Consolidation – Knowledge Turning Into Knowhow

Knowing “how” to do something and “knowhow” are very different.  There are lots of individuals that can explain the way to do something, however there are fewer that have the ability to do it at any given moment.  This idea or concept of “explanation” versus “application” can open up a different perspective on learning.

Take for example the truth that nearly all people can “read” a putt.  Over the years I have asked nearly every player I coach, “Are you a good green reader?”  The answer is always, “Yes.  Pretty good.”  I then ask, “Tell me how you do it then.”  That is generally where the “knowledge” of the process on how they read a putt begins to fall a bit short.  “Well I look at this……and then I walk over here…..and then I check that…..” will generally be parts of the answer.  They are really quite certain, prior to explaining their process they know how to read putts; but do they really?

Mark Sweeney and AimPoint has done a world class job at turning “knowledge” into “knowhow” and with his program many, many have consolidated a great process of green reading.  AimPoint is all about knowing how to apply the principles and they are the best in the business.

What about Tiger woods and his statement that he “needs more reps.”  Tiger Woods is one of the greatest athletes and golfers of all-time!  This guy was winning Majors like they were club championships in the early 2000’s.  There is no doubt that Tiger Woods “knows” what he is trying to do with his swing.  There is no doubt that Chris Como “knows” what Tiger Woods needs to do with his swing.  Tiger’s statement of “needing more reps” is his way of saying the “knowledge” has not consolidated into knowhow.  Knowing the track record of Chris Como and Tiger Woods I look forward to when the “new swing” (which is really new knowledge) gets entrenched into Tiger’s neurons in the form of knowhow.

Turning the first exposure of information or movement into a trusted application requires a process; even if that process is not defined.  In other words, when a person first learns “how” hit a draw they will generally try to hit the draw.  More times than not, it doesn’t draw.  Typically they will try again and again until they can do it: on command, sometimes, or rarely.  When leaving the range if you were to ask them, “Can you hit a draw?” they would say “yes.”  However, if the golfer that can “rarely” hit the draw goes out to play nine holes attempting to “draw” each shot they will generally end up with some “mustard on their shirt” so to speak.  On the other hand, if the “rarely” golfer accepts it will take time and plays their “bread and butter” fade the nine holes will go much “cleaner.”

The process on paper is simple.  Come to know about it, practice it over and over, and then eventually it becomes something we can do.  This process is always a bit harder to do than to say as we all know.  With that said, I believe one of the most important aspects of knowhow is giving yourself a chance to learn to knowhow.  In other words, let yourself know up front that it will be a bit before you can turn the knowledge into knowhow.  When you do this a marvelous thing happens, you give yourself time.  The emotion of frustration turns into resilience and attitude of “I need to get this done now” turns into “I am getting closer to being able to do it.”  This emotion stuff, this emotional setting that you or I are trying to learn in is super-duper important.

I think it was Carol Dweck who said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are probably right.”  So think you can…….just maybe not today!

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