Feedback Aids to Awareness
We've all run into a situation in which we know that we're making an error but don't know what it is. In situations like this, it saves time to use an aid to awareness. The following are helpful aids.
The Other Students. The errors and successes of other athletes can serve as lessons and as inspiration.
Students less skilled than you remind you of your own progress. When you observe these beginners improving just as you did, you understand that you can also continue to improve.
Students who are more advanced than you are can serve as examples to copy. Learning from example is the way infants learn—and probably the most natural way to learn. Advanced athletes can inspire you by showing that highlevel skills are accessible to us all.
Visual Feedback Nothing serves the growth of awareness so instantly and so well as seeing a film or videotape of your own movements. Even a mirror can help you become realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.
The Teacher. The videotape or film can show you what you look like, but only the teacher can pinpoint the specific errors you are making in order of priority. The teacher is an intelligent feedback aid who can analyze and communicate information about errors and the ways to correct them.
The teacher has journeyed further up the mountain than you have and can show you how to avoid some of the pitfalls on the path. Throughout history, the teacher has been one of the best sources of feedback in the growth of awareness.
Exaggeration. If you have no access to films or teachers or videotapes and want a shortcut to awareness, then all you have to do is deliberately exaggerate your errors. If you are slicing your golf ball or continually falling in one direction, do it even worse—on purpose. This serves two purposes: First, the error becomes obvious, and your awareness grows instantly. Second, your errors become conscious, deliberate, and controlled instead of unconscious. They thus become far easier to correct.
Some teachers advocate letting yourself make errors, to cultivate patience and be free from self-criticism. This technique is helpful. But in going beyond this and deliberately repeating the error consciously, you will soon find yourself free of it. Deliberate error is no longer an error.