So, Ya Wanna Be a Golfing Genius?

The System With The Most Choices Wins!
Early in my professional career as a behavioral scientist I was exposed to the Law of Requisite Variety. The law of requisite variety (also known as the first law of cybernetics – cybernetics is the science of systems and controls in animals, including humans, and machines) states: “in any cybernetic system the element or person in the system with the widest range of behaviors or variability of choice will control the system”. In other words, the system with the most options wins! Continue reading

Simplicity Is Crunched Complexity

In my former life as a business executive I was having dinner with a renowned captain of industry in Chicago. There were four of us at the dinner table and after some small talk he suggested a word game that would help us get to know each other. The two other guests at the table seemed quite apprehensive, fearing this kind of revealing intimacy and unsure how to deal with it. As a behavioral scientist by professional training I was intrigued (I know, the stereotype can be accurate at times). The learning from this simple game made it an immediate favorite of mine and I’ve used it for years to break the ice with new associates and soon to be friends. Continue reading

Pre-Round Preparation – Be ready To Play

Several years ago I was driving south on Hwy 220 on my way to the Greater Greensboro Open (GGO) at Forest Oaks C.C. It was a new highway then, four-lane with a 65 mph speed limit. I came up quickly behind what I recognized as one of the PGA Tour Courtesy Cars and I slowed down to see the driver.
As I casually passed the car I recognized Mark Calcavecchia at the wheel. He was doing about 55 MPH and leaned way back in the seat, looking like he was half asleep. As I passed I looked to the right and briefly caught his eye. He gave me a friendly nod with wide-open forthcoming eyes and then he sank even lower in his seat. Wow, did he look relaxed. Continue reading

Why Have a Purpose When You Practice?

Technique: Be ‘On Purpose’ To Improve Intelligently
At the gym the other day I found myself at a locker next to a middle-aged guy in the dressing room. He was droning to his friends about how he came to the gym regularly but never saw good results: he chalked it up to advertising hype, age, genetics, diet and a busy schedule. Full of excuses, he trooped off to the gym with his buddies.

55 minutes later, as I finished my workout, I took the time to observe him. You see, I love going to the gym, but I am constantly amazed when I see people wandering around aimlessly like sheep looking for fresh grass. He was picking up a dumbbell here and pumping out a few reps and then wandering over and chatting with a friend, then pumping a few reps out on the bench press. No routine, no systemized sets or reps, no apparent purpose or outcome to his workout. Continue reading

Can You Handle Being Better? Breaking Through Your Performance Set Point

Can You Handle Being Better?
Mike was on his way to his first round ever below 80 as he came into the 18th hole. He was playing with his son in a fun weekend round, no money was on the line and he was relaxed and enjoying himself. He hit his drive in the fairway and then proceeds to pull his 5 iron shot into the bunker, hits a moderate explosion shot to within 10 feet and then 3 putts for a nice round 81.
“Foiled again”, he comments to his son with resignation as they walk off the green. “No matter what, I just never seem to break 80.”
“Ah, you were just outside your comfort zone Dad”, his son says sagely with a friendly hand on his shoulder. His Dad shook his head wryly as he nodded in assent. Continue reading

Your Body Wants to Do What You Tell It! Managing Your Internal Dialogue

Bill was a shot ahead in his club championship on the final day. On the first tee he pulls his drive deep left into the woods and he immediately begins to berate himself with a series of invectives that culminates in slamming his driver back into his bag. He walks down the fairway shaking his head and mumbling to himself. “You dummy… you idiot, what a dumb way to start.” The day goes downhill from there as the mistakes begin to accumulate. Remember that day? Perhaps you’ve started a round this way yourself? Continue reading