We're a few days past the spring equinox. Jerry and I launched this project on the autumn equinox last September, six months ago, making this a good time for a little reflection. We said in our initial pieces that our goal was to develop a training program that would help people reach their highest potential. How are our results so far?
In many ways, we're still just starting this process. Our initial hypothesis was that we could use Jerry's energy techniques to radically accelerate our improvement in sports, using golf as our playground. Unfortunately, because of my shoulder injury back in the fall, we haven't been able to test that hypothesis much. The injury really limited what we could do for a while, and by the time I was healed enough to take full swings again, winter was shortly to arrive. Winter is just now releasing its grip; we're finally on the cusp of being able to focus on the experimentation and practice that will be necessary to bring this project to fruition.
On the other hand, even under those constraints, we have seen some evidence of real progress. To name just the most recent example: a few weeks back when Jerry and I went to the pitching green and practiced what I called "allowing," we hit some of the best chips and pitches of our lives.
What I have learned by teaching skiing this winter will doubtless inform my approach to the project as we accelerate back into it in the weeks and months ahead. Between all the energy I put into improving my own skiing and teaching scores of students these past few months, a few principles about learning have come much more clearly into focus for me:
- There's no substitute for practice.
- Quality instruction is, at minimum, helpful, and is often indispensable.
- Centering is a skill, not a panacea.
- Patterns of negative verbal/linguistic self-description substantially hamper our ability to learn or improve a skill.
In weeks ahead, I'll be writing more about these principles, and, now that winter and the ski season are winding down, intend to bring a great deal of focused energy to the project Jerry and I set for ourselves six months ago. My goal remains to break 100 over an 18-hole round. My dream is to do it by the anniversary of starting this project. I look forward to getting to work.
Happy spring. Thanks for reading.