Pro Tina Tombs subjects herself to Crews' hypothesis
Debbie Crews of Arizona State University believes one key
to athletic success is getting the left and right hemispheres
of the brain in balance. Her theory is that, in sports, the
left hemisphere--the analytical, verbal side--is quite busy
telling you what to do. To perform well as you swing a golf
club, for instance--the left hemisphere must calm down. So
the right hemisphere--which controls rhythm, timing, balance,
coordination, creativity and imagery--steps up its activity.
In the last second before you move, then, the two hemispheres
achieve a state of balance.
"Brainy Putting," Crews uses Alan to illustrate her theory,
outfitting him in a cap with electrodes to pick up his brainwaves.
Then she asks him to putt.
each of his own putts on a scale of 1 to 10, Alan averages
about an 8. Then Crews puts him on a balance board, forcing
him to get his body in balance in the hopes that his brain
will follow suit.
tough going at first, but Alan finds a way to do it by imagining
himself as a cloud. As an EEG will reveal, Alan's use of imagery
puts his brain in balance. Once he stops trying to figure
out how to balance--a left-brain activity--and lets his body
take care of itself--helped by his right-brain imagery--things
rates his putts again after his stint on the balance board.
This time, he gives most putts a 9. But just as Alan gets
used to the idea that relaxing and letting go is what's important,
Crews puts him on a stationary bicycle and gets him all pumped
game improves with a balanced brain
his revved-up physical state, Alan's brain remains pretty
well balanced. Crews hypothesizes that the aroused brain has
more energy with which to focus. And it works. Alan continues
to rate his putts high and appears to gain confidence in his
Crews ups the ante and pits Alan against professional golfer
Tina Tombs, offering financial reward to the winner.
Alan, with his balanced brain and low expectations, outperforms
Tombs. With her unbalanced brain and high expectations, Tombs
can't seem to find her groove.