Everyone can play better golf than his or her current game– at least to some degree. Hey, that’s a hopeful message, is it not?
Professionals typically adopt a method of practice were they are constantly improving and tweaking their weaknesses. With the amount of data available to tour pros today, they can easily extract concrete data and head directly to the practice tee to hone in on their area of struggle.
Amateurs, novices and newcomers to the game can improve all aspects of their game. After all, who’s got an extra 10,000 hours available to them to become an expert?
A key term to understand when looking to improve is the idea of deliberate practice.
To get better, deliberate practice needs to be followed–and followed correctly.
The term was first coined by Anders Ericsson, the renowned psychologist who conducted research on how to master a specific pursuit. He was the man behind the theory of the 10,000 hours.
For golfers, deliberate practice is about improving through pushing practice beyond one’s comfort zone.
It’s more about the mind than it is anything. By putting your mind at work, it is able to use its memory skills for recall. The brain will remember how to hit a fade, how to chip off a tight lie, how to hit out of a sand trap and more. Muscles do not have memory, the brain does.
For example on the practice range, it takes hours and hours to perfect something. Instead of hitting a bucket of balls between all the clubs in your bag, it might mean hitting one, two or even three buckets to improve your 5-iron, or four buckets to make your driver as straight as it can be.
The brain ends up being more important about hitting better shots than your body does.
A great drill for improving your golf game–because the brain is the one with the memory–is the rehearse golf shots during your everyday tasks. In the shower, envision a great golf shot. On the way to work, imagine your ball flight and feel the feeling of a successfully struck golf shot.
Work through your pre-shot routine during your everyday life. Your brain will absorb this information just as often as if you tell yourself how hopeless of a golfer you are…the brain has power!
No one needs innate talent to be a great golfer–well, maybe to be great like Tiger Woods or any cast of stars on Tour, sure– but all golfers have talent. Find yours through deliberate practice!
Golf.com’s Mike McGetrick offers some great tips to improve your golf game through deliberate practicing.
As evidenced by Golf.com’s article, there are four important things in deliberate practice that will benefit anyone in golf, if they are followed properly.
- Deliberate practice is very personalized and it needs to take you out of your comfort zone
- Deliberate practice must push you beyond your abilities
- Deliberate practice must be done in high volume with a great deal of repetitiveness.
- Deliberate practice also needs specific feedback on a continual basis. This means a coach is important to give you feedback on what is improving and what needs to be worked on.
Using deliberate practice techniques to improve your overall game or just one facet of your game will have noticeable results if you follow the four steps previously mentioned.
Challenge yourself and focus on the little improvements.