(Premier Login aceputt) Forum Owner Posted Mar 21, 2011 3:41 AM
Short answer: transition, but okay to go back occasionally ...
Counting adds this to the skill:
"Thinking" rhythm back and thru is inadequate compared to anything that is a physical "doing" of the rhythm/tempo, in the sense that "speaking" or "saying" the count or even "thinking of saying" the count (hearing yourself inside your head only) connects the timing to cardio-pulmonary and muscular rhythm and tempo. That's why humming or whistling is better, as well. So is "breathing" the timing.
Counting is also a distraction that precludes more damaging engagement of random conscious effort in the stroke, and tends to mitigate the ill effects of emotional turmoil. According to Buddhist traditions, mental disequilibrium is mostly froth on the surface of the mind's lake cast up by the winds of random emotion and aimless thoughts occurring in response to the usual desire-driven nature of the meat wheel. Got that? According to neuroscience, there are more entrance holes into the conscious mind's fortification for devilish emotions than there are exits ports allowing the thinking mind to control or manage the wilds of the emotions. Ever see "F Troop" on TV?
The way I express my reading of the brain science, emotions "cause" thoughts and reactions in the mind the way waves cause the froth on the tops of the waves heading into the winds. Mental anxiety just has to be ignored, or reduced somehow, or accepted and tolerated. I reduce it with a) attitude that it's random and emotion-generated for no particularly useful purpose (I'm on a nice park-like golf course! I PAID to be here... etc.), and b) since it's aimless and not a result of my conscious will trying to solve a problem or make a better effort, it's least hurtful to IGNORE it and in any event not ACT in response to it as a way to "solve" or "resolve" the anxiety.
Counting makes you deal with the impatience at the top of the backstroke straight up. This is probably the really transitional aspect to counting, since you want to get past working on this ASAP (actually, safely and soonly, not hurriedly and impermanently). Don't get caught stuck on this problem longer than necessary, but deal with it by seeking to understand better WHY you're impatient and what to do about the CAUSE of the impatience.
The WHY golfers are impatient at the top of the backstroke is the mind's emotional reluctance to just dance. There are two mental fears at the top of the backstroke that are not physically warranted by the body's dancing the stroke: 1) the backstroke SIZE appears to imply (to the worrying mind) too much force at impact unless the ongoing dance timing is taken over and altered; and 2) there being a faster characteristic tempo in the mind than in the body, the mind fears that unless the faster tempo is engaged the thru-stroke force will be insufficient. Well, which is it? This is like a dictator saying to the people: You cannot live without me because the power of the people is too great AND because the people cannot control their power correctly.
The fact is that "the body's got your back". The body knows a lot more about responding effectively to the requirements of the world than does the mind, and so far at least the body doesn't cause a lot of harm in daily life. Counting makes the mind FACE this and eventually learn to "trust" that the body's backstroke SIZE choices are always fine regardless of the emotional / mental reaction. Staying physically intentfull on the space and envisioning / intending the result of the distance control given the space is the best approach, instead of a thinking-worrying "do something different than dance" approach.
Counting makes you smoother physically. The transition ought to be to replace counting with skilled smoothness. If you find yourself preferring to just make the back and thru nicely smooth, instead of counting, that is probably a good direction to head -- simpler, but carries forward the gain of having counted. The emotions and mind dart about checking the body like an insomniac Nun in the orphanage doing bed-checks in the dormitory every hour every night, to make sure no child has his or her eyes open, as the child might be thinking sinful thoughts instead of sleeping the sleep of angels.
The mind will find what it seeks, as this justifies the worry post hoc. So the golfer mentally anxious about the force of the stroke and the timing of the stroke will "find" fluctuations in muscle tone in the arms and hands and elsewhere that "signal impending disaster", so that the only emergency response that can save this body-driven stroke is for the mind to take over again (no surprise there, right?) by CHANGING the timing with changes in the muscle tone "feel" of what's happening.
I call this "thumb sucking" the stroke. Set a sufficient muscle tone and forget it. Don't stand there and "search the feel" like a worried weenie.
With the usual muscle tone set and forgotten, the stroke movement either exhibits smooth timing or not. Fearless putting means "man up and dance" with smooth suavity. So counting helps get past this usual state of affairs where the mind tries to grab back control and finds its "pretext for war" in some consequent-less transgression by the "enemy body" to "justify" a full scale invasion intent on regime change and nothing less. [In Vietnam, this was "the Gulf of Tonkin incident" (Google it, yungsta) and these days it is "crazy dictator's got his hands on WMDs".]
The mind at war with the body is generally not justified by what the body is doing. If there is a one-syllable number like the word "one" that also means "shut up while the backstroke finishes" and then a word like "two" that means "be happy and dance the downstroke" -- let's improvise: "man" and "up" will do nicely for this back and thru counting -- then substitute attitude for counting and see if that's a good transition.
Putting Coach and Theorist