Consequence and progression in practice
Is your practice regime stuck in a rut? Are you going to the range and just going through the motions? Does your performance and improvement on the range seem to leave you when you need it the most? Then listen up.
I would say that most players who go to the range are practicing poorly. Their sessions resemble more of a warm up session than an actual training session.
• Hitting balls from the same spot with the same club (block practice)
• Getting into a rhythm and going on autopilot
• No pressure
• No goals (other than to hit the ball well)
All of the above gives you the false sense of improvement because they make you perform well. But performance is not learning. I might be able to perform well and get 100% in a math test designed for 8 year olds, but how much did I really learn doing that test?
With a few little tweaks to your practice, you can get out of this rut and supercharge your practice session, make your brain light up like a Christmas tree, and make real improvements which stick on the course and under pressure. All you have to do is:
• Change your club each time (making your practice more like real golf)
• Quantify your practice (count something)
• Add consequence
By changing your club each time, you break up the rhythm of ball beating and make it more realistic. You also have to go through the act of setting up for each club, which helps you transfer your learning to the course. By quantifying your practice, you can see the improvements and actually get fulfillment, satisfaction and more motivation to practice. And by adding consequence, you increase the pressure – normally something difficult to achieve in practice.
How about playing this practice game?
Let’s put all of the above into practice in this game.
• Pick 3 targets on the range; one representing a fairway, one for a green and one for a pitch shot.
• Start with the pitch shot. If you get the ball onto your target, move onto the iron shot to the green. If successful, move on to the drive.
• If you do all 3 shots successfully in a row, you have completed level 1. If you fail a task, you have to start the level again.
• Level 2 is the same task as above, but you have to do 2 pitches, an iron and a drive. Level 3 is the same but with 2 pitches, 2 irons and a drive – ad infinitum. Keep adding one ball with each progressive level
• You go up a level when you complete all shots successfully. You drop down a level after you make 3 failed attempts to pass it.
The above game includes a club change for each shot, quantification (you can see which level you are on and try to beat it week after week) as well as a consequence (pressure induced by trying to maintain your current position.
Enjoy playing and making practice more fun!
Adam Young is the Author of the bestselling book “The Practice Manual – The Ultimate Guide for Golfers”, available on Amazon.com or by clicking the link below.
You can also learn more about Adam’s work by visiting www.AdamYoungGolf.com