Here’s a situation that Dr. Parent laid out in his book Zen Putting: Rick is playing world renowned golf club Cypress Point with his buddies, and he is playing excellent. Midway through the back nine he has a three foot putt he considered a gimme, but his buddies wouldn’t let him have it. Shaking with anger, Rick missed the putt, and remained angry for the rest of the day, ruining his round at this incredible golf course he may never have the chance to play again. Isn’t it incredible what power our emotions have over us?
In the article Emotion and Motor Control, the researchers refer to emotional affects as motivationally tuned states of readiness. How brilliant is that? In their experiment measuring the effect of emotional stimulation on movement, the researchers found that in certain circumstances, our accuracy will suffer due to emotional arousal, while in other circumstances our speed will increase. If we think about it, emotions could be looked at as an evolutionary safeguard intended to initially protect ourselves as cavemen. Nowadays, it seems that emotions are more or less there to protect our egos or our psychological states. So if it seems that we speed up our movements when we are emotionally aroused, we lose accuracy, which any athlete knows, is not ver desirable. So what can we do? Well, we certainly can’t get rid of our emotions. We can however manage how we react to our emotions. Let that anger, fear, disappoint take over, and it will rule you. But if you make the butterflies fly right, you might find a bit of a competitive edge. There is so much energy in an emotion – channel that energy into a positive source and I’m convinced that even negative emotions can produce good outcomes.