The way sports are taught today is completely backward especially when considered in the context of my previous posts on The Zone.
Coaches watch the athletic performances of great athletes. They analyze a top athlete's motion and break it down into its component parts. Then they teach techniques to replicate that motion.
Golf and tennis magazines are filled with articles (with sequential pictures) that dissect strokes into the tiniest of details. Articles of this sort invariably appear in every single issue. As a result, a student of a sport feels that the detailed knowledge of these movements is essential for improving his game. That is an extreme pity because having the mind focused on tiny details of an athletic movement royally screws it up.
On the other side of the coin, we almost never hear about what was happening inside an athlete's brain while he was in the middle of a great performance. That is curious because the athlete's brain is what initiated that great performance. When the mind is right, the body spontaneously expresses itself perfectly for that precise moment in time. I am absolutely certain a top athlete does not think about where his shoulder should be in relation to his hips or making sure that his elbow is like this and this chin like that. If a baseball player thought like that, the pitch would be past him before he got the bat off his shoulder.
Top performances flow without any mental interference whatsoever.
We have all experienced that even though we may have mastered all the physical aspects of a sport, we lose the ability to perform them well under pressure. Therefore, it seems to me that teaching how to think (and more importantly how to not think) will bring success more quickly than teaching how to replicate the stroke of a great athlete.
"Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course, the space between your ears." Bobby Jones