking havoc.  I strive to have a consistent set up so I never really have to think about it.

post #63 of 145
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdman10687 View Post

I may be misunderstanding the intent of the post, but it kind of sounds like you are saying its better to just incorporate key changes into your swing and move on than to understand the reasoning behind that change.

 

Not at all, no. I'm saying there's a time for understanding. Then there's a time for doing.

 

Even with my students I need them to understand first. That's how they "buy in" to the changes they need to make. They need to understand how the picture should change, and/or the ball flight should change. That kind of thing. But when it comes time to actually do the things, just do them. The time for analysis is done. The time to look for some other problem is done. Be a "stupid monkey" and work on the one thing you decided you need to work on until something else becomes the top thing (which takes WAY longer than most people seem to want to believe).

 

It's a loop. <------ Heck we even have a thread about that loop.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

I think the importance of this loop cannot be over-stated. Again, for the student:

 

Know -> Understand -> Do

 

In that loop, "Do" = "Be a Stupid Monkey". But "Understand" is still in there.

 

"Know" is "what?"

"Understand" is "why?"

"Do" is Stupid Monkey (ingraining the behavior).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdman10687 View Post

is understanding why means you are much more likely to remember it.

 

That doesn't really apply to golf the same way it applies to a field like engineering. That's an intellectual thing, golf is an athletic thing. Golf takes training and practice. If knowing and understanding were all it took, I'd be a pretty damn good golfer and most PGA Tour players would be asking if you wanted fries with that.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdman10687 View Post

All because I forgot the way the piece worked and I was just being, as you put it, a "stupid monkey."

 

The piano example doesn't fit, no. You never stop the golf swing at A5 or something and say "okay, go from there." Additionally, the golf swing is far quicker than playing a piece of music. The colloquial "muscle memory" is not what's meant by "be a stupid monkey."

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdman10687 View Post

This is my long way of saying I don't see how you can practice correctly and maintain a good swing without knowing why a swing the way it is.

 

A) PGA Tour players do it all the time.

B) Good players in your area likely do it all the time. They can't tell you anything about swing theory, but they can make the ball go in the hole really darn quickly.

C) You'd be surprised at how much better you can get if you sever the constant "understanding/knowing" loop.

 

Far, far, FAR TOO MANY people get stuck thinking that if they know a little bit more, they can reach the next level. It's rarely true.

 

Take my own swing for example. People here can attest to my knowledge level. People here can also attest to the fact that I've been working on awfully similar things for the past few years.

 

Why am I getting better? Because I know a lot? Nope.

 

Because I figured out what thing I wanted to improve, and I've spent two years working on improving it. I don't get distracted when something occasionally happens, I don't convince myself that "I've got it!" when I make a few good swings on a range on camera, and so on. I keep working on the same thing. I keep getting better. I almost try to forget everything I know about the golf swing when I work on my piece. I have identified my piece (Know). I know why that's my priority piece (Understand). So now I am a Stupid Monkey, just constantly trying to DO what my instructor (me, in this case, with occasional input from Dave or Mike or whomever) tells me to do.

 

Again, there's a time and a place for "know" and "understand" but those should be about 1-5% of the time. 95% of a golfer's time should be spent in "Stupid Monkey" mode.

 

The Internet - even this site, sorry to say - are full of people who are on a constant quest for more knowledge. And they're not helping themselves. I am on the same quest, but I'm an instructor, and I've learned to turn it off for my own sake regarding my own golf swing.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdman10687 View Post

If your point is merely to say don't be a tinkerer, then ok.  I agree that constantly making tons of tiny changes to your swing isn't productive.  Perfect is the enemy of the good, and your swing will never be perfect.

 

That's similar enough to what I'm saying that I'm quoting it just so it can be seen and read again.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdman10687 View Post

Professional help is good, but we don't have 24/7 access to someone to say "hey for the last 3 holes all my shots have been going high and fading, what do I need to fix?"

 

"For the last three holes" is not a pattern. "For the last three weeks" is a pattern. Even "for the last three rounds."

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdman10687 View Post

Or even better, "hey I'm hitting off pine straw and I have to keep it low to get under those trees but it also has to carry that bunker and then stop on the other side how do I do that?" You need to know how your tools (the 14 clubs in the bag) can be used by you to manipulate the ball based on the situation to do what you want.

 

If you think that's what this thread is about, you're way off the mark.

 


 

As simply as I can state it:

 

Knowing and Understanding doesn't do much to drop your golf scores. DOING is where your scores will drop.

 

Some golfers can take that to an otherworldly level, like some PGA Tour players, but the most "K/U" will help your scores is very, very little. Too many average golfers (I just mean all of you guys, not literally average scores) get too caught up in the K/U phase and need to spend way, WAY more time in the SM phase.

post #64 of 145

I have to admit...this thread (if not joking) is a major breath of fresh air. I consider myself a stupid monkey. I'm not very proud to say it but you are what you are. When you guys are talking about swing arcs, degrees, and blah blah blah...my mind goes numb. When I started playing semi-seriously at the beginning of the this summer...I hit the ball beautifully. Everyone that watched me play thought I had been playing for years. Then something happened, I read (not on this forum) that your swing should look nice and easy...like you're not swinging 100%. This stuck in my head, I felt that I was swinging too hard despite the fact that I was contacting great every time. 

 

For the the last 2 months I've worked on swinging nice and easy, my game has deteriorated HORRIBLY. Timing is off which means everything else is off. Finally...last weekend...on the 5th hold of a 9 hole course, I basically told my father in law and golf partner in tournaments.."I don't know what to do, I'm extremely frustrated and well...f*ck it...I'm just going to swing hard again." 

 

On the last 4 holes I stuck the ball within 10 feet of where I wanted it...every time. I realized something that day, I really need to stop thinking so much. I'm not a genius, although I think myself creative and clever at times, I can't think about anything but swinging hard (though not off balance) at the ball.

Hopefully this good luck and thought process (or lack thereof) will continue into this weekend and next month when I have another tournament.

 

I still need a lesson though. :D

post #65 of 145

I think I want to be like this guy, with this many swing thoughts I am bound to become a good player!

 

post #66 of 145

post #67 of 145
Very nice, that sounds very familiar to what I am working on as well which is kind of neat to see. Luke bee gud monkey! I cannot remember if I have seen Chuck teach before, but I like what he is doing there.
post #68 of 145

I am currently reading, "The Sports Gene".

 

Basically an elite sports athlete, in most sports, are not genetic freaks like we think. There are some who are. Don't get me wrong, certain body types excel at certain sports. But basically its how the brain works.

 

Albert Pujols was tested for his reaction time, by a university in St. Louis, and he basically tested in the 60th percentile with college students. So how does he hit a 95 mph fastball with ease. Its how his brain stores information relative to baseball, and how he uses that information. Basically he can subconsciously discern were the pitch will be before the ball leaves the pitcher's hand. Giving him a so called crystal ball, a heads up.

 

"The Physical activity that one trains in is very specifically automated in the brain. Thinking about an action is the sign of a novice in sports, or a key to transforming an expert back into an amateur."

 

Its harped about in football all the time, especially for a QB, when they say the game slows down for them. Its their brains collecting all this data.

 

A cool study was done by a Sian Beilock at the University of Chicago. They showed that a golfer can overcome pressure - induced chocking in putting, aka paralysis by analysis, by singing to themselves, and thus preoccupying the higher conscious areas of the brain. This is also shown by most amateurs who take a 2nd practice putt after missing the first. How many times have they made that 2nd putt, wondering what they did wrong. Well the wondering and the thinking might be the problem ;)

 

It would be interesting if the PGA tour kept stats on how long it took a golfer from the time they start reading a putt to when they hit a putt, if the shorter duration means better putters.

post #69 of 145

i just now found a guy named cameron strachan; on his website he had on the home page a thing called: "why golfers dont play as well as they should". Downloaded it and read it. tried it out just a few hours ago and after about 20 shots i waas striking the ball very well. it mainly described how most golf instruction is only based on technique and doing something with your swing and he explains how a so-called "natural" swing is much easier to use. ive also seen the same teachings from a man named liam higgins on an article in golf.com. maybe the swing really isn't important? maybe the whople point of the game isnt the swing but simply getting the ball into the hole in as fewest strokes possible. what are your thoughts?

post #70 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by xerex250 View Post

i just now found a guy named cameron strachan; on his website he had on the home page a thing called: "why golfers dont play as well as they should". Downloaded it and read it. tried it out just a few hours ago and after about 20 shots i waas striking the ball very well. it mainly described how most golf instruction is only based on technique and doing something with your swing and he explains how a so-called "natural" swing is much easier to use. ive also seen the same teachings from a man named liam higgins on an article in golf.com. maybe the swing really isn't important? maybe the whople point of the game isnt the swing but simply getting the ball into the hole in as fewest strokes possible. what are your thoughts?

My natural swing creates a soaring slice of epic proportions, so what Strachan say 'bout that?

My "learned" swing keeps it in play and let's me play golf.

I prefer the latter.
post #71 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by xerex250 View Post

maybe the whople point of the game isnt the swing but simply getting the ball into the hole in as fewest strokes possible. what are your thoughts?

Nah, the swing is important. As Ernest above, my "natural" swing was pretty darn bad when I started playing golf. In fact I don't think I physically could swing that way anymore, or at least it wouldn't come "naturally." To me, that seems to indicate that what I have now is "natural." Plus, as Erik and others have said before, nothing about golf is "natural." We're swinging a metal club to hit a rubber ball down a mown field into a plastic cup. It's not like monkeys are doing that out in the wild.

I will say that there's something to keeping swing thoughts to a minimum on the course. There's a level of disconnect between the golf course and driving range that should be maintained. Use the driving range to turn the swing you want into your "natural" swing.
post #72 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by xerex250 View Post

i just now found a guy named cameron strachan; on his website he had on the home page a thing called: "why golfers dont play as well as they should". Downloaded it and read it. tried it out just a few hours ago and after about 20 shots i waas striking the ball very well. it mainly described how most golf instruction is only based on technique and doing something with your swing and he explains how a so-called "natural" swing is much easier to use. ive also seen the same teachings from a man named liam higgins on an article in golf.com. maybe the swing really isn't important? maybe the whople point of the game isnt the swing but simply getting the ball into the hole in as fewest strokes possible. what are your thoughts?


It's the swing that gets the ball into the hole. So my thought when I read nonsense like that, is to completely discount everything else the individual says.....
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