“Mind The Gap” For Peak Performance

Posted on: December 21st, 2012 by Jeff Ritter 2 Comments


When you’re in the “zone” you’re  living the beauty of perfection; flawless performance undisturbed by the restrictions of conscious thought. In this mental state you’re letting go and actually experiencing “doing” through NOT “doing.” For many golfers, however, internal dialogue creates a turbulent sea of over-analyzing, judging and worrying. These are the thoughts which disturb our flow and knock us off our game.

To connect with your natural brilliance it’s important you learn to more often experience “stillness” within your thoughts. PGA Tour Performance Psychologist Chris Dorris, refers to this idea as finding the “gap.” Says Dorris, “Imagine throwing a pebble into a quiet pool of water. The pebble would create a wave of tiny ripples which would then dissipate back into calmness. After the pool became calm, you might throw in another pebble, creating another wave of ripples.  The “gap” is the quiet in the water between each tossing of the pebbles. As it relates to your mind, this is the moment of stillness between your thoughts.

The best way for a golfer to experience the gap is through meditation. Dorris suggests, “Take twenty minutes out of your day and find a place of serenity. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and begin to quiet the mind.  As you notice the thoughts your mind is generating, gently release each one as if you were releasing a small helium filled balloon. Continue to repeat for the duration of the meditation. The exercise, is noticing and releasing the thoughts your mind “manically” creates. This will in time condition the mind to rest and quiet down. Ultimately, you will experience gaps in thinking or spaces of thoughtlessness. This will happen spontaneously. Over time, permit yourself to stay in the gaps longer before exiting by generating your next thought.” Dorris acknowledges, “This is a very difficult exercise, but the rewards are profound and lasting. Reduced anxiety, confidence, creativity, better coordination and patience are all benefits of the practice.”

Learn to find stillness within your thoughts. Quiet your mind of the turbulence that disrupts your excellence.  You will more often experience the natural brilliance that lies within.

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2 Responses

  1. Glenn M says:

    The parallels between improving your golf and martial arts discipline are indeed similar. After many years of training in various martial smarts, the true learning comes when you can calm your mind – as described – and let the body ‘discover’ the motion(s). The feeling is also described as a ‘light bulb’ turning on. When this happens you’ve got it.

  2. Jeff says:

    Thanks for the comment Glenn! Love your perspective!

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