What does the Mind Meter Pro measure? What do the Mind Meter numbers mean for you?
You’ve watched our videos or someone is talking about their numbers. Maybe a GolfPsych Instructor has recommended our Mind Meter Pro for your training. Or you have just stumbled on our site and are curious about this invention and what it does.
Mind Meter Pro Background-
The Mind Meter Pro is a device that we invented to give us insight into how our students and clients were thinking while playing golf shots. It is hard to tell what is going on if you cannot read another person’s mind.
Body language is pretty good but easy to misinterpret. You may think you know what is going on but you have no proof and the individual may not agree with your assessment, for lots of reasons. You might be right but they do not want to admit you are right or agree to your description of what they are thinking and why. You may be wrong in which case you are losing credibility with your student.
Guessing what is going on will be mostly wrong.
So we had a need for accurate and objective feedback.
Initially we were looking for a way to train our clients in developing larger Alpha brain waves. Alpha brain waves correlate with a more peaceful state of being, a more relaxed state. It is thought that this state is conducive to the “Zone” in athletes. It is supposed to be good for athletic performance.
This led us to the biofeedback industry and brain wave monitoring and training systems. These systems were expensive and very sensitive to movement. It would be very difficult to use them outside of the lab or office. We have since learned that the Alpha state is reachable when you are settled. Trying to be in the Alpha state on the course does not work. It hurts your focus abilities and decision-making abilities.
We also looked at other feedback measures of your physiology including skin temperature, skin conductivity, muscle conductivity and heart rate.
We tried heart rate monitors for a while but they are not sensitive to the overall state of the person and cannot distinguish between exercise and reacting to a shot. Worse, the standard heart rate monitors use a 30 second average of beats to determine their output, average heart beats per minute. The golf swing only takes 1.23 seconds or less for a Tour player. This means the feedback is delayed and muffled.
None of these measures work very well for golf and our purpose.
Then we found heart rate variability and the pattern of Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia that happens when you are peaceful and quiet mentally, creative and athletic. The pattern of RSA was being used as a biofeedback measure to help people with conditioned responses and anxiety at the time.
We purchased a very expensive unit and tried it. It had promise but was in no way portable. A computer was required for the output with cables connecting to the user, the computer and to the power source. We hit shots standing beside all this equipment and validated that it could work.
We determined to develop our own system with the goals of portability, sensitivity, objective measure and much lower cost.
The output needed to be in a format that was intuitive for the user and sensitive enough to show changes of thought and arousal state. The change in output needed to be within a second or two so that the thought or change of state could be identified.
We worked with engineers to develop a system for sensing the heart beat interval and comparing it to the pattern of RSA if there was one.
Research cardiologists have determined that in a normal healthy human being, the heart beat interval, time between heart beats, is different every time. This is called heart rate variability. The less variable the beat interval the less healthy the cardiovascular system and the heart is considered to be.
They also observed that if you plotted the heart beat intervals on a graph like the one below, when the human is relaxed, that the plot of their heart beats will follow a curving pattern. They termed this pattern Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia or RSA for short. The pattern of RSA follows the breathing pattern. As the subject inhales the heart speeds up, the beat intervals get shorter and shorter. As the subject exhales the heart slows down, the beat intervals get longer and longer.
In this graph the red line is created by plotting the individual heart beat intervals as an instantaneous heart rate. The beats per minute scale is on the left side. The green line is plotting the breathing pattern. The green line rising is inhaling and falling is exhaling. This is the pattern of respiratory sinus arrhythmia. The heart is following the breathing, speeding up on the inhale and slowing down on the exhale.
We found that most people do not have the pattern of RSA very often. We believe that this is due to our modern lives and pressures. Most of us lived stressed and analytical most of the time. Mental stress and analyzing anything with your left brain causes the pattern to fall apart. The plotting of each beat becomes chaotic.
In addition, stimulants disrupt the pattern of RSA. Sugar, simple carbohydrates, caffeine and nicotine disrupt the pattern. Holding your breath will also disrupt the pattern.
The algorithm we created generated a number on a 0-100 scale. The scale is intuitive. The numbers rising on the scale indicates the pattern of RSA is diminishing, meaning the subject is not mentally quiet and relaxed, not confident and athletic, probably operating in Left Brained mode.
The number changes often because the heart is beating and the algorithm is receiving new input with every beat.
As we refined our algorithm, we were able to make it sensitive enough so that it seemed that we were literally reading minds. The change of direction of the numbers was indicative of the change of new thoughts or emotions.
We do not know what has changed but we can ask at that moment. Getting the player to reflect on what they were thinking or how they were thinking during their routine and the golf shot, the player is able to quickly identify good thoughts versus bad thoughts or unhelpful ways of thinking.
These insights are gold. For the first time we can read their minds and give them the right insights and coaching to improve their mental game and their mental state to enhance performance. The evidence is objective and obvious. No more arguments or guessing.
With practice with the Mind Meter Pro, players can learn to block problem thoughts and lower their arousal level quickly and effectively. Some are able to lower their numbers to 0 and stay there as long as they want.
This player is just learning to manage his thoughts and develop his mental routine during the first day of our weekend school. His numbers for this shot are on the high end of the range and he agreed he was too left brained playing the tee shot. They did drop a bit over the ball which is good.
The second day of our school he had learned what to do differently mentally and generated much better numbers. His confidence boosted and his mental approach to golf changed dramatically. Lots more fun now and more consistent!
What are good numbers for my golf?
Is zero on the scale good for golf performance? Generally no. It is too low for good focus for most players.
Lower numbers are generally good but the range of numbers and the direction the numbers are moving are the keys to optimum performance of a golf shot or putt.
Generally, on our 0-100 scale, optimum numbers for short game shots were found to be in the 40’s and optimum numbers for full shots were found to be in the 60’s. Higher or lower than these ranges produced less optimum shots or misses.
Turns out everyone is different in the health of their cardiovascular system. Your range of numbers may be different than this general person. But you can find your range easily. Whether it is higher or lower than the general ranges does not matter. They are your optimum performance ranges.
Many have asked us where do the Tour Players measure, what are their optimum numbers? Based on our research, they are no different. They do not measure lower on the scale than others. They do not achieve 0 on the scale in play. They are human, not super human. You need to find your zones. Don’t worry about theirs.
In addition and perhaps more important is the direction of movement of the numbers during the routine and the shot. Is the pattern of RSA increasing? This is good. If so the Mind Meter numbers are dropping. This happens when the player is confident and athletically playing the shot in a Right Brained or creative way of thinking. Your numbers dropping over the ball are the key metric and sign of good mental and an effective mental routine.
Conversely, if your numbers are rising while over the ball, you could do better, probably a lot better with your routine mentally. This means that the quality of your ball striking and your consistency could increase dramatically when you learn to achieve a better mental routine, with the numbers dropping over the ball.
It now is obvious when the player is in the optimum mental state for playing their golf shot or putting. Watching these numbers change while the player is playing the shot allows us to give feedback on what is happening without disturbing the player, after the shot.
To help break their old patterns of thought, sometimes we agree with the player that if the numbers rise above a certain level that we will call them off the shot to force them to change. They can do this by themselves too with the built in alarm function.
Even better, we can now record the player playing the shot with the Mind Meter Pro numbers on the screen. On Replay the player can see their numbers changing and immediately recognize when their thoughts changed and what the thoughts were that caused the numbers to change in the wrong direction or the right direction, and replay the video immediately after the shot.
This player has a great mental routine by the second day of our weekend school, great numbers dropping over the ball and the approach shot on this par 5 from 185 yards ends up pin high!
This is the holy grail of mental game coaching. It is the next best thing to actually being able to listen to their thoughts in the moment. They can describe their thoughts later but without the in-the-moment freshness, they will forget a lot.
The recordings can be replayed immediately and any time after that on the smartphone or tablet that has the App installed.
The recordings are saved and can be downloaded to a computer or tablet for review and for future comparison.
The coach, the sport psychologist, the parent can help the player find their best mental routine with this video feedback and the Mind Meter Pro numbers.
With this system, You can now do this by Yourself. All you have to do is place the smartphone in position, (on a selfie tripod?) to record, push the record button and play the shot. Then after the shot touch the screen to stop the recording. You could record several shots in a row. The length of recording is only limited by the phone memory.
What we know because of this objective feedback and over 14 years working with the Mind Meter numbers-
- Playing a golf shot well requires you to be mentally active. How and what you are doing mentally determines how well you play the shot.
- Trying to play golf shots without any thought does not work well especially under pressure for a good outcome.
- Trying to play golf shots in a meditative state is too low on the arousal scale for optimum performance. Focus widens and the player becomes too loose for good execution. Decision making is not as good.
- Playing golf shots using your analytical and controlling left brain will not work because it blocks your athletic abilities.
- Careful and deliberate does not work even though that is what you want to do because the outcome of the shot or putt is important. It just makes you more Left Brained and less athletic, less consistent.
- You cannot play trying to control your swing. Trying to control your swing will only disrupt the trained pattern of your swing.
- You cannot play trying not to make a mistake. Trying not to make a mistake leads to guiding or holding on through impact and a poor outcome.
You must play your golf shots in a confident and athletic, right brained mode to be most successful and consistent. The Mind Meter Pro number, movement and videos are your path to learning to do that in the shortest possible time.
Other benefits and uses of the Mind Meter Pro numbers-
Is it you or the club? When you are trying to play with a certain club and the shots are not working out, how can you tell whether it is your swing or your mental game or the club that is creating the problem?
With the Mind Meter Pro numbers you can quickly determine whether it is your mental approach or not that is creating the problem. We know from long experience that when the player is trying to control the swing or doesn’t trust the club that the shots will not come off consistently.
If you can swing the club with good Mind Meter Pro numbers, and the shots do not come off as desired. Then it is either the club or your swing that is the problem. If you can swing your other clubs with good Mind Meter Pro numbers and the shots with those clubs are acceptable, then it is the club, not your swing.
You can quickly determine where the problem lies. Without this way of finding the problem, you can waste lots of time and worse create bad habits of thought or conditioning with that club that feed on themselves.
Better Swing Lessons-
For the Teaching Pro or Coach or Club Fitter,
When the player is excited or anxious, their swing will change because their physiology changes. The Mind Meter Pro numbers will show this higher arousal with high numbers.
When the player is focussed on the swing mechanics, they will not be as athletic or reactive as they could be. They will be operating in left brain mode and cannot be as athletic as they are. This will also raise the Mind Meter numbers.
These two conditions, which may be happening at the same time, will produce swings that are not normal. If you make recommendations when the player is in this state with higher Mind Meter Pro numbers, then the recommendations can easily be wrong.
Getting the player to relax with you is very helpful. If they trust you it is more likely that they will relax. This can be a challenge in a first session. You probably are pretty good at getting them to trust you quickly.
But if they are still thinking about and trying to control their mechanics, then their ball striking will not be as good as it could be. Most likely you will not see their true abilities or potential.
When the Mind Meter Pro numbers are good then their shots should be consistent. Maybe the outcomes are not the desired ones, but they will be consistent. Now you know what changes need to be made.
This player has great numbers during her mental routine and hits her driver well. She hit her long irons with similar numbers but when she played the hybrid, her numbers were much higher and she hit it poorly. Was it her or the club? We worked with her to play the hybrid with good Mind Meter Pro numbers, then her hybrid became consistently low and left. It was the club not her. Now she can find a hybrid to replace this one and raise her confidence with that club.
On the range or on the course, using the Mind Meter Pro numbers will quickly identify when the player is not in the right mind or athletic mode as they play their shots. You should be able to help them identify what thoughts are creating the problem.
A miss is no longer just a bad swing. Bad swings happen when our mental is not right 98% (or more) of the time.
They cannot hide. They cannot lie. You should be able to work with them to figure out what the problem is and then what to do about it. If the right solutions are offered, then the Mind Meter Pro numbers should improve and the shots should improve which builds confidence.
On the course, if the Mind Meter Pro numbers were good and the outcome was not acceptable, (you know the clubs are fit right) then something about the shot, some variable or variables were not considered. It could be the lie, a bad yardage, wrong club, course management, failure to consider the wind enough, etc. The player can learn from this and improve their decision making and setup. Helps you and them sort out the problems. It also puts some reality into the analysis.
When you know that your mental is good then you can focus on the real issues in your game. Without this knowledge, you can easily waste a lot of time practicing the wrong things, do things you don’t need to do, spend money on lessons that are not helping, etc. Developing a good mental routine and mental game will super charge your development.
You do not have the time or money to waste following the wrong advice or path to improvement. Worse, the wrong mental approach can easily lead to bigger problems in your game, whether it is injury or conditioning yourself to fail with a club or situation.
- The Mind Meter Pro numbers are inferring what is going on mentally based on the pattern of Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia. RSA is very sensitive to changes of thought and arousal. Confident, Right Brained thinking and free swinging will increase RSA so the Mind Meter numbers drop during the shot. This is the pattern of your optimum performance zone. You will soon see your optimum Mind Meter Pro numbers for each type of shot or putt.
- Each heart beat inputs more data into the algorithm, so the numbers change frequently. The direction of change over the ball is key. Numbers dropping indicates increasing RSA and means the player is operating in Right Brain, athletic mode. Numbers rising indicates decreasing RSA and means the player is operating in Left Brain, inconsistent mode.
- The system is sensitive. The numbers signal when you are moving in the wrong direction so that you can identify why your mental state changed. This creates the awareness that enhances development of mental skills and thought control.