(Do You Practice In A Way That Negatively Effects Your Swing)
There might not be anything that impresses me more about a Golfer than their ability to practice effectively. To be able to go the driving range and/or practice area with a Practice PLAN to improve shows how serious a Golfer is towards improving. And I’m sorry if this offends you … but a Golfer that goes to just hit golf balls for the sake of trying to improve, is not serious about improving their golf swing!
Unfortunately, most Golfers go to the driving range with the thought of practicing – yet their time there really amounts to nothing more than just hitting golf balls. Or as a great Instructor that influenced me years ago would say – “They’re just recreating.” I’m not sure if “recreating” is a word … but what he meant was that they weren’t doing much more than participating in a recreational activity. And I agree.
What is a good practice session?
It is merely a session you have at the driving range where you see improvement that you can carry out to the golf course. How many times can the average Golfer say that they saw improvement on the practice range? And then to take it to an even higher, elite level that’s infrequently seen by Golfers … how many times were you able to instantly carry that improvement onto the golf course?
For the majority of Golfers that are recreating (just hitting golf balls at the range)… all they are doing is just discovering new ways to compensate in their golf swing to cover-up for the bad habits they already have. So it becomes a “practice” session where more compensations are being piled on top of all the other compensations you already have accumulated from all your other recreating sessions at the driving range.
I wonder if you can even count how many compensations you have accumulated in your golf swing.
And as you continually add new compensations to your golf swing, it becomes harder and harder to become more consistent. Golfers like that fall into the category of having the ability to hit great golf shots … albeit only every-once-in-a-while. Yes, when all their compensations align to work together in a swing – they can hit the most beautiful golf shots. And often times they’re able to string together a few good shots in a row.
However, as fast as they got it … they lose it. And they wonder: “What happened? How can I hit it so well and then all of a sudden lose it?”
The reason you had it for that fleeting moment was that all your compensations aligned for a few swings. Pretty much by a combination of luck and the law of averages (like a winning lottery ticket) … all your bad habits worked together to hit a good golf shot. And you possibly were able to do the same for the next shot and the next shot after that. But sooner rather than later – you’re going to hit a bad shot and say to yourself: “I felt like I swung exactly the same as I did the other swings …. Why couldn’t I repeat it?”
And the answer is that you have too many compensations in your golf swing.
That’s where a Golfer that has a Practice PLAN allows themselves to improve. They’re not out there recreating or just hitting balls trying to find a way to hit the golf ball straight. They know what drills they need to work on. They know what they should be feeling with those drills. They know their practice session is more about practicing a drill – followed up by hitting 6 golf balls. Then using the results of their 6 shots to determine how effectively they had practiced the drill before hitting the 6 golf balls.
The Golfer with the Practice PLAN first puts their effort into the drill (that will correct the bad habits), and then hits 6 golf balls to see the results. The Golfer that is recreating is putting all their efforts into hitting golf balls. I’m sure you know someone like that.
The Golfer with the Practice PLAN then goes back to the drill to practice it again so that they engrain more of the good habits the drill was designed for. After the drill … they hit 6 more golf balls to watch the ball flight and to feel how much of the drill carried over into their swing. Then it’s back to the drill to continue improving their golf swing.
On-the-other-hand, the typical Golfer that recreates at the driving range just keeps on hitting golf balls trying new tips until one of them works. Then all of a sudden after many, many bad shots … you hit a great shot and say to yourself; “I think I got it. I think that’s what I need to do in my golf swing.” And over the next 2 or 3 golf swings … you do “got it”. But, as quickly as you “got it” – in the next few swings you’re going to lose it again. And sometimes to the point of hitting it worse than when you first stepped onto the range 45 minutes and 74 golf balls ago.
Anyone that wants to improve needs a Practice PLAN. If not … you’re just recreating and adding more compensations on top of your existing compensations … moving farther and farther away from consistency.
The Monkey just continues to go to the driving range hoping that one day that good streak will last more than 3 or 4 swings
The Player has a Practice PLAN that is based on using drills to improve … and only hits golf balls to gauge the effectiveness of the drills
The Monkey just keeps hitting golf balls trying to improve … but in essence is moving farther and farther away from consistency
Go ahead, Be A Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life