Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Effective practice is about quality not quantity

So you just finished hitting 150 balls to improve your game and lower your scores. Well think about this first. An average golf swing takes 1 1/2 seconds. 150 X 1.5 seconds = 225 seconds. Divide that by 60 seconds and you just practiced for a little over 3 1/2 minutes. In my opinion that's not much time to learn a new skill.

Learning proper swing mechanics is essential to play good golf, but you'll master those mechanics faster if you work on them without a ball. If golf were simply about knowing rather than doing wouldn't the teaching professionals be beating the touring professionals?

The only way to permanently learn a motor skill is through repetition, you can't do it without a lot of practice. But it needs to be the right kind of practice. Standing on the practice tee hitting a pile of balls and trying to learn to make a good golf swing simply doesn't work.

Students learn faster if they work on mechanics without the distraction of trying to hit the ball at the same time. With a ball in front of them students worry too much about performance and not enough about learning, seeing and feeling their swing.

As an instructor I have learned to use various props to enhance students visual feedback and develop feel in their swing. These tools help students develop sound fundamentals and to learn by feel without the distraction of trying to perform at the same time.

Students are then able to work on their swing without going to the practice range. Rather they can work on their swing mechanics during a coffee break or in their hotel room when traveling.

Quick fixes may offer you instant gratification but you'll suffer long term consequences. Making a long term commitment may require temporary inconvenience but the benefits are permanent improvement.

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