My good friend Steve Zahn is in the process of writing a series of articles on one of my favorite books “Easier Said Than Done”. The author, Dr. Rick Jensen is one of the best known performance coaches in the world and has worked with many of the top players and instructors in the game. His ideas and principles have become a cornerstone of my programs and how I approach getting the most out of a student.
One of my non-negotiable agreements with a student is his or her willingness to practice and how to practice the right way. It is also a characteristic of great players. There are no short cuts to achieving progress in any aspect of our life and golf is certainly no exception. The simple and hard fact is that good golf takes time, proper direction and a lot of practice. I find myself reminding students that how you practice, what you practice and how much you practice will ultimately determine how far you go in the game. Practice is a must and it is non-negotiable if you want to succeed.
So how do we make sure our practice sessions are productive and create the results we are looking for? Here are a few suggestions that will get you thinking and provide a guideline for a quality practice session.
Have a goal: Before heading to the course, identify what you want to accomplish. Comments like “I want to work on my swing” are too general and provide no real specifics. Instead have a goal like “I want to work on my putting distance control”. This type of specific objective will help provide a clear understanding of where the focus will be should be while practicing.
Limit your time: Unless you are a touring professional or junior golfer who gets to spend hours a day at the course, limit your practice session to one hour. A good solid 60 minutes of focused work is plenty of time for a quality practice session. Research has shown that a little practice every day is much better for development than one four hour session.
Find the right time: Most of us have busy lives and are trying to balance work, family life and a little time for golf. Make sure your practice time is during a part of the day when you can relax and not feel rushed. Early in the morning or late in the evening are great times to get a quality practice session in. In addition most courses are nice and quiet these times of day which will limit interruptions and distractions.
Create a good practice station: Golf is a game of details and inches. Being off just a degree or two in your alignment can create some very poor shots. Be sure to put down a clubshaft or alignment tool to insure you that you are set up nice and square to the target.
Commit to the process not the results: The purpose of practice is to learn. As a PGA golf instructor I have learned that most of our best learning comes from making mistakes. Nothing can be more counterproductive to a good practice session than getting emotionally attached to results while practicing. Focus on the process not the results and you will begin getting more out of your practice time.
To get weekly tips from PGA Teaching Professional Todd Kolb on how to better your golf game, click here.