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Elevating Your Game: Markus Westerberg on Mastering Golf's Mental Edge and the Power of Self-Awareness

January 31, 2024 Jesse Perryman
Elevating Your Game: Markus Westerberg on Mastering Golf's Mental Edge and the Power of Self-Awareness
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Flaghuntersgolfpod
Elevating Your Game: Markus Westerberg on Mastering Golf's Mental Edge and the Power of Self-Awareness
Jan 31, 2024
Jesse Perryman

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Unlock a deeper understanding of golf's mental aspects with the wisdom of Markus Westerberg, a seasoned professional and esteemed author of "The Golfer's Sixth Sense." Our latest episode is a treasure trove for golf enthusiasts and anyone eager to harness their inner strengths, as we converse with Markus on self-awareness' transformative power in the sport. His profound insights and over a decade of professional experience shed light on the pivotal shifts reshaping golf instruction and practice habits, promising to elevate your approach to the game.

As we navigate the mental labyrinth of golf with Markus Westerberg, you'll be fascinated by the practical strategies and psychological nuances discussed. From the paradox of the golf swing to embracing the sport's inherent unpredictability, we cover the gamut of mental challenges that can make or break a golfer's performance. Our conversation illuminates the mind-body connection, the role of subconscious learning, and the compelling concept of meta-awareness, which could revolutionize your self-coaching. Markus’s pioneering perspective is not just about golf—it's a philosophy that can be applied to any aspect of personal growth.

Wrapping up our exploration, we peer into the future of golf instruction with an eye on the importance of intention, the productive use of the ego, and the joy of progress through dedicated practice. Markus shares invaluable advice for those on a quest for improvement both on and off the course, reminding us of the deeper satisfaction that comes from mastering the greens. Join us for this engaging discussion with Markus Westerberg that promises to resonate with your own pursuit of excellence, whether you're a weekend warrior or a seasoned pro on the fairways.
 
To find Markus, go to www.markuswesterberg.com. 
To find Justin, email him at Justin@elitegolfswing.com OR on Instagram @elitegolfswing
To find Jesse email him at Jesse@flaghuntersgolf.com OR on Instagram @flaghuntersgolfpod

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Unlock a deeper understanding of golf's mental aspects with the wisdom of Markus Westerberg, a seasoned professional and esteemed author of "The Golfer's Sixth Sense." Our latest episode is a treasure trove for golf enthusiasts and anyone eager to harness their inner strengths, as we converse with Markus on self-awareness' transformative power in the sport. His profound insights and over a decade of professional experience shed light on the pivotal shifts reshaping golf instruction and practice habits, promising to elevate your approach to the game.

As we navigate the mental labyrinth of golf with Markus Westerberg, you'll be fascinated by the practical strategies and psychological nuances discussed. From the paradox of the golf swing to embracing the sport's inherent unpredictability, we cover the gamut of mental challenges that can make or break a golfer's performance. Our conversation illuminates the mind-body connection, the role of subconscious learning, and the compelling concept of meta-awareness, which could revolutionize your self-coaching. Markus’s pioneering perspective is not just about golf—it's a philosophy that can be applied to any aspect of personal growth.

Wrapping up our exploration, we peer into the future of golf instruction with an eye on the importance of intention, the productive use of the ego, and the joy of progress through dedicated practice. Markus shares invaluable advice for those on a quest for improvement both on and off the course, reminding us of the deeper satisfaction that comes from mastering the greens. Join us for this engaging discussion with Markus Westerberg that promises to resonate with your own pursuit of excellence, whether you're a weekend warrior or a seasoned pro on the fairways.
 
To find Markus, go to www.markuswesterberg.com. 
To find Justin, email him at Justin@elitegolfswing.com OR on Instagram @elitegolfswing
To find Jesse email him at Jesse@flaghuntersgolf.com OR on Instagram @flaghuntersgolfpod

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to another edition, a new edition of the Flagships Golf Podcast.

Speaker 1:

I am your host, jesse Perryman, and, along with Justin Tang, this week we proudly bring you a man by the name of Marcus Westerberg. Marcus, notably, is the author of the book called the Golfers Sixth Sense, and that title alone should give you some deep insight to what this conversation is about. I got a lot out of it, marcus. I'll give you a quick, brief intro about Marcus. He grew up in Sweden. He played on various golf professional tours for the better part of 15 years, earning eight plus victories out there. So the man can play, he understands what it's like to be in the trenches, what accounts and what it matters, and when everything is alive when you're playing competitive golf, especially for a living. So this conversation really is about getting into the mind and what we can learn on the golf course, off the golf course, what we can learn about ourselves and apply that valuable information to our games, moving forward to help us become better. And this man really represents what Justin and I are trying to accomplish here with a holistic style of not only teaching, also learning, and we believe that the paradigm needs to be shifted as far as how golf is taught and, just as important, how we learn this game, because once you start learning, once you start growing, once you start getting better, there's just nothing like it. And a big shout out to Marcus Westerberg. You can find Marcus easiest. You can find him at Instagram, marcus Westerberg, his name. You can go to wwwmarcuswesterberg and that spelling is M-A-R-K-U-S-W-E-S-T-E-R-B-E-R-G dot com. All one word Marcus Westerbergcom.

Speaker 1:

I highly encourage you to get a copy of the book the Golfers Sixth Sense. It is fantastic. I highly recommend that you read it, learn it, absorb it, incorporate it and it will undoubtedly help your game. And I want to give a special shout out to our sponsors, taylormade and Adidas. That new TaylorMade head is pretty damn good the Q10. Go out and pick yourself up one, get fitted for it. You're undoubtedly going to love the feel of it, the sound, everything. Taylormade really did a great job with this and kudos to them and a big shout out to them for sponsoring Justin and the show.

Speaker 1:

And please always forget this. Please remember to rate, review and subscribe. Have a great week, everyone. Cheers, hello and welcome to another edition of the Flag Hunters Golf Podcast. I am your host, jesse Perryman, along with my co-host, teacher extraordinaire, one of the great minds in golf that I consider and I know a lot of coaches out there in the world and his name is Justin Tang, and he's also a good friend and, along with Justin and myself, we're proud to introduce to you a man by the name of Marcus Westerberg. His background is very interesting. He played, he went out and played for a living and now he is an executive coach, a performance coach, and he has written a book called Golfers Six Cents Is that right, marcus the Golfers.

Speaker 2:

Six.

Speaker 1:

Cents and we're going to dive right in. But, marcus, once again, welcome and thank you for coming on and we look forward to this conversation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thanks so much for having me. I really look forward to it as well.

Speaker 3:

Thanks Jesse, thanks Marcus. It's a real pleasure to have you on because your book really captured my imagination and, as I told you before, it's probably in the top five of all the golfing books that I've read and not just golfing books, right, I would place in the top five of learning text books, because your book is not just applicable to the golfing but to other endeavors and other sports as well. So thank you so much.

Speaker 2:

I'm really honored to hear those words from you, Truth man.

Speaker 3:

So let's just give our listeners a little bit background of how it came into golf.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so actually I was thinking about it. Today I'm playing my 47th year as a golfer. I started off very young I'm turning 50 this year and I mean as long as I can remember I dreamt of becoming a golf professional to tour the world, and I did. I toured a lot of the world, played on more of a second level, played a few on the main tours, but I mean coming into this and being a professional golfer.

Speaker 2:

I like to say that every golfer is naked in front of the golf ball, in that sense that you're going to be exposed to who you are in every sense of the word, and that's why I find so fascinating and wonderful about our game, which really is the game of life. It's life in miniature. And as a professional golfer, of course, you have to take responsibility for every shot you play and you get faced with yourself. And I was faced with myself and there was a lot of things that I did not like and a lot of things that I did not understand. So after my career, I took into studying.

Speaker 2:

I got the bachelor's degree in psychology, focusing on performance and motor learning, and also I worked with my mentors since I was 23 years old. And just putting that mirror in front of myself, learning who I am and why I function the way I do. And it's a tough journey but it's it's invaluable. And, as a coach, I like to say that I want to be the mirror to my players to help them see themselves, because I don't regard myself as being able to to change them. I can only help them see themselves so they can can change their own games and improve.

Speaker 3:

And that's the thing with the term golf professional it's very limiting, in my humble opinion. I like the thing of ours, our job, as being that of a coach, where we help our players, our students, our clients draw what's already in there, and it's not just our golf swing, as we alluded to in our conversation before recording. Every instructor is familiar with golf talk neutral grip, modern grip, baseball grip, steep plane, shallow plane but not many golf instructors are familiar with terms that the learning industry, if you will, are familiar with things like spacing constraints, positive, negative constraints, variability, short-term, long-term memory. And I feel that if coaches understand how the brain, a learn, acquires new motion, retains it and then ultimately repeats it under pressure, our clients would be that much better for it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I agree, and that's a dear topic of mine because a lot of clients come see me you're an expert on the mental side and can you help my son or myself to improve or whatever, and I just cannot put that firewall between how you learn, how you practice, and how you perform. You cannot separate these two because, like you said, it's basically all about learning and retention, and this is where a lot of golfers and even golf coaches get mixed up that performance in practice does not equal learning, and learning is defined as what you can use after a period of time. Have I learned this swing change? Have I learned this kind of ball flight or the shot or whatever I'm trying to do? And for me it is imperative because it's so easy to stand on the driving range and just beat ball off the mat to the same target, if you even have a target with the same club and just it feels really good and you may even hit good shots. But how much have you improved? You have certainly improved more than if you hadn't practiced, but if you'd practiced in a different manner. And this is what I researched a lot for the golfers. Sixth sense is this retention of learning is how should you practice to come more prepared to the tournament or whenever you want to perform. And then, of course, we come into a lot of the calm screens versus some training aids that make it easier for you.

Speaker 2:

And when we talk about these things, I always want to come back to an example that I like to use when I talk, and it's what I call the 100 putts. So let's say you're a golfer who want to improve your short putting from, let's say, four feet, you're gonna hit 100 putts. Now you can do these in two different ways you can stand on the same spot to the same hole and repeat the same putts 100 times, or you can move around and hit the new putt every time, but still 100 times. So I always ask my audience when I do this. So I ask. So the first question which is going to make you is going to have you make more putts. Is it standing in the same spot or is it moving around? And everybody is like well, of course, standing in the same putt, playing the same putt, is easier. I'm going to make more putts from there. Okay, good, the second one is which is going to make you a better putter moving around or standing in the same spot. It tends to.

Speaker 2:

The answers from the audience tends to go towards changing the variability, but it's not always certain. But let's say it's a 64 to there. But then the third question is the most interesting and this comes from research about judgment of learning, which is basically after the session, you ask yourself how much have I improved, how much have I learned? And it can also be attributed to confidence. So I always ask which, which way of practicing leaves you with a better feeling, with a better judgment of learning?

Speaker 2:

And everybody says, of course, well, it's, it's, it's a, it's the one when you stand in the same spot and hit the same putt. Now, this is a little in a nutshell of what it's all about. Because it feels better to practice in this, which is called the blocked way of repeating everything, because you perform better. But everyone, all the research, says that's well, that's not the best way to learn. So the guy who moves around and hits a new putt every time improves more, but it feels worse, which is very interesting. It's something you have to be aware of in practice, and it doesn't only apply to putting the plans to every part of motor learning.

Speaker 3:

Indeed With that. With that in mind, I always tell my students and my members I said, the way you guys are practicing, it is as though you're practicing for a seven iron tournament. You get a bucket of balls after about 100 balls, all you do is try to hit seven irons straight. I said tell me, the last time on the golf course where you had to hit two seven irons from the same spot, they said oh, I can't remember. I'll tell you. You hit two seven irons from the same spot when you shank the first seven irons out of bounds, that's when you hit two seven irons from the same spot in a row.

Speaker 3:

I said did you anything but golf? And Jesse and I always talk about the ego orientation to your point, it feels great. Everyone's looking at me, I'm the club champion, I'm sinking 100 parts in the road from the same spot does something for the ego, but does it help you improve as a golfer? So back to the question are you playing golf swing or golf? The game of golf is inherently difficult, but the golf swing need not be that case, because if you understand simple ball flight laws, then it's not difficult for the educated instructor to affect your ball flight how you look while affecting the ball flight is going to be different from Billy. It's going to be different from Tommy. You need to settle down, look in the mirror and say, hey, I'm born with longer arms or shorter arms, as the case. Maybe I'll never look like Tommy or Billy. Once you put that, the rest I think the pathway to improvement suddenly clear that yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And and that's a perfect example the seven iron tournaments, because that's what we see. We see maybe a few wedges, the seven iron and some drives and the driving range, probably without the target and off a mat, and it's not really preparing you to play on the golf course. And then I get the question why? Why can't I take my game with a golf course? Well, you're not really preparing to play on the golf course, so, so that's, that's number one, and people don't like to hear that, but I mean it's, it's, it's kind of given.

Speaker 2:

And, and when it comes to all these things, I always go back to my favorite philosopher, socrates, and his quote of know thyself. There's so much about knowing yourself and the game of golf. That is helpful knowing your game, what you can, what you cannot do, what you're good at, what you're bad at, what you should avoid, knowing yourself, how you react in certain circumstances, etc. And this is just another one about knowing how your practice habits can influence your performance on the golf course so what was the catalyst that created a change in your teaching?

Speaker 3:

what made you realize that the traditional model is broken?

Speaker 2:

I think I realized it quite early as a player because I'm I'm a sports person, I can do a lot of sports, so my hand-eye coordination is pretty good, and I was put into a model occasionally by some coaches and I didn't like that. I felt I felt constrained and I felt like I couldn't really reach my potential. And I know I can do this, but in another way. So I think that's when I really early started to question this and I think I was in high school already doing this, and then I've always been observant, so I looked around and see how other people are doing it and you just look at the best players through the times and only for looking at your golf swings and just taking that approach, and they're so different, similar in some parts, but they have found their way of getting that white little bolt of light to their wish.

Speaker 2:

And I had a lesson with a client of mine yesterday and he said that well, you can't really get anywhere unless you're as well your own teacher, and I think that was a great way of putting it. I was reflecting on that. It's like, yeah, I am coaching him, but he realizes his own responsibility in the process that he needs as well, to be his own teacher and observation and reflections so a lot of people say that the conscious mind is the head, but what they do not realize is that the subconscious is the neck that turns the head.

Speaker 3:

So, with that in mind, what made you write the book, fabulous book, the golfers extent?

Speaker 2:

that's just why I wrote it. So the reason I wrote it is that I saw this, this clear division between mechanical practice and mental training, and I couldn't grasp it. I mean, there is great mental training programs and you can do excellent sessions in pure mechanics, but but you cannot separate the two. They go together all the time. And I think the perfect example is someone who comes and says well, I always feel uncomfortable, I'm afraid, on the fourth T. Well, of course you are, it's a dog like the left and there is all be right, and you only have a slice in your bag. I mean, you should be afraid.

Speaker 2:

You cannot change the mental side, because it's not the mental problem, it's, it's a swing problem or a ball flight problem, and and then you can get it the other way around, which is which is more normal. But I like to make the example of touch or feeling putting over chipping. Is it? Is it mechanical or is it mental? Well, I can say it's both, and when you look at the game of golf, it's a lot of the times both, and that's that's why I love coaching, because it's a piece of mental, it's a piece of mechanical and and putting that together. So the reason I wrote the golf through the sixth sense. It I didn't like the separation and, of course, the reason you can't separate the two is the subconscious mind is always there, always controlling, and it's overriding your conscious mind all the time and, as it happens, the the, the golf for sixth sense is your subconscious mind so let's talk a little bit about swing changes.

Speaker 3:

A lot of people are a bit double standards when it comes to changing their swing for good. So they they realize that changing my swing for the good is difficult and then they don't realize that it it also takes a good swing time to deteriorate. So that's a maybe a better players mistake, a better players misconception. So, from your experience, how long does it take for a bad swing to become good and, conversely, a good swing to become bad?

Speaker 2:

the first question is easier. I mean, learning a inefficient, a good golf swing? Well, that, that takes a lot of time because there are so many components and and they're just a journey of learning. Again, you, you're knowing yourself, you're knowing your swing. When the ball does this, I do that, then I need to do x and and the deterioration of golf swing. Well, I I find it happens two ways either it's a physical deterioration that, of course, if you get less flexibility, you're going to have a smaller arc of movement, and all this and probably some some more impact difficulties. But I've seen, seen a lot of especially good players go down into what I call the mechanical track, where they try to dissect the swing and and perfect it, and it kind of takes them away from their natural ability. So timing is affected, just just getting that club face to the ball. Consequently, and and how long is it take? I don't know. I've seen, I've seen scary examples of it with really good players. Um, what's, what's your opinion on the latter one?

Speaker 3:

I think it has to do with the stories you tell yourself and that, well it's. Your thoughts lead to words, your words lead to deeds. So you kind of open yourself to the possibility that, hey, my swing is not perfect. We've seen that down through the years with guys, who's just one major. If you open yourself up to that belief, then guess what? You're going to start taking actions that will start changing, or, as I call it, taking apart the iPhone. You start to take apart the iPhone because you believe that the speed of the processor is not right, battery life is not right and if you manage to fix that, power to you.

Speaker 3:

But what I've seen over the years is that a lot of people take apart their phones. Then they can't put it back and it seems to me that the process of deterioration is almost on par as that of improvement. So, for example, it let's call a 24 handicapper takes them about a year give a kick to get down to 18, and I think it probably takes the same amount of time for a scratch golfer to get to five handicapped about a year, give a kick and depending on how drastic the overhaul is. But what I'm trying to say is this if you think something is wrong. Something will go wrong, because if you can execute at the range flawlessly, as we see on tour ranges across the world, across the tours, and then you can't execute it on the course when it matters, it's not your swing, it's not the technique, it's what you tell yourself before you execute the technique.

Speaker 2:

So, with that in mind, I'd like to ask you to explain to our audience what's the difference between the brain and the mind and what is the psychomotor connection yes, so I like to make the difference between the brain and the mind, because the brain is kind of the physiological matter and the mind is all interesting stuff with emotions and thoughts and feelings and the memories and all that and it takes us directly into the psyche and the psyche. Of course we talked about the subconscious and the conscious parts of the psyche and the psychomotor connection. I like to describe that that's the interplay between between the motor skill, the swing movement and all the other stuff the memories, the thoughts, the emotions and all this stuff. It's a constant interplay. The emotions can affect the golf swing. The golf swing is going to affect your emotions. As we know, we're hitting a perfect shot. It's going to make us feel really good and vice versa.

Speaker 2:

And and I think that psychomotor connection basically describes why I wrote the golf for six cents because again, we need to take into consideration both these parts and you can improve your golf swing through mental exercises and you can. You can improve your mental through through a golf swing exercises like improving a some kind of shot you want to play. It's going to make you feel more confident because you can know you know you can do it. So that's, that's another on the psychomotor connection connecting your, your swing motions to you, how you, how you feel, and all that thoughts that goes on in our minds all the time so, with that in mind, when a golfer slices the ball into the woods and it says to himself you brainless idiot, that's inaccurate.

Speaker 3:

It should be you mindless idiot, because everyone has a brain, else you won't be alive. So let's get down to the meat and bones of your book. What is the fundamental paradox and what causes?

Speaker 2:

it. Yeah, this is. I'm not a favorite of quick fixes and mind hacks and all this stuff that is so much broadcasted everywhere, but when we come into the fundamental paradox and the lifting reflex, it's actually one that you can use and improve your game really quickly. So the fundamental paradox I've observed it around the world as a player and then I observed it as a coach and I see it all the time and it's about the impact and the human mind.

Speaker 2:

99.9% of golfers have this problem. When the ball is on the flat surface, they try to lift it. It is lifting swing motion, because the paradox is that the club should be traveling slightly downwards in order to hit the face of the club. The face of the club is tilted upwards and that is what gives the golf ball lift. Our minds do not understand this. We think that we need to get the motion of the club from underneath and upwards to get the ball airborne. So, in all sense, the paradox, the contradiction, is that you need to hit down to get the ball to go up, and I like to tell all my audiences that I am sure you have this problem I'm not sure how much it affects you probably a lot and when you have to play the golf ball over a bunker or over the water hazard, it's going to be worse because your mind knows that the path to the grain along the ground is blocked. And, of course, this is a completely subconscious problem, because I've had a lot of clients who know this. They know everything about how the club should impact the ball it should be ball denturf. However, their subconscious overrides this knowledge, so they need effective tools to counteract what comes out of the fundamental paradox.

Speaker 2:

The fundamental paradox is a is a faulty picture of the impact and what comes out. This is a lifting reflex. It's a lifting golf swing and it results in duffing and topping and it's completely detrimental to a lot of golfers games. So you need tools to handle this, because your mind is probably never going to learn that you have loft on the club. So you need to have tools for it, and one. The easiest way to do it is just brush the grass after the golf ball, make some practice strokes, brush that grass and set up to the golf ball and again do the same. You need to do it especially if you need to play over something, because your mind's going to want you to lift the ball over the bunker. But you can't, only your golf club can. It's your responsibility as a golfer to hit the ball on the face of the club. The club is responsible for getting that ball airborne.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's quite unlike many other sports like billets, tennis, baseball, where the mass of the implement generally follows the intended direction of the ball, flight Golf is different. If I want to get the ball up in the air, the mass of your implement needs to go down into the ground.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that is so interesting and I'm lucky enough to grow up in Sweden and live in Sweden and we play a lot of ice hockey. And the exact same problem exists in the slap shot in ice hockey All the young kids, and even if you don't start as a kid, they're trying to lift the puck off the ice. You can't, you need to put pressure on the stick into the ice and the stick is going to lift the puck. And it's so interesting. It's completely subconscious again, and they tell us this when we started this conversation about who is the master the subconscious of the conscious mind, and the conscious mind doesn't have a chance here, because the subconscious has made it, made its mind up, and then you're going to follow, so you need to know how to handle that.

Speaker 3:

So this is something I discuss a lot with Jesse. I've got this theory hypothesis that a lot of good players get good because their eyes, when they see a golf swing for the first time, the eyes interprets the movement correctly, so that when he generates an intention to do something with a golf club, it generates it is correct, whereas 99% of the golfing population, when they see a golf swing, they go okay, this is what I should do to make this motion. And they take the club, they go okay, back swing and then they actually swing it behind them, resulting in two flat A golf swing, and the reverse will be true they go okay, this is an up swing and they just literally lift their hands with no pivot rotation. Is that something that you've studied in the past? I certainly observed it.

Speaker 2:

I certainly observed it and I mean there's a lot of talk these days that the talent doesn't exist. I would say the talent definitely exists, but it doesn't take you all the way. Some have it easier than others. Why, I don't know. Are they born with it? Probably partly Sports experience Other sports has definitely is helpful for golf, but then again, I've seen some tremendous top 10 players in the world today. Who has only played golf? So it's it's an interesting question. It's very interesting to philosophize about. But if you go back to the fundamental paradox of the faulted picture of the impact, I have seen one player in 47 years of golf who has not had it. Every other player has learned to handle it. And tour players I've talked about who has read the golfers since and connected with me, they're like it really helped me too. I mean they're they're PGA tour players, which is I mean they can feel that they have that inclination. But why do some people swing the golf club more efficiently than others? Immediately Hard?

Speaker 3:

one to understand. It's very interesting. Yeah, it's. It's something that I wish I was smart enough to investigate, but clearly I'm not not written any books yet.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but it's a topic for discussion.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So basically this goes back to matter when it's something that Jesse and I talk a lot about. Some guys are just aware of things in general and, as you mentioned, golf is such a great metaphor for life. I see some students the way they drive their buggies, the way they hit their balls, repair their divots or not. You kind of have a very good idea of what they are like in the workplace. So, guys with no golf etiquette, generally I would imagine them to be lacking in social awareness. Oh, I didn't realize I shouldn't do this or that. And how important is meta awareness in acquiring or modifying our movement patterns?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I think it's definitely important and just awareness overall is just yeah, some pick up the details, some are able to see which are important details and some just miss it completely. So I think this is very important and, like the example you just gave, I think the personality comes into play here quite a lot. On what we can see on the golf course again, everyone is naked in front of the golf ball. It's hard to hide who you are, because it's important.

Speaker 1:

I'd like to chime in on the subject a little bit, on what Justin and I talked about, what you just raised, marcus, about meta awareness. I think that there are a lot of great players out there who are extraordinarily aware of what they do with their hands, of what they do with their body. Tiger was, I mean, I remember hearing a story about Jack Nicklaus rerouting the golf club with the famous one, iron, in the 72 open at Pebble on 17. That's next level awareness, to do that in that environment and that situation. You know, the real question is how do we cultivate that? How do we cultivate an awareness so that we can look at things as they are without any preconceptions, without any ego attachments.

Speaker 1:

I would say Jim Fieric is pretty aware guy. I would say he's very, very aware guy, meta aware, he's able to look at things as they are and not through a skewed lens. You know, the real question is how do we develop that? How do we develop that level of awareness so that we can look at our games objectively as it is in order to make necessary changes, whether it's physical or mental or in preparation, how you manage yourself, how you manage yourself on the golf course, especially day to day, because our body's not the same every day. We might wake up stiff, we may wake up not feeling that great, we may not have the extra gear for that day. So how do we cultivate that meta awareness, apart from the ego, to be able to do things and accept what we can do on that particular day?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I like that. That's the objectivity focus, to see things as they are. And I think ties it back again to my favorite quote from Socrates know thyself, know where you tend to go wrong and try to stay objectively. Observe the golf ball with less judgment and really take in what's happened here, because I like to throw those questions back to my students Okay, that was a terrible shot.

Speaker 2:

I went out to write Okay, why did it go to the right? I swung like that. No, back up again. Our clubface was directed to the right. Okay, good, now, why was the clubface directed to the right, etc. So kind of kind of breaking it down on the objective level, kind of less emotional, even though paying attention to your emotions and feelings is quite valuable. But being present in the moment, I think it's a requirement to be able to go into, to heighten awareness and looking at things, like you said already, objectively, and that gives you a chance to learn, as opposed to trying to find an answer as quickly as possible to soothe the ego, not to feel hurt or attached to the lesser shot or even it's a good shot, because you can learn that too and the ego can definitely get away from get in the way of that understanding as well. So being present and being objective, I think, is quite valuable in any endeavor, especially golf.

Speaker 3:

So let's let's talk a little bit about the practice pitfall. So there is an ongoing argument about block practice versus random practice, and I share with my listeners as well as my students. I said both are equally valid, depending on what your objectives are. So could you share with our listeners when they should use block, when they should use random practice techniques?

Speaker 2:

I think block practice is excellent when you're discovering, discovering differences between swing motions or clubs or breaking putts or whatever. Just trying to discover and see. Okay, that's what happens. That's a good way to use block practice, also good to get a feeling for what you want to do. But I like to use it as soon as my players are able to perform the movements, always when the race to bar, because I like the gym analogy.

Speaker 2:

You don't go into the gym and take, take weights off and hope to get stronger. You put weights on to get stronger. You want to make practice more difficult in order to improve. So block practice is easier and using some kind of training sticks or alignments or all that makes it even easier and it's great in an initial stage. But you have to take it from there, because of course, the golf course is different, but not only because of that, because of, again, the research and motor learning shows that the retention, meaning how much you learn from the practice. Let's say you're trying to change your swing plane. To make it very simple, if you keep changing it around, it will change your swing plane faster. It's again. It's kind of counter intuitive, but the research is conclusive.

Speaker 2:

But I am not anyone to say that block practice is all bad. I say there's a time and place for it and there's a progression towards more complexion, more random practice, changing targets if you're in the driving range, changing shot shapes, changing clubs and all that. But also remember that the random practice it's more tiring on your mind, which is again a sign of that we have put weights on and improvements so. But I know that many fall away from the random practice because it's more difficult than because they don't perform as well. So I always want to put up that flag of caution about confidence. If you're practicing to improve your confidence, you may give yourself the service because you are falling into block practice, simplified practice to improve performance. When you practice, you should focus on improving the learning, improving yourself, getting better, not performing better. It's. It's a great piece of knowledge for golfers of any level.

Speaker 3:

So are you a fan of training aids with that in mind?

Speaker 2:

Yes, I know there's a time and place for everything. I'm not afraid. I'm not a fan of crutches, meaning that you use training aids, especially on the putting green, because putting is such a versatile part of the game. When the ball is played in the air it's more or less the same if you're in South Africa or in the US or in Singapore, but the greens are so different and you need to be able to adapt to all of it. And I'm not a fan of having someone standing in the same spot and wearing out the green for two hours sitting in the same put with lines and aids and all that stuff.

Speaker 2:

I think it constrains your mind away from what you need to do to be able to adapt to all of it, different situations in putting, and we must always remember that a part of playing a golf shot is not only the movement, it's also taking in and, let's say, reading the green or reading the situation, choosing the shot, choosing the club, paying attention to the lie and also the post processing is an important part of a golf shot.

Speaker 2:

So that's what you also get when you do a randomized practice, when you do plot block, you already know everything, especially on the green. You hit that before and I do not like my players to do that, because when you have post cut information, you are learning to use a piece of information that does not exist in the game of golf. You will never, ever, on the golf course, have post cut information, so I don't like my players to get used to that. I like him to always train their minds into, to gathering information, reading the green beforehand and then just observing what has happened afterwards, not compensating to it, because you never get a second chance and put yeah, jesse and I have this discussion.

Speaker 3:

I explained to Jesse that every part, every shot, is basically us guessing how much force to put in the shot, how, what kind of shot. Shame where we land the ball. Everyone's a guest. But if you are just using a training a or a setup that establishes paths, how hard to swing, then are you really working on your guesstimated, if that's such a term? You're not learning how to guess and estimate because you put your brain into this frame of mind. Look, this is the part 12 foot down hill, 1%. This is the field and you never learn anything outside of that. And I've heard very intelligent guys in the learning community tell me After one to four such repetition the brain switches off because there is nothing novel, so no learning takes place.

Speaker 2:

I can imagine and and the worst is that I that makes me ask my players not to do it is again that it gets used to this post cut information and they get probably overconfident, but they also start to use cues that doesn't exist.

Speaker 3:

So can you talk a little bit about the illusion of consistency and talk a little bit about the Nikolai Bernstein experiment or study?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, nikolai Bernstein, russian scientists who looked at the motor learning and all. Consistencies is great thing in golf, because we all want consistency, we all strive for consistency. We should strive for consistency all the while knowing that we can never be consistent. And I always look at the world number one and it's usually a discrepancy of between 15 and 20 shots between his or her best and the worst round over the year when they were world number one. So golf is a very inconsistent game by nature, as we can see the scores fluctuate from round between rounds. In a tournament that can be a huge difference. And when you look at all the kind of research and not sure which study, with Bernstein, you, you, you mean the hammer, the hammer.

Speaker 3:

The hammer one, the hammer one, the strobe scope one, and then for every spring of the hammer that the hand part is always different, slightly different, but still different on the list.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there's a variation in everything. And then that's like research shows us, it's a variation in the nervous system, even, and but still we're able to bring the hammer down on the nail. Even though we think we do it the same way, we do it slightly differently, which is quite interesting. And again, it's the subconscious mind that makes this adaption, so that we can deliver the hammer or the golf club consistently well within the human lens.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, and a lot of us are not cognizant of this, but the subconscious mind is really so beautiful, so powerful. Just just take a look at Jim Furrick swing. It is quote unquote stock optimal. But I would say there's a lot of PGA 12 pros with more symmetrical looking swings would gladly trade their swings in for Jim Furrick's career, I'm sure.

Speaker 2:

I would. I'm one of them.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so it's. It's us giving the subconscious and instruction and then kind of just trusting the subconscious to do its thing. But the caveat is this the instruction or the intentional cue to the golfer or to yourself, must be accurate, as you say. Know that yourself? Oh, yes, absolutely, and and that's it's interesting how, how to reach the subconscious you can.

Speaker 2:

I mean, if you give an instruction, you're always instructing the conscious mind of the the student in front of you. If you set up a situation and ask him to solve this with a certain ball flight like, let's say, you should hit this shot underneath the tree branch it's a great way to affect the mechanics of the golf swing. And when we're looking at what we talked about earlier the lifting reflex, when you see the club golfer in the golf swing, when you see the club golfer in the trees having to chip out, now the picture of the ball flight has changed. The subconscious mind isn't trying to get the ball high, it's trying to get the ball low, which improves their impact and unfortunately has them hit the ball in the face of the club that goes straight up into the trees. So they have the wrong club. But it's.

Speaker 2:

It's really interesting as a coach, combining the conscious knowledge, conscious information, in the right way not to mess it up with the subconscious intention that always will be there. The subconscious mind knows everything. I don't even know what my subconscious mind knows about me, but I need to adhere to that. I need to listen. I mean, I try to do this move in the golf swing so many times or that move, and it's just, I can't do it. So my subconscious mind is telling me you know, your left hip is a little bad, you cannot swing like that, you have to swing like this. So it's a constant combination of listening to, of serving, of course, the student In our case. What is the student subconscious mind telling us and what do we try to do? Are we even able to do this thing we want to do with our golf games or not?

Speaker 1:

I think the illusion. Yeah, let me try to hear. Justin, how do we marry the subconscious with the conscious mind? As it relates to golf, how can we bring what our directors from the subconscious mind into awareness to actually reprogram it to do what we want it to do, what our intentions are? Because if the subconscious is the boss, ultimately, how can we make it work for us consciously?

Speaker 2:

That is the great question, and I think awareness is one key so that, again, you don't try to do things that you will never be able to do. So you have to listen to yourself, listen to what your body tells you, your mind. Sometimes, though, it may be wrong, and this comes back into the emotional intelligence reading your, the signals you get from your mind or your body. I mean there are lots of let's make it simple example, just like I spoke about the lifting reflex, playing that pitch out over the bunker, the married conscious mind and subconscious mind there is to not let that faulty preconception take over by focusing on brushing the grass with your golf club, brushing the grass with your sandwich, instead of trying to play the shot over the bunker, Because you know again, you know yourself that a lifting reflex is going to take over and you're impacted a little bit worsens. So that way, you need to consciously focus on focusing on brushing the grass to not let the subconscious take over in that case. In that case, you're just changing your intention with the shot Instead of playing golf ball over the bunker, you're swinging to brush the grass. So that's one way of doing it when it comes to a lot about the stuff in golf.

Speaker 2:

I like the exaggerations. A slicer always tried to hit the ball straight. It doesn't help. You have to try to hook the ball to get it straight. And golf tour professionals know this. They can come in from a golf round and do an interview and say I hit the ball perfectly straight. All 18 holes, 18 greens, it was just perfect game. And they go yeah, I was trying to slice it and interviewer doesn't know what's going on. Well, they had a little bit of a too much draw problem and their swing so they had to contradict that by trying to fade it consciously and the median result is a straight shot. So we all ties back to know yourself and be aware, be aware of what's going on and what you are doing Another illusion that a lot of golfers can't seem to come to terms with.

Speaker 3:

This powerful effort versus effortless power. We have thoughts on it, and then, do you have any drills for our listeners to do?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, when I think about effortless power, I think about an efficient mechanics of the golf swing. That goes back to the basis of movement, which is the sequence of movements. Every club member admires the juniors on his standard golf balls and the reason most of them have an efficient sequence. As we know, we're starting the downswing with our hips instead of starting with our arms and hands, which is a forceful swing but less efficient and less powerful. And starting with our hips and getting into that kinematic chain is going to give more power.

Speaker 2:

I like the wall drill where you set up with the wall down the line behind you. If I was watching you in the driving revenge hitting balls straight behind you down the line, let's put a wall there and the wall should be so close that you can't make a normal backswing. But you take the club to the top and then start with practice swings. You make a swing and you brush the mat or the grass without hitting the wall. Now the only way to not hit the wall is to create the lag angle and your mind is smart enough to know how to create the lag angle and this engages your lower body and basically, the lag angle in the golf swing is stored power and that stored power comes from an efficient downswing sequence.

Speaker 2:

So I have seen a lot of success with the wall drill. I would suggest that. But when we're talking about these movement patterns and coordination, it's very interesting. And also when you're working coordination, starting the downswing with your hips instead of what you're used to, starting the downswing with your arms it's going to feel awkward. And then again, the feeling of awkward does not signal that this is a bad thing. It signals that it's a new thing. And again, know yourself, is this better or is it worse? So I find the wall drill interesting. I've only discovered it lately and I think it's quite efficient.

Speaker 3:

So any last thoughts on swing thoughts versus string feels before we pull the trigger. So when? I talk about string thoughts, it's usually this I see a student takes five seconds before he hits the shot and I say, hey, are you giving yourself a golf lesson before you shot? Oh yes, when you do that, it's okay. Just don't have the word keep the left arm straight flashing in the background of your mind. I said feeling. Feel what the keeping the left arm straight feel like. Yeah and then pros and cons versus.

Speaker 2:

I'm not sure I mean. Research says that some people are more visual, some more kinesthetic and some like feels and some like like other instructions. But whenever you see a golfer freeze over the golf ball, you know there's a checklist in his or her head and that checklist is not getting shorter. It's a sign of over control and it's definitely not improved or performance. It makes them extremely tired. So I like to use use exercises like empty the bucket with those who have a long checklist, and empty the bucket is hitting balls completely free, without any swing thoughts, and it takes time and you have to force them.

Speaker 2:

I'm telling you that as soon as you put the club behind the ball you have to start the backswing. And they don't like it, they hate it because it feels like they're losing all control. But actually they're gaining control because that checklist is appealing to your conscious mind but it's destructive to your subconscious mind. And again, the subconscious mind controls your movements and golf is a movement game. It's not chess, it's not cross solving crosswords, it's not an intellectual challenge, it's a motor challenge. So checklist is a sign that someone is trying to over control it. And if you do have that, if you freeze over the golf ball, thinking about your grip, your left arm, your start of the backswing, your transition, your tempo. And don't do this, don't do that, you want to empty the bucket.

Speaker 3:

I think if Bruce Lee played golf, he would be a really good golfer. You gain control. You have to lose control. Be like water. So, in closing, where can our listeners find out more about you, your book and your services?

Speaker 2:

You find my website at marcuswesterbergcom and you find me on Instagram, marcuswesterberggolf, and Facebook, the golfers sixth sense. I also have a YouTube channel, which is the same golfers sixth sense, and I mostly active on Instagram and that's where you can see some daily content for me, fantastic.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I'll make sure.

Speaker 1:

I'll make sure to put all that information in the show notes as well. All of that information and how to get ahold of Marcus and Justin and our sponsors. That's right. That's right. I'm good. I'm so thrilled with this conversation.

Speaker 1:

As we've mentioned before and in past episodes, I really do think that this discussion really is the next level I can see it on the sunrise in a paradigm shift in golf instruction, where we're able to come from a place of neutrality and really observe what it is that we want to work on, and to be very clear with what it is that we want to do with our games, to be very clear with our intentions and to.

Speaker 1:

I don't think we're ever going to get rid of the ego, but we can certainly repurpose it, we can redirect it and I think that's where we're heading. And thanks to you, marcus, for being a pioneer in this space and continue to enlighten all of us to play better, because at the end of the day, we would all. I think that I speak for a lot of golfers, especially better ones that we all want that deep satisfaction of playing well. We all want the deep fulfillment of realizing what it is that we've worked on tirelessly and having it manifest on the golf course and have that deep level of satisfaction, and this is certainly a conversation that needs to be spoken again and again, and again in order to achieve that. So thanks to you and thank you for your contributions.

Speaker 2:

Thank you very much, thanks. We really enjoyed the conversation.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, Marcus, for your time. Really appreciate it.

Exploring the Golfers Sixth Sense
Improving Golf Skills and Practice Habits
Mind-Body Connection in Golf
The Fundamental Paradox in Golf
Developing Meta Awareness in Golf
"The Illusion of Consistency in Golf"
The Next Level in Golf Instruction