The 5 Step Plan To Practice More Efficiently
Step 1: If you can measure it, you can improve it
When I ask a new student what their strengths and weaknesses are, it’s usually an easy question to answer. But when I ask, “can you show me your stats to back this up for your last 10 rounds?”, 99% of players won’t be able to do this.
If you’re serious about improving, you’ll be able to back up your “Strengths and Weaknesses” with data. Numbers don’t lie, and if you can measure it, you can improve it. Entering your stats into a stat-tracking system doesn’t take long, and it’s definitely worth the investment to be able to get a clear picture of the state of your game.
Step 2: Set an outcome goal
Where would you like to be this time next season? Scratch handicap? Into single figures? Win a specific tournament? Determine a scoring average that is realistic but will require some hard work to get there.
Step 3: Set performance goals
If a scratch handicap is your goal and you’re currently a 5 handicap now, where are you losing those 5 shots (on average)? Do you hit enough fairways? Do you make enough birdies? Ups and downs? Determine the low hanging fruit and set that as your “short-term” performance goal. We need to be specific. Set a “primary” goal and a “secondary” goal and give yourself a time-frame for achieving them e.g. Primary goal: To improve scrambling to 50% within 8 weeks. Secondary goal: Increase putting make % from 5 to 10 ft to 40%, also within 8 weeks. Achieving these smaller goals, will a) take you closer to your long-term goal and b) build your confidence.
Step 4: Set process goals
What specifically are you going to do to achieve your performance goals? Do you have a plan to improve form and function? You’ll need to create your practice plan. Every minute of your practice time should have a purpose. Your practice plan will include a combination of block practice drills (technical), random drills (skill development) and competitive skills drills (pressurized practice).
Step 5: Develop your skills
To help my students develop skills and practice more effectively, I’ve developed the Golf State of Mind Practice System containing some 70+ random and competitive skills drills.
Random practice drills
Instead of hitting the same shot from the same spot over and over again (which doesn’t achieve much), Random practice is about varying the conditions and requirements of each shot. This way you get better at developing the feel for the different shots you are going to play on the course. Here’s an example of short game random practice drill:
1. Pick 4 spots within 20 yards of the practice green (of various distances): one side-hill (ball above feet), one side-hill (ball below feet), one uphill lie, one downhill lie.
2. From each spot hit 3 different shots (high, medium and low trajectories)
3. Repeat the drill but from the rough.
After this drill, you’ll have hit 24 shots, not one of them being the same. This is a far better way to practice more efficiently instead of hitting 24 balls from the same spot.
Simulate the pressure you feel on the golf course and train yourself to stay focused on your process.
1. Repeat the drill above but count up how many you get within 6 ft or how many you can get up and down. Record your score and try to beat it each each time. You can also set yourself a target and not leave the practice area until you achieve it.
Make your competitive practice hard, so you feel that same tension and frustration you do in tournaments.
This is more individual and if you’re working with a swing coach, I’m sure you’ll have some drills to work on to improve your technique. One of the best swing coaches around is Adam Young and his program “The Strike Plan” is one I’d highly recommend to improve the technical aspects of your golf swing.
Keep a performance journal
Many of my students find it useful to write down their goals (regularly) and what they are working on. Writing goals down and sharing them with others (which my students do with me) increases commitment and accountability, 2 hugely important factors in achieving them.
Get your practice plan today
If you’d like to learn more about how to set goals and put together an effective plan to achieve them, check out the Golf State of Mind Practice System. For the next 24 hours, you can get it at the discounted price of 50% off. Stop hitting thousands of balls and hoping something will stick, give every practice session a clear purpose so you get closer to your goals with every session.