Being able to see means that we have understood something as we found a way to visualize it. There are a multitude of ways we can develop to create this ability. One of my preferred methods is to find an analogy, usually one that helps me to create some structure.
I usually don’t search for an analogy, I start getting a feeling for it when I understand a structure of the thing I’m learning. It is when I start to see the structure that I almost automatically apply it to other situations and determine how it works there. I don’t know how I came to this habit, it is there. It is through a multitude of conversations linked to golf that I started to play golf. One of the details I now enjoy about this game is that it has become a well of useful images.
The most visible aim of playing golf is to bring a ball form a starting point to a hole with the least possible amount of strokes.
For a beginner, this might lead to the erroneous strategy to play all the strokes with the intent of reaching the hole. Such an approach leaves the facts aside that a better game is one which is consistent and close to par.
Seeking to bring the ball into the hole as fast as possible is a fixation on the result. A different way to act would be to consider the journey towards the hole as well as one’s own playing ability. The speed of the journey towards the hole being affected by the risk of missing a stroke.
To move the ball from one point to another, the most important aspect is the way the face of the club touches the ball. When the face of the club touches the ball it has to touch the ball in an optimal spot, be square to the hole as well as and have the adequate vertical angle. I’ll leave the technical details aside on how these elements shape the path of the ball. My aim is more to describe a structure I’ve been using to analyze my swing.
There are three things I do to bring the face of the club towards the ball.
I determine the path the ball should take, organize my position towards the ball and execute a movement to actually move the ball.
To decide on the path I want the ball to take, I have to assess the situation and choose a strategy. Which is the direction and distance I want to move the ball towards? Where am I standing? How does this position impact the tools and method I will use to hit the ball?
Organizing myself describes how I will position myself in relation to the ball. It prepares the movement I want to make. This preparation involves a multitude of little details, as for example my grip on the club, the distance I keep to the ball or the angle I use when holding the club.
The movement I’ll execute with the club is the last part and it is one that happens with as little control as possible. It is as if the club would need to move on its own along the path we visualized. Adapting the movement usually derails it and sends the ball astray.
Instead of controlling the execution of the movement we watch the movement and feel how the body positions itself in the space. This observation will then serve to determine useful corrections for the next time.
These three subcategories structure the movement as they differ from one another. Each category uses a different approach and thus different methods and tools. It is something I also encounter in my work, there I would describe the three steps as: Assessing the situation and the strategy that it allows. Establishing a position allowing to execute the plan we determined with the strategy. Executing the plan.
Going back to playing golf, there is also the time between two strokes. The observations we made while executing the last stroke have the time to sink in during that walk. It’s an opportunity to enhance the next stroke. When do you take the time to reflect?
Every time I dive into this analogy, there is more I see.
Learning to see is underrated. It’s once we get used to it that the fascination unfolds, we start to see how much seeing can teach us.