Why Shane Warne would make an excellent golfer

Shane Warne would make an excellent golfer. At least he would do if he was able to approach golf the same way that he bowls a cricket ball.

The Twenty20 cricket has held my attention for five minutes. It’s sort of exciting at first, but then all the matches seem to have a sameness about them. But not Warne. His bowling display is a work of art. Here’s what I like,

He has been miked up and gives a running commentary before he bowls each ball. This gives us an insight into his thoughts and what it is he’s trying to do. This is a rundown:

1. He plans what he is trying to do before coming into bowl. This is what I call Einsteining. You need to plan what you want to do before execution. It’s not a matter of just walking up and hitting, throwing or kicking – you need to know what it is you’re trying to do. And Warne does this brilliantly. Some people mistake Automatic Golf for a “hit and hope” kind of thing. It’s not.

2. Interestingly, he does not seem put off by having to talk people through his plan. Many would argue that the distraction of being miked up would cause him to bowl poorly. I’ve been saying for a long time that the right kind of distraction is a good thing when performing motor skills.

3. Once he has worked out what he wants to do he walks in and bowls the ball. There’s no fluffing about or trepidation. He just bowls the ball. What else could he do?

4. He is not affected by being smashed over the fence. He accepts that the batsman are trying to slog him all over the park. If he bowls a bad ball or the batsman is too good he gets on with it. He doesn’t let this get to him – it seems he accepts this as part of the game. This may be his greatest strength and why he is able to back up after a few poor deliveries.

5. He is not always trying to take a wicket. He seems to set up the batsman with a variety of deliveries and then goes in for the kill. The golf equivalent would be laying up and not always going for the hero shot.

6. It also seems to me that taking a wicket is not his highest priority. Sure, he knows that taking wickets is his job, but he seems more focused on setting a good field and correct planning. He knows that this work will maximise his chances of being successful. He is more focused on the process rather than the goal. With golf it’s the same – there’s no point in wasting energy worrying about the perfect shot. All you can do is plan what it is you want and then go for it. Success happens to get in the way.

7. He loves bowling. He is constantly smiling and encouraging others. He genuinely looks like he is enjoying what he does.

All this leads to a perfect mindset that enables him to dominate his sport. Despite being 40+, he is able to mix it with some of the best batsmen in the world. Shane Warne is an artist and his comments and insight offer all a rare look inside the work of a true artist.

While we may not have the same skill level, approaching our sport in a similar way can only help us get more out of each performance.

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  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply January 14, 2012

    I was just looking back through some earlier posts and really enjoyed the one with Bubba Watson. I especially liked his comment: “golf should be fun, goofing about, enjoying the scenery and the beautiful day…..it should be FUN not work”. Most people will say “sure, it’ll be fun when I can hit the ball properly”. But it doesn’t work that way. The quickest way to learn to hit the ball properly is TO HAVE FUN ! If you’re waiting until you can hit the ball properly before the fun begins you’re going to have a long wait. Because that mindset is working against you EVER learning to hit the ball properly. At best you will end up with a “manufactured” swing and ultimately there’s no joy in that. Joy on the golf course is a truly unencumbered swing and ironically, when you do it, you’re learning faster than when you try to swing “correctly”. If you can’t believe this you’re doomed to a miserable golf existence. As Cam pointed out in the Bubba Watson post, look at the guy in the background mucking around endlessly with his backswing. And look again at Bubba’s body language. Who would you rather be?

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply January 15, 2012

      Grayden. Have to agree. When I started playing like I had a consistent game I quickly got one. I spent years waiting for the magic to happen but it never did. When I realised everything was already inside me it was a huge breakthrough.

      Also, many very good players end up with “manufactured” swings. But they’re always fighting and constantly tweaking. It takes a lot of energy too. The “Bubba” way is fun and way simpler too – I know what I prefer.

  • Gregor

    Reply Reply January 14, 2012

    He is not always trying to take a wicket.
    Interesting. You would think that is the whole purpose of the bowler, like a golfer getting the ball in the hole. But he’s testing out his opponent to find the weak spot. I was once told to plan a hole like snooker, where do you want to be playing your next shot from and how are you going to get there. Same thing I suppose.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply January 15, 2012

      Gregor. Nice to hear from you. Taking the wicket is the ultimate objective but it comes from proper planning and playing the game. I was never that big a fan of SW, but his attitude and the way he plays has certainly peaked my interest. Also highlights why he was so good.

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