Several years ago I ran across a fascinating video that taught me a lot about the techniques magicians use to complete their illusions. On the video was a circle of 8 people in front of an elevator dressed in black and white. They had two basketballs and the instructions given were to count the number of passes and bounces as the 8 people walked in a circle. Pretty simple task huh?
What ensued was nothing short of a reality check. In the course of the 30 seconds the group passed and bounced the basketballs, a person in a full gorilla suit walks into the middle of the circle, beats his chest and then exits the other side.
The magic; not one individual in the 200-person group I was in saw the gorilla. How was that possible? The answer is called intentional mis-direction. We were told to count the passes and bounces and in the process of focusing our attention on what was asked we missed the gorilla. Several people actually missed the gorilla the second time during a re-play because they were still watching the balls. A few hard cores refused to believe it was the same video.
The point here is that the brain is wired to generalize, delete and distort massive amounts of information all the time. It is set of functions allowing us to operate in the world and they are very useful. The downside is that we miss things right in front of us (like the gorilla) because we are pre-disposed to see what we are looking for or what we’re expecting to see or what we are told to look for.
Is it any surprise that when four people witness a traffic accident they all give different reports of what happened? Not at all, because during the stress of the event they were highly focused on a narrow portion of the event.
The implications are important to intelligent practice. Recently, during my own deep practice session I watched a video replay of my own swing about 10 times looking at plane angles and trying to figure out a glitch. My attention was totally on my lower body movement (knees, hips) and on my arms as they moved in and up. After 10 viewings I still hadn’t seen the problem.
Finally the bolt of lightening hit and I noticed head movement (meaning spine) from a DTL perspective that was quite obvious and clearly put me in the wrong position. My immediate reaction was “how did I miss that the first 10 times?”
The answer was mis-direction. I had programmed myself to look at something specific and that was all I was seeing …..over and over.
- Take a broad view when analyzing swing issues, particularly on film
- Look at your whole swing first and then narrow in on specifics for review
- Develop a check list based on the Single Plane Solution graphics from DTL and Front View
- When studying the SPS DVD, be sure and take the time to make distinctions beyond what you are instructed to see. You will be amazed at what you can notice.