The Mental Side Of Golf: Correct Muscle Memory is Necessary to Golf Consistency (Video)

Let me ask you a question about driving a car. If you are car driving you’ve been driving a car for a few years, how many times you ever get nervous behind the wheel? I would sort of suggest that it’s very rarely really, when you’re driving even in very heavy traffic and you don’t necessarily know where you’re going. You might be nervous about getting lost, but you’re probably not nervous about actually driving the car, or crashing the car, or stalling the car. And that’s because as an experienced driver, your body is conditioned to drive that car almost without thought. You think about where you want the car to go and your muscles will react to get you into that position to drive the car as you wish. And that’s because you build muscle memory.

Now muscle memory is a factor in a golf swing as well. Someone who’s got good muscle memory will be able to repeat the skills that they want to repeat over and over again with good accuracy and good consistency even when they're under quite a lot of pressure, maybe in a tournament or playing the last hole in through a green over water. What we don’t want to be doing is thinking too much about the individual aspects of the swing. We want to be making nice, smooth golf swings, just trusting the golf club to do what it does because we have ingrained muscle memory.

Now muscle memory specifically is actually a chemical called myelin. Now myelin works like a almost like an electrical wire which is a wire that goes from your brain to your muscles and that’s just a muscle fiber or a nerve fiber. Now your brain sends an electrical signal down that nerve fiber to your muscle when it wants it to do something. And every time it sends that signal, myelin is coated around that fiber, around that wire, if you like. So think about an electrical wire that’s got a big electrical coating around it, like a big electrical cable.

If it’s got a really thick electrical cable around it, the message that goes through that cable is going to be a lot stronger, a lot more direct, a lot quicker, and a lot less diluted. If you strip all that cabling away and just left with a bare wire, the message can get lost a little bit. So the electrical impulse from the brain to the muscle needs to be sort of channeled through this myelin-wrapped fiber really quickly, really accurately. Rather than left in the electrical signal, just kind of wander off and you lose where you’re going with your swing.

Now the more you practice something, the more myelin the body will create. And it creates more as a younger person rather than older person. So lot of older people actually feel their skills get worst when they don’t practice because myelin doesn’t stay around for very long, it kind of washes away and it dissipates. So we’ve got to try and keep increasing the myelin, or creating more myelin by practicing. As you get older, if you don’t practice, your skills will wander, your driving would wander, you would get less accurate with your movements, you get less accurate with your golf swing as well. The more you can practice, particularly when you’re young, the more myelin you build, the more muscle memory you’re actually building.

Now it’s really nice to build that myelin and to build that muscle memory when you’re playing well. So particularly if you’ve had a great round of golf, you finished the last green, you’re happy with your score, don’t just go home and think that you’ll play as well next week. Go to the practice round – go to practice ground then work on your game when you’re playing well, just lots and lots of repetitions and lots of lots of good stuff to build that myelin. Understand that the stronger you get your practice swings, the stronger you get your real swings, the more myelin you’re building, the more muscle memory you’re building.

Then when you’re playing under pressure, the myelin, the muscle memory is all still therefore you can repeat those skills under pressure with a little bit more certainty, a little bit more consistency. That again reduces the fear, increases the confidence in your own game and the muscle memory will be there for you for a long time to come.

The Mental Side Of Golf: Correct Muscle Memory is Necessary to Golf Consistency (Video)

Let me ask you a question about driving a car. If you are car driving you’ve been driving a car for a few years, how many times you ever get nervous behind the wheel? I would sort of suggest that it’s very rarely really, when you’re driving even in very heavy traffic and you don’t necessarily know where you’re going. You might be nervous about getting lost, but you’re probably not nervous about actually driving the car, or crashing the car, or stalling the car. And that’s because as an experienced driver, your body is conditioned to drive that car almost without thought. You think about where you want the car to go and your muscles will react to get you into that position to drive the car as you wish. And that’s because you build muscle memory.

Now muscle memory is a factor in a golf swing as well. Someone who’s got good muscle memory will be able to repeat the skills that they want to repeat over and over again with good accuracy and good consistency even when they're under quite a lot of pressure, maybe in a tournament or playing the last hole in through a green over water. What we don’t want to be doing is thinking too much about the individual aspects of the swing. We want to be making nice, smooth golf swings, just trusting the golf club to do what it does because we have ingrained muscle memory.

Now muscle memory specifically is actually a chemical called myelin. Now myelin works like a almost like an electrical wire which is a wire that goes from your brain to your muscles and that’s just a muscle fiber or a nerve fiber. Now your brain sends an electrical signal down that nerve fiber to your muscle when it wants it to do something. And every time it sends that signal, myelin is coated around that fiber, around that wire, if you like. So think about an electrical wire that’s got a big electrical coating around it, like a big electrical cable.

If it’s got a really thick electrical cable around it, the message that goes through that cable is going to be a lot stronger, a lot more direct, a lot quicker, and a lot less diluted. If you strip all that cabling away and just left with a bare wire, the message can get lost a little bit. So the electrical impulse from the brain to the muscle needs to be sort of channeled through this myelin-wrapped fiber really quickly, really accurately. Rather than left in the electrical signal, just kind of wander off and you lose where you’re going with your swing.

Now the more you practice something, the more myelin the body will create. And it creates more as a younger person rather than older person. So lot of older people actually feel their skills get worst when they don’t practice because myelin doesn’t stay around for very long, it kind of washes away and it dissipates. So we’ve got to try and keep increasing the myelin, or creating more myelin by practicing. As you get older, if you don’t practice, your skills will wander, your driving would wander, you would get less accurate with your movements, you get less accurate with your golf swing as well. The more you can practice, particularly when you’re young, the more myelin you build, the more muscle memory you’re actually building.

Now it’s really nice to build that myelin and to build that muscle memory when you’re playing well. So particularly if you’ve had a great round of golf, you finished the last green, you’re happy with your score, don’t just go home and think that you’ll play as well next week. Go to the practice round – go to practice ground then work on your game when you’re playing well, just lots and lots of repetitions and lots of lots of good stuff to build that myelin. Understand that the stronger you get your practice swings, the stronger you get your real swings, the more myelin you’re building, the more muscle memory you’re building.

Then when you’re playing under pressure, the myelin, the muscle memory is all still therefore you can repeat those skills under pressure with a little bit more certainty, a little bit more consistency. That again reduces the fear, increases the confidence in your own game and the muscle memory will be there for you for a long time to come.