Serious Golfers: You need to watch this video (The Talent Code)

Talent Code audio (link)

The video below is of Daniel Coyle. He’s the author of the Talent Code and it’s a book that should be on your reading list. If you don’t read much, then get this book and while you’re at it, get this one and this one too. It will be worth your time, I promise.

The video goes for 18 minutes. This too will be worth your time. There’s some amazing insight into the learning process and it helps explain a lot of what I bang on about here. Watch the video and I’ll see you below for my comments on how it relates to golf, the learning process and Automatic.

First off,  you may want to watch the video a few times. You always get more on the second visit. If nothing else, I hope you’re buzzing a little, maybe thinking a bit differently and eager to get outside with a golf club in your hand. When I watched it I grabbed my putter and went out for a putt. If you can’t swing a club then maybe you can jot down some ideas and keep it handy for later. Writing your thoughts down is important because you’ll forget. Not matter how good your memory, you do forget things (at least I do – all the time).

Here’s some of my thoughts on how it relates to Automatic Golf

Make mistakes: This is key. Our society is obsessed with NOT making mistakes and this holds us back. We are trained from a very early age to conform to the system, a system that is all about controlling the masses. So we are taught to sit up straight and not make a noise – doing so goes against the norm. But if you want to move forward you’ve got to try stuff. Here’s a common question I receive;

“Cameron, can you help me please? I want to learn to hit a draw, what can I do?”

It may seem an honest question but it comes from someone who is afraid of making a mistake. They are waiting for the perfect answer before they’ll try. In a different age this person would grab a club, a few balls and head out to the paddock. They’d start hitting, experimenting and learning how to draw the ball. They wouldn’t wait for the answer, they’d go hunting for it. Along the way they’d make mistakes (lots of them) but that wouldn’t stop them.

If you weren’t worried about making a mistake how would you play? The next question you need to ask yourself is why aren’t you playing like this right now? Don’t let the fear of mistakes hold you back, they’re essential if you’re going to keep learning and getting better.

Pushing boundaries: My favourite story in the video is about the soccer coach from the UK who traveled to Brazil to learn more about soccer. It’s not my favourite because he identified the Brazilian secret for better play or because he went back home and trained an average team into a champion outfit. My favourite part is because he actually made the trip. Before he went he would have had all sorts of doubts but he resisted the doubt and fear and jumped on a plane. The rest was of the story was easy, getting on the plane was the hard bit. When we challenge ourselves we learn. Often, the hardest part is getting off the couch.

Commitment and repetition: I have told a few people that Automatic Golf can be boring. You do the same thing over and over again. It’s not sexy that’s for sure. But you’re rewarded with some sexy play, I call it Remarkable Golf. Traditional coaching is far more interesting, “make this magic move and you’ll halve your handicap” or “buy this club and you’ll hit the ball 19 metres further”. It’s sexy and interesting and the allure is too strong for most. But do you get sexy results? Not often. Mostly, there’s only glimpses of brilliance and then you’re forced to look for the next thing.

When AG started making sense to me I would practice my routine over and over. I didn’t hit balls because I was in the garage at home. I trained myself to walk into the ball, get set and then pull the trigger. There were no thoughts on swing or technique, I was training my mind to be clear and free. It was boring, but I knew deep down I was on the right approach. When I teed the ball up in competition, I stuck to my routine and not surprisingly, I started to perform. When the pressure of the closing holes would come, I kept doing my thing. Opponents, just like I used to, would go searching or hit the panic button.

Building technique: Watch the part where Daniel is learning to bounce the ball on the end of his club. When he started out he was hopeless. He couldn’t even get two bounces. But he got better and better and then there’s the part where he probably gets 40 or 50 bounces while doing some fancy tricks. He was no Tiger Woods, but it was impressive.

Here’s the question: When he was learning this skill do you think he was ever worried about his grip, stance or elbow position? Or do you think he had the objective of “just bounce that ball on this club face”? To me the answer is clear. His objective was simple and all other thoughts didn’t enter his mind. Sure, his technique changed, but it happened at the subconscious level.

The golf instruction world has missed the point. It’s too obsessed with positions and technique. The point should be to hit the ball with an objective and then repeat. And repeat. And keep going and going. Thoughts on technique overloads the system and gets you away from what you’re supposed to be doing (bouncing the ball on the club face, hitting the ball to a target, jumping over a log, running fast etc).

I used to think talent mattered. That some lucky people are born with the ability to do the right thing at the right time. But I no longer believe in that. Talent is overrated and something that Pesky uses against us. We all have the ability to perform better. For most of us, we need to stop worrying so much, aim a little higher and then get off the couch.

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21 Comments

  • Steady

    Reply Reply July 26, 2013

    Glad you enjoyed Cam. I was blown away with what this guy did in the Video just like Tiger did. Except Daniel used the grip end.
    Today in my PE class we learnt how to juggle. I used what Daniel said about learning a skill. I was able to juggle after 10 minutes for about 15 seconds. We watched a 4 minute video on basics of juggling (once) then went and did it.Just a beginner but my point is learn from your mistakes. Eventually the Aaah moment happens and you build a new skill.
    Just think this morning I was not able to juggle. Now I can.
    Ta Steady

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 26, 2013

      Steady: I have my own juggling story. I’ll post it soon. It’s good to use these skills and apply to golf.

  • Holdini

    Reply Reply July 26, 2013

    Is the ah ahh moment pure awareness? And can we then start to forget the skill?

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 26, 2013

      Holdini: I think the big moment comes when we realise that we just have to play the game. I think skill happens when we forget about it. So many golfers spend a lifetime worrying about skill/swing/technique but they don’t have a lot to show for it.

  • Sanj

    Reply Reply July 26, 2013

    Morning Cam,

    Is there a way of learning the skill of ignoring Pesky? Ive played a number of rounds over the last week and I’ve played the best round of my life (-4) and one of the worst (+28 [took 13 shots to get out a bunker.. but thats a different story]) throw in a couple of +6, +7 rounds and its hasn’t been a bad week. But is there a way to train to our minds to ignore Pesky (hope that makes sense).
    During these rounds I felt I didn’t do anything differently in terms of AG and preparing to play the shot with no conscious thoughts (but maybe subconsciously I had without realising I had) but I seemed to hit both end of the scales in ability.

    Hoping this is something we can discuss in more detail in Oct.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 27, 2013

      Sanj: It’s a process that is learned over time. With greater awareness you’ll start gaining more insight each time you go out. Huge variations in your score are not ideal but you’re learning the awesome power of what AG can do for you. I think your system will settle down and you’ll eventually stop having those awful scores – also think you’ll start finding that you’re getting away from what works too often.

      We can definitely cover this in great detail in October, but keep trucking and keep playing the game. Pesky will have less and less influence over you – don’t feed his desire for control, ignore him and keep playing your game.

  • Holdini

    Reply Reply July 26, 2013

    I have two sons who have play golf. My oldest son loves it and plays all the time. My younger son not so much and he only plays occasionally. He never asks to be taken. to golf. We have just been to the range and played a simple game, i.e. Hit the 50 yard marker. Who can hit it the most times.

    Without realising he had deep practice, learned all on his own. And…he wants to go again! Win win.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 27, 2013

      Holdini: This is awesome. We can all learn a lot from the not so serious types. A simple game is often all it takes to make the game fun. No stupid rules and instructions needed just hit the 50 yard marker. Brilliant stuff and well done!

      Another thing: Maybe share your experience with you sons compared to others at the range. It’s quite an unusual place the practice fairway – lots of serious souls who are lost and don’t know why they’re there.

  • Michael Murphy

    Reply Reply July 26, 2013

    An interesting point he makes in his book about plateaus and automaticity. Daniel says “A plateau happens when your brain achieves a level of automaticity; in other words, when you can perform a skill on autopilot, without conscious thought…..When it comes to developing talent, however, autopilot is the enemy because it creates plateaus”
    That would be why Daniel says to always be making a reach, and you Cam, telling us to try all sorts of shots.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 27, 2013

      MM: It’s a very interesting part of the book and some may think it goes against AG. I don’t think so. Here’s my take:

      If you’re out playing golf and you’re trying to shoot a score and the pressure is on, I think you want automatic. At this point in your development your focus is on score and performing, not making some change or developing a new skill. So you want to become automatic so you get the ball into the hole with the least amount of stress. Your “automatic” might be flawed or not overly fantastic, but it’s all you have in this moment in time. If you don’t play automatically and you attempt to contrive the swing, you’re in huge trouble. You’ll get, for the most part, something completely useless.

      Practice, social rounds and the backyard are perfect places for learning and experimenting and “reaching”. It’s the time to try new stuff and get out of first gear. And this is where I think good coaching plays a part – reaching doesn’t always mean take your swing apart, but getting the student to consider new shots and experiences.

      Summary: Under the pump when you’re trying to get a score then automatic is your best friend. You want to stick to your automatic swing/game because that’s all you have. When you’re out practicing, you must explore, create and try new stuff.

      Interesting thought: This just popped into my head. Because most golfers hit the panic button and try way too hard and also attempt to control the club consciously, AG out on the course is a form of “reaching”. It’s so different from the norm that it will allow you to get something remarkable.

  • Lukey

    Reply Reply July 26, 2013

    I am halfway through his book and I am finding it intriguing reading and hope to finish reading the rest over the weekend
    Cheers Lukey

  • Sanj

    Reply Reply July 26, 2013

    I bought the “Inner Game Of Golf” book a couple of weeks ago… oh man.. it puts me to sleep every time i read it!!!! 🙁

  • Holdini

    Reply Reply July 26, 2013

    Also “extraordinary golf” is a great read. By Fred Shoemaker the club throwing guy.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 27, 2013

      Also a great book. It’s in my top 5 and the throwing drill is excellent. The scientific study I was a part of found that club throwing is easy to do and closely matches a “perfect” swing.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply July 27, 2013

    Epic post cameron. Better writing than im used to. Still i think youre a great man who cares about people. Thank you.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply July 27, 2013

    I wil have to buy your book whichever one you think would suit me best. I have 38 dollars us dollars. Will that be enough to buy one of your books at full price? How much are they?

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 27, 2013

      Adam: Yes, you should buy it. I have a special offer at the moment – this gives you 3 of my products, check out the video over here.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply July 27, 2013

    You know cameron maybe i want to be a professional writer instead of golfer. But i will still play golf every now and again. When my writing flows and I’m not worried about what I’m going to write about everyone says its brilliant. But when i focus to much on making it epic or good then it ends up bring terrible and people say “i don’t get it. What’s the story?”

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 27, 2013

      Adam: writing and golf have a lot in common. Nobody is born with the skill, we start hopeless, the more we do the better we get and the less we worry about our technique the faster we get to the good stuff. Kids aren’t taught to write properly in school – they are forced to focus on technique and grammar etc – the best writers have learned to write first and edit later. I think this is the best way.

  • Cam280

    Reply Reply July 27, 2013

    I just had a moment of clarity I would like to share. When setting up don’t look at the target at first have a guess then look up, that will be when the second neuron comes in and says you dumb ass or it might be a cool breeze? I think this will work with putting more so than the full swing but both should be ok.

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