Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
[url="index.php?option=com_community&view=groups&task=viewgroup&groupid=78&Itemid=3"]Brain Science and Golf Performance[/url] Group Forum: Kicking golf teachers up a notch with $100 billion dollars of research and NEW knowledge 1990-2010 about how the human brain and body actually work for the action in playing golf -- sit this one out if you don't really care about improving the status quo.
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2

TOPIC: The World is Flat in Golf, so they say

"Explain" is a Strong Term 4 years 5 months ago #1390

  • Geoff Mangum
  • Geoff Mangum's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 410
  • Thank you received: 24
Dear Hoops,

Mebbe somewhat. The word "explain" is a strong word in this context. The leading researchers into the causes and nature of hand lateralization don't really have a good "handle" on the causes of left-handedness, or right-handedness either for that matter.

Left handedness has variously been seen as correlated with left-sidedness for language (shown recently to be false), birth trauma, early mortality, cultural biases, and the like. The definition, causes, relations to language sidedness, and strength and changeability of handedness and ambidexterity / -trality are all cloudy areas in neuroscience.

The usual term for what we are discussing is "cross-dominance", which is commonly used when a person is left-HANDed but right-EYEd or some crossing of hands, feet, eyes, ears preference. But it refers more technically to a person who uses a preferred hand for one purpose but the other hand for another purpose. Ambidexterity is a rare subset of cross-dominance.

These folks were cross-dominant:

Leonardo da Vinci - Renaissance artist and scientist
Albert Einstein - Scientist
Richard Feynman - Scientist
Oscar Wilde - Playwright and poet
Nikola Tesla - Inventor
Michelangelo - Artist
Jimi Hendrix - Guitarist
Benjamin Franklin - Scientist
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi - Religious and political leader
Ludwig van Beethoven - composer
Shawn Michaels - Professional wrestler
Kobe Bryant - Professional NBA basketball player
LeBron James - Professional NBA basketball player
Sachin Tendulkar - Professional cricketer
Rafael Nadal - Professional tennis player
Ronnie O'Sullivan Professional snooker player
Donovan McNabb American Football Player

Incidentally, FIVE of the last 7 US Presidents have been left handers:

Gerald Ford 38th
[not Jimmy Carter 39th]
Ronald Reagan 40th
George HW Bush 41st
Bill Clinton 42nd
[not George Bush 43rd]
Barack Obama 44th

Some people think mixed dominance (hand, eye, foot differences in sides) underlies some learning difficulty in many people and needs therapeutic training to rebalance the uses. According to this, mixed dominance causes some / many people in sports that "cross the body's midline" to feel uncomfortable. This person writes:
    "I have found that martial arts, or any activity that crosses the vertical midline of the body, is beneficial to kids and adults who are mixed dominant. I am mixed dominant, which has never interfered with learning, but I never really knew where I fit into space until I learned karate. Too bad I waited until I was in my 40’s to try this. Baseball and golf are also helpful. I have found that kids who are mixed dominant are often outstanding athletes, but they usually pick lateral sports, such as motocross, soccer, track, etc. They naturally choose an activity that doesn’t cross the vertical midline, because the crossing makes them uncomfortable."
I would say that there is a structural reason for left handers ho play right handed possibly being better in spatial activities like sports. (In this line of thinking, lefties playing lefty don't have an advantage. I can't say they do or don't.) The left hemisphere operates the right side of the body and vice versa, which means the left hand is operated by the right hemipshere. The right hemisphere in most people (including left handers) has spatial awareness and body-in-space awareness in the right hemisphere. Vision is divided so that everything entering either eyeball from the world to the left of where one looks goes to the right hemisphere, and everything to the right goes to the left hemisphere.

So a left-hander playing golf left handed is always standing sideways to a target off to his right. Thus the relevant world visually goes to the left hemisphere but space and the left hand are in the right hemisphere. Not too good. And the left hand is on the side of the body AWAY from the target.

A right hander playing right handed has the target world visually sent to the right hemisphere and that is his space and body side but not his dominant hand side.

Lefty: target visual to the analytical-language side, space-body and dominant hand-control on the holistic side, dominant hand on the wrong side of the body

Righty: target visual to the holistic side of space-body, space-body on opposite hemisphere from dominant hand, dominant hand on wrong side of body.

Trying to reduce the conflicts, first one would note that the hand on the SAME side as the target is the one to pay most attention to and to USE in golf more than the away-side hand. This clearly helps right-handers by emphasizing the nearside hand which is also in the same hemisphere as the space-body AND the target visual. A right-hander using the left hand to make a putting stroke gets all the stars aligned!

A left-hander who uses his right hand to make the stroke still has a problem, though. The target visual goes to the same hemisphere as the hand he is now using (left hemisphere, as he now uses the right hand) but it's not where the space-body processes are located (right).

But a left-hander putting right handed has the DOMINANT side near the target, should USE this hand in the stroke, has the target visual in the right hemisphere where also resides the space-body, and the right hemisphere is controlling the left hand. That's as good as the stars-aligned right-hander using the left hand except the lefty is using his dominant hand, so he has perhaps a slight advantage.

The right-hand golfer needs to TRAIN the use of the left hand into dominance. (Ask Dave Stockton's father.)

Jack Nicklaus is a left-hander putting right-handed (stars-aligned plus dominant hand also on target side of body).

Phil Mickelson is the "mirror opposite" of Jack Nicklaus, since he is a right-hander putting left handed. Even though he may have trained his right hand (the hand on the same side as the target), he still gets his target visual input ported to the analytical side of the brain (unless he's weird about which side language is on, not very likely). He's basically at a little disadvantage because of this visual going to his left brain. He'd probably be better if he played golf left handed enough to train his left side into dominance and then turn around and play right handed.

Notah Begay III putts either way depending on the break, so the break is always towards him and the ball stays "above his feet". Well, that's not really the idea --always afraid of putts that break away from you?

Notice also that none of this is talking about being left-handed but right-eye dominant or needing to be same side with the dominant hand and the dominant eye. That's a barrier that can be gotten thru, because eye dominance is a small aspect of vision that only correlates to when the eye is used to "sight" a direction. Eye dominance doesn't influence everything visual in a sort of free-floating, constant way.

There is some evidence that whole-sidedness correlates with which hemisphere is language and analysis and which hemisphere is space and body more than handedness does, and footedness may correlate more than handedness does also. I hope not, because I'm totally left-footed and play golf right handed using the left side more than the rear side. I hope I'm not dumping all that valuable visual input on top of my analysis hemisphere!



Cheers!

Geoff Mangum
Putting Coach and Theorist

PuttingZone.com

Last Edit: 4 years 5 months ago by Geoff Mangum.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Juggling 4 years 5 months ago #1391

  • Geoff Mangum
  • Geoff Mangum's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 410
  • Thank you received: 24
Dear parks,

Yes, interesting. So is juggling, which is all rhythm with both hands on the same music of keeping the balls going.



That would train the weaker hand and make the person more all-sided or total-bodied, rather than one-sided. Probably a good thing.

Most golfers need to strengthen the weaker arm and hand.

Cheers!

Geoff Mangum
Putting Coach and Theorist

PuttingZone.com

Last Edit: 4 years 5 months ago by Geoff Mangum.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Automaticity in Golf 4 years 5 months ago #1392

  • notJason
  • notJason's Avatar
geoffmangum wrote:
"The main reason you can't move the same way each and every time, such as swinging a golf club, is that your brain can't plan the swing the same way each time," - Assistant Professor Krishna Shenoy

Ahhhh ,,,

This goes a long way to understanding why I feel as though I am modifying my putting stroke or jumping around to an almost different awareness for each putt.
Not speaking about the necessary changes you need to make when facing radically different conditions / putts. Rather , lets take this to the practice green, you are repeating the exact same putt ( although now we know that's impossible ) and maybe for two or three consecutive tries it really was perceived to be the same feeling. But to now find the hole again you need to search/arrive at what feedback tells you is a different stroke (though to an observer you might look like a machine - seeing no difference).
So now I know I can trust my minds need to sift though different firing solutions like a junkie looking for the best fix and not second guess the process. Nice to know.

I wonder if every time you 'look' are you getting a new 'solution' or are you refining info arrived at and built upon from the time you walk onto the green until you curse ?
I'm going to experiment and give up multiple 'looks' down to just a general slope / break read coupled with a long 'one' look over the ball before firing.


Parks I remember that book - I still have drawings I did that were produced almost as if an old dot matrix printer would have completed them. I eventually just broke everything I saw down into simple shapes ( squares, triangles etc. ) and relied upon spatial distance/size relationships to assemble them. I'll be dammed if that isn't similar to how we (I) construct or read the break of a difficult putt.



( or was the article saying we should be training monkeys to putt for us ? )
Last Edit: 4 years 5 months ago by notJason. Reason: changed now to 'know'
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Automaticity in Golf 4 years 5 months ago #1399

  • scott tinkler
  • scott tinkler's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 19
  • Thank you received: 5
Thanks for showing us this research Geoff, it's really fascinating indeed. Have you personally explored ways for students of the game to address this in training for the swing?

Mm, my brain is buzzing a bit, a lot to think about with that, it's really along the lines that I suspected but explained in a very clear way. Goes a long way to showing how technical thought during a shot is damaging and indeed useless as we can't perform it the way we 'should' or "did" I guess? We need to re invent ourselves all the time?

Looking forward to the ensuing discussion.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Automaticity in Golf 4 years 5 months ago #1410

  • Parks
  • Parks's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 354
  • Thank you received: 149
Hey NJ,
what an intresting approach to reading a putt, take the dotmatrix approach, Start from the side at the top near hole and read it foot step by foot step.

I'll give it a go, if it works I'll change my Avatar to
Last Edit: 4 years 5 months ago by Parks. Reason: Image Didn't Work
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Automaticity in Golf 4 years 5 months ago #1411

  • notJason
  • notJason's Avatar
If you do - can you paint a smiley face on it - I can no longer make eye contact with 'tib's' avatar.

Yeah - I definitely can't break a putt down foot by foot and if I could I would be the guy on the green pulling my hair out singing 'Daisy, Daisy'. But I often notice the gears turning and how I break the putt down into diffuse shapes that are speed sections, each relying on the other that the line runs through. ( Wait ... Dave ... what are you doing ...)
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Fluctuations in Perceptions 4 years 5 months ago #1416

  • Geoff Mangum
  • Geoff Mangum's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 410
  • Thank you received: 24
Dear notJason,

Responding to you:
    "I wonder if every time you 'look' are you getting a new 'solution' or are you refining info arrived at and built upon from the time you walk onto the green until you curse ?
    I'm going to experiment and give up multiple 'looks' down to just a general slope / break read coupled with a long 'one' look over the ball before firing."

My experience, and research, says that a) the golfer is RESPONSIBLE for learning how to generate accurate perceptions of reality, and b) the accuracy of the movement depends upon this, c) BUT multiple looking and standing still looking at the same thing the same way has the tendency to cause the brain to "fluctuate" in the perceptions.

This is what happens with "optical illusions" -- the brain is taking in raw information (corners, edges, areas, contrast) and coming up with "best guesses" as to object appearance and 3-D shape and word-based "identity" if appropriate, before moving on to USING the visual info for associating the vision with what to do about it (e.g., it's right-to-left slightly uphill break etc. so aim "thisaway").

The problem is when the raw data is "ambiguous" or insufficiently favoring one interpretation over another. When multiple interpretations are ball-park somewhat equally plausible (a role is played in this by preconceptions and expectations, so watch out for that too), then the brain does not "resolve" the issue but presents first one "perception" and then "the other", flip flopping casually back and forth for no particular reason. The term is "hunting".

The most well-known example in psychology and neuroscience that illustrates the brain's ambiguity and interpretive process is called the "Necker Cube" -- a wireframe 2-D depiction of a 3-D cube that causes the brain to see first one of the cube's faces / sides closest but then again maybe it's the opposite face / side that is the closest, then again maybe ... etc.





In putting, this pops up when you see different breaks when you should see only one, when you're standing over the ball and second-guess the break or the aim of the putter, and even after stroking the ball while watching it en route as it doesn't seem to be tracking correctly as expected or desired or with a pace that looks funny.

I sort this out by getting a migraine headache (humor) when reading the putt very carefully, and while aiming the putter based on the read very carefully (or when intuitively reading-aiming in the setting up to a breaking putt) and even sometimes is setting up or squaring up the body to the aim of the putter -- whatever gets your putter aimed and your stroke posture sorted to that aim -- but then I commit.

What does it mean to "commit"? It means 1) IGNORE fluctuations in perceptions of read and aim unless you want to recycle and start over; 2) NEVER do anything stroke-wise other than send the ball where the putter face got aimed with the usual movement pattern; and 3) don't respond to doubts by trying to solve a new perception that raises a problem by using added power to iron out the wrinkles or by using a funny stroke to sort out the doubt. Sucker play.

I regards fluctuations in perceptions (sense of rightness of read, aim, target location, start line, even body setup fitness to intention) as "to be expected and not troublesome necessarily ..." So I have a "wait" caused by the fluctuations but I don't really vest in the idea that what I have already done is "wrong" or "needs improving" unless the fluctuations are particularly persistent or substantially different from what I've already decided is right. Do the fluctuating perceptions REALLY mean the first 3-5 inches of the putt ought to point a different direction?

Sometimes instead of re-cycling thru the routine, I'll just shift the putter face aim a tick or so and then re-set the feet and body with the new aim and see what I perceive and feel about that -- better? If clearly yes, I go. If not, I might try to return to what I had before this little taste testing of the doubt-sparked new aim, but I should probably re-cycle.

So once aimed, it's EASY AS PIE -- no pressure at all. The ONLY thing you could or should do once the read-aim is sorted -- and that is marked by whenever the putter stops wiggling -- is putt the ball where aimed with the usual stroke action and good rhythm.

Last thought distance, and pull the trigger no worries.

It's either that or start over.

Cheers!

Geoff Mangum
Putting Coach and Theorist

PuttingZone.com

Last Edit: 4 years 5 months ago by Geoff Mangum.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Fluctuations in Perceptions 4 years 5 months ago #1427

  • notJason
  • notJason's Avatar
Geoff Mangum
What does it mean to "commit"? It means 1) IGNORE fluctuations in perceptions of read and aim unless you want to recycle and start over; 2) NEVER do anything stroke-wise other than send the ball where the putter face got aimed with the usual movement pattern; and 3) don't respond to doubts by trying to solve a new perception that raises a problem by using added power to iron out the wrinkles or by using a funny stroke to sort out the doubt. Sucker play.

I regards fluctuations in perceptions (sense of rightness of read, aim, target location, start line, even body setup fitness to intention) as "to be expected and not troublesome necessarily ..." So I have a "wait" caused by the fluctuations but I don't really vest in the idea that what I have already done is "wrong" or "needs improving" if the fluctuations are particularly persistent or substantially different from what I've already decided is right. Do the fluctuating perceptions REALLY mean the first 3-5 inches of the putt ought to point a different direction?

Sometimes instead of re-cycling thru the routine, I'll just shift the putter face aim a tick or so and then re-set the feet and body with the new aim and see what I perceive and feel about that -- better? If clearly yes, I go. If not, I might try to return to what I had before this little taste testing of the doubt-sparked new aim, but I should probably re-cycle.

So once aimed, it's EASY AS PIE -- no pressure at all. The ONLY thing you could or should do once the read-aim is sorted -- and that is marked by whenever the putter stops wiggling -- is putt the ball where aimed with the usual stroke action and good rhythm.

Last thought distance, and pull the trigger no worries.

What strikes me here is that I know exactly what your talking about - in detail. I would never have believed that what I thought were my own unique cognitions are the same perceptions that everyone else applies. ( I'm not crazy after all ! - oh wait . )
One style of re-cycle / palate cleansing I use if I get distracted or trapped in pronounced 'hunting' (indecision) is, instead of pulling a Furyk and backing off, is to stay put and purposely move the line beyond the slopes ability to bring the ball back to the hole. Typically further against the opposing force. This makes me face down the concern the slope represents rather than over valuing it in the decision process. ( not so necessary on the practice green but helpful when cold putting on an unfamiliar green ).( I reset a new line after this ).

I've got a feeling all these brain posts are solidifying trust in practices I was before only aware of on the periphery and that from now on whatever mindset I step onto the green with I should accept that there's no zone to get into. It just is what it is ( which is Science's ineptitude at not being able to tell me what to do i.e their fault, not mine - well another mystery solved !).


Been drifting away from caring how the face is set up lately. Obviously it's reasonably square to target point, but instead I've educated my right hand to be the putter face that I focus on instead (through feel). I find when I'm putting well this is what I feel anyways. Is this a learning curve thing or the road to bogey town?
Below is a pic describing what I mean. It's as if the closed right hand is holding a construction trowel ( though that is NOT what I visualize ). The flat plane of the trowel is how my closed hand feels, or represents to me, the alignment of the putter face.

Last Edit: 4 years 5 months ago by notJason.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Tools and Extended Body Sense 4 years 5 months ago #1430

  • Geoff Mangum
  • Geoff Mangum's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 410
  • Thank you received: 24
Dear notJason,

Neuroscience speaks explicitly about how tool use grows cells in your brain. Imagine the brain of a concert pianist or violinist -- more cells in one particular fingers area of somatosensory cortex plus motorsensory cortex than non-musicians (probably the auditory cortex areas also, timing areas, etc.)

Same applies to a carpenter.

But the twist is that there is a sensing ability very close to the body. The blind person's cane at the step-off of a sidewalk is an extension of the body, and sooner or later just putting the cane tip near the curb helps "feel" the shape and size of the step off and what to expect about the foot hitting the pavement. Imagine touching the surface of a large Pilates ball with eyes closed and then hovering the palm and fingertips just above the surface and trying to smoothly move the hand around the spherical shape of the ball without touching it. This would not be terribly difficult, but you can see where the other body parts are combining / conspiring to guide the hand around the ball -- sort of a pooled effort, not really fingers that see or anything spooky like that.

The usual research holds that there are so-called "visual" cells that operate in peripersonal space as extensions of the body. Tool use incorporates the tool into the body. This contrary research below more acutely points up the present state of the research in its developing state.
Tool-use: Capturing multisensory spatial attention or extending multisensory peripersonal space?
Nicholas P. Holmes, Daniel Sanabria, Gemma A. Calvert,* and Charles Spence
Cortex. 2007 April; 43(3): 469–489.

Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University, Oxford, UK

* Department of Psychology, Bath University, Bath, UK

Corresponding author: Nicholas P. Holmes, Department of Experimental Psychology, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3UD, United Kingdom, Tel: +44 1865 271 307, Fax: +44 1865 310447, E-mail: URL: www.psy.ox.ac.uk/xmodal/default.htm

Abstract

The active and skilful use of tools has been claimed to lead to the ‘extension’ of the visual receptive fields of single neurons representing peripersonal space – the visual space immediately surrounding one’s body parts. While this hypothesis provides an attractive and potentially powerful explanation for one neural basis of tool-use behaviours in human and nonhuman primates, a number of competing hypotheses for the reported behavioural effects of tool-use have not yet been subjected to empirical test. Here, we report five behavioural experiments in healthy human participants (N = 120) involving the effects of tool-use on visual-tactile interactions in peripersonal space. Specifically, we address the possibility that the use of only a single tool, which is typical of many neuropsychological studies of tool-use, induces a spatial allocation of attention towards the side where the tool is held. Participants’ tactile discrimination responses were more strongly affected by visual stimuli presented on the right side when they held a single tool on the right, compared to visual stimuli presented on the left. When two tools were held, one in each hand, this spatial effect disappeared. Our results are incompatible with the hypothesis that tool-use extends peripersonal space, and suggest instead that tools result in an automatic multisensory shift of spatial attention to the side of space where the tip of the tool is actively held. These results have implications for many of the cognitive neuroscientific studies of tool-use published to date. (FULL TEXT continued, use the link above.)

Many golfers report "feeling" the putter face's aim connecting with the target.

Personally, I aim with the back of the lead hand, as I regard the left hand (operated by the right brain) of a right hander better equipped and better able to aim accurately in space off to the left side (which sends visual information to the right hemisphere), since the right hemisphere is specialized for external spatial awareness and body-in-space awareness.

But the center of the rear palm can also "sense" a connection with a target as well.

One thing I teach sometimes is thinking of the putter face as having a red laser beam extending straight off the center aiming along the green and deliberately mis-aiming this beam and then sweeping the beam back onto or over the hole as if there were a receptor pole in the center of the cup, such that hitting the pole with the beam lit up the pole. This action of sweeping the aim onto the target seems to work pretty well. I find the more precise direction of approach to be (for me) from the left to the right of the hole.

But this is all to say I'm sure there's something real and valuable about your mis-aiming / re-aiming and using the palm of the hand also.

Cheers!

Geoff Mangum
Putting Coach and Theorist

PuttingZone.com

Last Edit: 4 years 5 months ago by Geoff Mangum.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

If it aint broke, don't fix it. 4 years 5 months ago #1434

  • notJason
  • notJason's Avatar
Yeah the 'mis-aim' I sometimes use is just an attempt to avoid the motion of a complete restart by locking in an entirely different putt and then letting it go to clear my original flubbed try at seeing the line. If I can see the line, which is 99.999% of the time on the practice green, I don't do this re-start cheat. But on the golf course greens I can get a bit tentative ( the killer ). It's sort of like what I'm starting to do on the tee box if my swing is not the best that day - I'm aiming all my practice swing-s straight at the hazard to face the beast and get it out of my system then aim to my desired landing area and let it go- but only if I'm having trouble with focus.
From that drawing I made of the hand & trowel maybe I should have said that it's the same feeling as cupping your fingers & thumb pad around the grip and then pressing that hand up against a wall.

Well, that out of the way, I went to the range/practice green today, and have to say (once again ) THANK YOU. It's so much easier, mentally & physically to just roll the ball now. Although I did go there pre-programmed with the total belief that putting practice would be great today- it was the fact that I only went as the 'assistant' to my brain - basically to set things up and then give it blind trust to take over ( no expectations, no judgment ). This may sound like what everyone already does but I drank the Kool-Aid and can assure you it's different - at least for me. I want to say that it gives you more confidence but that has nothing at all to do with it because it's just about getting out of the way. It's hard to describe it without using '80's psycho-babble. Perhaps all it is, since it's new to me, is the same old thing without the crap added in - It's being freed up from 'myths' or 'fog' of how it's supposed to, or should work, or what I 'should' be thinking etc. Ok. lets try this, since it's already mentioned in the above post, - It's being able to use the 'tool' (brain) effectively because now you know how its works - and it only works if you don't try to manipulate it. ( If it aint broke - don't fix it, facilitate it ).

Going to work on using my left hand more now - not looking forward to it but always knew I would have to do this someday. ( Compared to my right hands awareness & control my left hand is it's glue sniffing hillbilly cousin ).




Geoff -
I'm sure with your well read background you already know about this stuff but I thought I would add it into the 'mind-mix'. It also has it's say apparently ...

(Wait for 18 sec. audio commercial to end then rather than wait through two non-related stories - Scroll to 40:45 in audio to get to 'third act' - Blood Agent )

www.thisamericanlife.org/sites/all/play_...ay_full.php?play=274
and
www.ted.com/talks/bonnie_bassler_on_how_...ria_communicate.html
Last Edit: 4 years 5 months ago by notJason.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2
Time to create page: 0.370 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum