Discover how a short, well planned practice session can transform your game.
Do you spend your entire practice session focusing on your swing technique, aiming at the same target with the same club, hitting sometimes 15 shots in a row with the same intention? If you wish to change a swing habit, research shows that it is best to practice without a target or golf ball at first.
Slowing down your overall rhythm during your swing will help you to focus internally on the new “FEEL” of the new movement, removing all tension and the pressure of the target for the learning to take place. It only take 6-10 repetitions to get the feel for the new move. It is in your best interest to spend most of your practice session working on mastering random shots to mimic play on the course.
If you think for a moment, is golf not a game of variability and a succession of unpredictable situations where we almost never hit 2 shots in a row that are identical. Conditions are forever changing and it is time for you to change how you practice if you want to get better results. The good news is that shorter more intense training session will give you greater results, it will still take hard work and patience but at least you have a plan to follow.
Let’s discover the 2 types of focus you can choose from during your practice session.
2. External focus
This is when you are focusing on your target, visualizing the ball flight and landing zone. The result, the outcome of the shot.
Your brain can’t handle the 2 at the same time, it is not possible.
Our brain is most suitable at learning new skills with great variety. Repeating the same swing over and over again with the same club hitting the ball to the same target has limited benefits especially if you want to become a better player on the course.
The 2 different stages of your practice session:
Practicing a new skill/movement ideally for a short period of time and without aiming at a particular target (internal focus)
As the name suggests, varied practice, changing every time target, club and type of shots played mimicking play on the course (external focus-Target) most beneficial to improve your game and lower your scores on the course.
Here is a sample of a 30 minute practice session around the green (30-yard zone)
Stage 1 Block Practice:
Spend 5-10 minutes practicing the technique of a shot you want to master e.g. high medium distance bunker shot, without aiming at a target, train the move and technique you wish to improve then move on.
Stage 2 Random Practice:
Design a 3,6, or 9 stations circuit around the green for 10-15 min where you simulate play on the course. Here you practice shots that you know you will encounter when you play. Use only 1 ball and hole out. Record your score. Here you focus on the target, landing zone and feel for the shot not the technique.
If you are a keen golfer who is interested in becoming a better player, have a golf diary where you prepare in advance your practice session for the next day, record your results, write down what went well and also what can you do better/improve for next time. It will only take you 5 minutes and you will reap the rewards in no time!
Practicing can be enjoyable , Gary Player famous quote: "The more I practice the luckier I get"
You don't have to do what Gary Player did, practice smart, make progress and become a happier golfer!
Why Working on your Balance for a golfer is key to hit longer Drives? Better Balance = Better Golf Swing
If you mention the word Balance associated with the golf swing it is often overlooked and not considered a priority.
A good balance for a golfer is the core foundation of a solid golf swing as every other components of fitness are interlinked.
The great news is that every golfer can benefit from improving their balance after just a few mini training sessions they will notice an increase of club head speed, more precision in ball striking, greater power output and the ability to finish their swing with good balance.
You can do these exercises anytime & anywhere, 3-5 times a week, you will start noticing the difference in your swing, hitting the ball further with more precision.
My Top 5 Golf Balance exercises
1. Balance assessment on 1 leg, arms alongside the body
How long can you hold this position in perfect balance with your eyes open?
I do this assessment in my socks on a driving range mat as it is more challenging to achieve perfect balance. Start with a hard surface to stand on and progress to a softer surface like a driving range mat or on a soft, thick carpet.
Record your time on each leg, stop as soon as you start to wobble and lose balance, 30 seconds is a good time and your ultimate goal is 1 minute. Focus on progressing the time.
2.Tennis ball under foot rolls, 10 passes
Roll a tennis ball 10 times under your foot early in the morning to wake up the proprioceptors of your foot (This help to improve your balance and release tension under your foot)
3. Cone, box, touches
4. 3 balls 3 cones single leg challenge
This exercise is the most challenging one. Place your foot from your supporting leg near the cone placed in the center, grab 3 tennis balls and drop 1 ball at a time in each cone, returning to an upright single leg posture each time. You can vary in between holding the ball on right hand/left leg supporting or holding the ball on same side as your supporting leg which is more challenging.
5. Standing on 1 leg in golf posture do mini swings in slow motion with a club. (Pw-7 iron)
Only the swing the club where the shaft stops when it is parallel to the ground. Do 3 swings in a row on each leg, as you progress you can hit shots on the range or into a net. It is best to do this exercise without shoes on if possible, to train your foot balance receptors, improving balance in your swing.
Why Train bare footed on a soft surface to improve your foot proprioception & balance?
Nowadays we’ve got used to wear shoes that are very comfortable with a thick cushion sole to absorb shocks (runners) This places your foot almost like in a cast where full range of movement for the foot and ankle is not possible compare to being barefooted. In training without shoes, you will re-train your foot receptors, strengthen your tendons and ligaments, improve the mobility in your foot & ankle and develop more stability around your knee joint.
What is Proprioception?
Also called kinaesthesia, is the body's ability to sense its location, movements, and actions. It's the reason we're able to move freely without consciously thinking about our environment
For my Top Golf & Fitness coaching tips & articles Go to my blog www.golfcoach.ie/blog