Feel Your Way to Better Sports Technique

athlete pain free athlete self the pain free athlete training Mar 14, 2013

"Human beings are the only species of life which has the capability of interfering with its own growth. The human being tends to block this natural process by doubting his potential. He believes that if he can't do something right away it's because the potential isn't there."
-Fritz Perls, father of Gestalt therapy

In other words, the abilities you need to excel in sports are already inside you waiting to emerge. Frustration in learning a correct golf swing or any another other sports technique comes from the idea that you have to acquire skills from somewhere outside yourself to succeed. The job of your instructor then, is to help you discover your natural talent. 

This innate ability of the human body to perform complex sports movements is what Tim Gallwey refers to as Self 2. In his book, Inner Skiing, he introduces the concepts of Self 2, the feeling body, and Self 1, the thinking brain. In order to reach our full potential we need to be able to quiet the commands of Self 1 - bend your knees, relax your upper body, you can't make that turn - and learn to trust Self 2.

"The main obstacle of the Inner Game is to free ourselves of whatever inner obstacles prevent Self 2's fullest expression and development."

These self imposed obstacles that only us humans possess are our limited and distorted self-beliefs about what we can do and achieve. Does a bird doubt it's ability to fly? Likewise, do you doubt your ability to ski, golf, bike, climb, run?

Inner Game Principles for Learning

  • Learn through discovery and experience, not ideas and concepts. Don't think about it, get out and do it!
  • Free your body to move and feel without concern for judgment or doing the skill "correct" or "the right way".
  • Self 2 needs sensory feedback to make refinements for improvement. "The quality of learning is directly proportional to the quality of feedback one receives from experience."
  • "Increase your awareness...awareness alone can bring about changes in technique."
  • Acquire new skills like a child - holistically. Observe the whole picture noticing not only the images but the feelings of the movement as you watch.

"Once we understand that it is the mind - Self 1 and its collections of self-concepts, doubts and fears accumulated over a lifetime which cause breakdowns and prevent optimal skiing, we can stop blaming our equipment, other people, snow conditions and moguls. When Self 1 is in a quiet state, our awareness increases and we discover Self 2, that part of us that can respond to any situation instantaneously with its fullest capabilities."

Reference: Inner Skiing, W. Timothy Gallwey

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