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


iacas
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When I read Gallwey's "the Inner Game of Golf" years ago, I came to a similar, yet quite opposite, conclusion. From listening to pro's on interviews to my own experience, I realized good golfers came in two distinct categories: 1) very smart individuals who had found ways to harness the power of their thinking minds, yet still let their subconscious body actually 'play' the shots, and 2) fairly thick individuals, who have difficulty holding two different thoughts in their head at one time.

I haven't read that book, but I agree with what the author is saying. In my personal experience playing sports, I find that when I over think and over analyse in the moment, I do horrible. When I was younger, my coaches would always just tell me "don't think, just react". But as a person who has played (and coached rugby), basketball and baseball/softball I needed to know exactly what to do and why I was doing it. I needed practice time to put the theory and the practice together. But on game days I relied on muscle memory and adrenaline to get the job done. I found that I made the biggest mistakes when I let myself overthink what I was doing or what I was about to do. So it was really a matter of separating my knowlege of very specific things that needed to be done, with the actual act of doing them. It's hard, it's really really hard. But after the game, I was always able to reflect and see why I missed that tackle or why my throw free throw was off, etc.

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  • 2 months later...

This is a very interesting topic, especially for those of us who get a thousand swing thoughts going. In other sports you don't dwell on body mechanics like golf, when you shoot a basketball you don't think "my hand here, legs here etc, you may THINK good form, bowling, darts, billiards, you think target, maybe where to strike the ball in pool, but not grip, or pressure, stance, almost no conscious thought of body movement  its all reaction (by the body) to achieve said goal. Monkey see (target objective) Monkey do (make said object go there). As soon an someone comes up the "five hour stop the analytic mind drink" I'm buying.....

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  • 2 months later...
How then would you know as a beginner if you are being given good advice or bad?


Good question.

Unfortunately, you wouldn't. That's one of the many reasons it's so hard to improve at this game. IMO though, the biggest thing to combat this besides playing and practicing a lot is studying all the information that's out there. Absorb it as much as you can with an open mind, and always stay open minded. From there, you'll just have to pray and hope you're smart enough to be able to tell the difference between good and bad advice. Some people are incapable of that.

I've been a member of this site since all the way back in 2008 and have spent waaaaay to much of my time reading about golf, watching slow motion swings, getting lessons from a variety of people, watching random Youtube instructors, reading books and golf magazines, and all that… in my opinion, @iacas and @mvmac have put in an inordinate amount of time figuring out a bunch of this stuff for the rest of us so it's easier for us to process. Don't be afraid to go through their posting history and reading what they have to say.

Having a curiosity to learn as much as you can about the game will strengthen the hell out of your ability to filter out bad information. This might take you a few years to get good at, but it's worth the time, I think. And you'll be in a much better position in being able to choose an instructor, if you decide to go that route one day.

When I first started playing this game, the one thing I knew was that there were waves upon waves of people who had spent their lifetimes in the world of golf. I didn't pick up the game until I was an adult, so I knew the advantage of learning as a child had been lost forever. I didn't want to waste any more time than I already had because I knew that time was finite and pretty quickly I'd run out of it. I wanted to learn whatever information those people who came before me had left behind so I wouldn't have to learn it on my own by myself… because frankly, it only took my first range session to realize that going through this game uninformed might leave me in a state of bad golf for my entire life.

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Constantine

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How then would you know as a beginner if you are being given good advice or bad?

Quick answer is find an instructor on this list. Quint van der Berg is in Cape Town.

http://5sk.com/index.php/site/find

And this

http://thesandtrap.com/b/playing_tips/the_instructor_quiz_nine_questions_youve_gotta_ask

Mike McLoughlin

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  • 3 months later...

So I have read this thread with interest.  I am very analytical and coached high school track in my younger days.  I have a degree in kinesiology.  So being a stupid monkey is not really in my genetic makeup.  But when I started lessons over two years ago, I told myself that I would just do what my instructor told me to do.  I do think about the physics of it an how it is connected, but in the end I just do it.  Piece by piece we have been building my swing.  My instructor gives me a key or two to work on and I work on that.  When it is fully implemented, we move on to another key.  I used to try to work on everything at once, but you know how that ends up.  So I feel like I am a stupid monkey in the best sense.  I have learned to simply do what I am told as far as practice goes.  I like the results.  So does that qualify for a badge? :-D

Taylormade SLDR S Driver, 3w, 3h, 4h, 5h, 6h
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Even though I got the badge -- and I do practice diligently and solidly from a relative stand-point -- I know I still have a lot to learn about this and that maybe there are several levels of what being a stupid monkey really means. I can always practice better. And I can always focus better on what that practice should be. I do mirror work and take my time between shots on the range, but I can do a lot more, particularly between the ears. There has to be trust and a commitment to what I'm doing because lord knows that the guys who give me the correct information have earned it at this point.

I will continue to strive towards being the best stupid monkey I can be.

Constantine

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One of these days, I need to find a way to do a good self-evaluation and see if I should nominate myself for the badge. I feel that doing this is part of why I'm succeeding, and I think evolvr is set up so that I can do the "stupid monkey" thing.

-- Michael | My swing! 

"You think you're Jim Furyk. That's why your phone is never charged." - message from my mother

Driver:  Titleist 915D2.  4-wood:  Titleist 917F2.  Titleist TS2 19 degree hybrid.  Another hybrid in here too.  Irons 5-U, Ping G400.  Wedges negotiable (currently 54 degree Cleveland, 58 degree Titleist) Edel putter. 

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One of these days, I need to find a way to do a good self-evaluation and see if I should nominate myself for the badge. I feel that doing this is part of why I'm succeeding, and I think evolvr is set up so that I can do the "stupid monkey" thing.

:-)

http://thesandtrap.com/t/67572/nominate-a-stupid-monkey/18#post_1151594

Mike McLoughlin

Check out my friends on Evolvr!
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  • 2 weeks later...

i have been practicing on my take away as it is all out of sorts.

At the range I just kill it over and over again. My issue is that when I address the ball at the course I pause and then that is when the thoughts get in my head.

So I have started working on taking 2 practice swings, address ball and hit rather quickly. This takes my mind out of my swing and allows me act on instinct.

In my Grom:

Driver-Taylormade 10.5 Woods- Taylomade 3 wood, taylormade 4 Hybrid
Irons- Callaway Big Berthas 5i - GW Wedges- Titles Volkey  Putter- Odyssey protype #9
Ball- Bridgestone E6
All grips Golf Pride

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  • 1 month later...

I seem to have had my badge removed for some reason. I'm committed to the stupid monkey ideal, not sure why it was taken away. Requesting permission to have it back. :-)

Constantine

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I seem to have had my badge removed for some reason. I'm committed to the stupid monkey ideal, not sure why it was taken away. Requesting permission to have it back.

The golf gods found you worthy and awarded the badge back to you.

Mike McLoughlin

Check out my friends on Evolvr!
Follow The Sand Trap on Twitter!  and on Facebook
Golf Terminology -  Analyzr  -  My FacebookTwitter and Instagram 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by JetFan1983

I seem to have had my badge removed for some reason. I'm committed to the stupid monkey ideal, not sure why it was taken away. Requesting permission to have it back.

The golf gods found you worthy and awarded the badge back to you.


Lol. Sweet. Won't let you down :beer:

Constantine

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I'm going to try my best to shut off the "why?" side of my brain and be that stupid monkey.

Just have to trust what you are being told to do is right and stop thinking about why am I doing this.  I think I really messed up my swing with trying to focus too much on the why.

As a side note, wouldn't "trained monkey" make more sense than stupid?

Tony  


:titleist:    |   :tmade:   |     :cleveland: 

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I'm going to try my best to shut off the "why?" side of my brain and be that stupid monkey.

Just have to trust what you are being told to do is right and stop thinking about why am I doing this.  I think I really messed up my swing with trying to focus too much on the why.

As a side note, wouldn't "trained monkey" make more sense than stupid?

You have to have this attitude or you will continue to fight the changes. Some take a long time. You've conditioned your swing with years of repetitions. To change, you have to work at it to "Change the picture", and it may take another year or two.  The simple slow specific practice method helps a lot. The 5 minute daily practice thread in the Instruction and Playing Tips section is a version of this.

Also, may sure that you keep reminding yourself of the previous work as you work on a new piece. I do it by going though each piece you've worked on at the start of a practice. It only takes a couple of minutes. Mapping your swing is an example of this.

You will get there!

Scott

Titleist, Edel, Scotty Cameron Putter, Snell - AimPoint - Evolvr - MirrorVision

My Swing Thread

boogielicious - Adjective describing the perfect surf wave

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You have to have this attitude or you will continue to fight the changes. Some take a long time. You've conditioned your swing with years of repetitions. To change, you have to work at it to "Change the picture", and it may take another year or two.  The simple slow specific practice method helps a lot. The 5 minute daily practice thread in the Instruction and Playing Tips section is a version of this.

Also, may sure that you keep reminding yourself of the previous work as you work on a new piece. I do it by going though each piece you've worked on at the start of a practice. It only takes a couple of minutes. Mapping your swing is an example of this.

You will get there!

Yup, I am 100% into this method now.  I went 5 years trying to critique my own swing only to find out I am WAY OFF.

I am ready to be that stupid monkey and take the why out of it.   I am aware it is going to take a long time and excited for the journey towards a better golf game.

Tony  


:titleist:    |   :tmade:   |     :cleveland: 

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I seem to have had my badge removed for some reason. I'm committed to the stupid monkey ideal, not sure why it was taken away. Requesting permission to have it back.

I never got one, then again I am not entirely sure how to......

Yup, I am 100% into this method now.  I went 5 years trying to critique my own swing only to find out I am WAY OFF.

I am ready to be that stupid monkey and take the why out of it.   I am aware it is going to take a long time and excited for the journey towards a better golf game.

In the past month or so I have let my mind go blank.

I have practiced my swing to the point I know what it should be.

I get on the course and do 2 practice swings and step up and crank it. I dont think, I let my swing do what it is supposed to and what it knows how to do.

It has worked out well. I am down a stroke or 2 per round.

Brings me back to my days of playing drum kit, dont think just play!

In my Grom:

Driver-Taylormade 10.5 Woods- Taylomade 3 wood, taylormade 4 Hybrid
Irons- Callaway Big Berthas 5i - GW Wedges- Titles Volkey  Putter- Odyssey protype #9
Ball- Bridgestone E6
All grips Golf Pride

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Note: This thread is 1292 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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