Perception is Reality
We’ve heard the phrase, but what does that mean when it comes to putting? And it ties in nicely with the idea of protecting the ball.
For any player, it’s the gathering of information. My most skillful players are excellent at understanding what the green and upcoming putt are giving them. This includes both speed and slope.
More importantly, they understand what to do with that information. They understand perceived affordances.
What is Perceived Affordance?
Rob Gray authored How We Learn To Move: A Revolution in the Way We Coach and Practice Sports Skills. I think this book has some valuable nuggets, especially when it comes to helping coaches communicate ideas with players. One of those nuggets that stuck out for me was the idea of affordability and notably our perception of it. "Perceiving of an affordance is... a process of perceiving a value-rich ecological object. Any substance, surface, and any layout has some affordance for benefit or injury to someone. Physics may be value-free, but ecology is not."
What does this have to do with my putting?
I know, I know. We're getting there.
Take a look at these two putts below. They're the same slope and same distance. Both putts go in (travel over the cup cover).
Which putt is your preference? Left, right, or it depends?
Your decision making is based on your perceived affordances of the distance and slope.
Click the link below for this incredibly short survey with your answer. We want to hear what you think!