10/28/2015

Parents who are considering enrolling their kids in our academy often ask me what separates good players from great players?

My answer, “The ability to do the mundane boring fundamental tasks day after day.”

Yes, the discipline to stay on track and repeat simple tasks is the true separator between good and great. This is true for the athlete and also the coach. Let me share a story with you to explain.

Earlier this spring, I was spending a few days with one of my long-time players working on a variety of aspects in her game before she headed back out on the road. As the day moved on, we worked our way over to the practice green where we began reviewing a couple key points that were at the center of our putting focus.

That particular day our key was to feel passive hands and arms, while the shoulders provided the power to the motion. These were relatively simple concepts that she picked up quickly.

Now, whenever I introduce new concepts to a student, I like to come up with a phrase that summarizes the new ideas and puts them into a simple statement that we can reference moving forward. This phrase becomes our way of communicating the new ideas, and becomes a trigger reminding the body and mind of what we are trying to feel.

On this particular day, the phrase I coined to summarize our putting ideas was “One Unit.”

Over the next few hours our time was spent focusing and developing the feel related to the new concepts. During this time of deep practice, I would repeat our phrase “One Unit” over and over almost to a point of irritation. My intent with the repetition was the same as her intent of making the putting stroke time and time again; do it to a point where it becomes automatic with no thought.

One of the most difficult things to do in golf or any training environment is the ability to repeat the mundane boring same task over and over.

Yes, the discipline to hit putt after putt, shot after shot, practice swing after practice swing, while your coach repeats the same phrase to the point of irritation, is where the separation between good and great takes place.

As the hours went by and I continued repeating the phrase “One Unit” to my student, she suddenly stopped what she was doing and with a smirk on her face looked up and said sarcastically, “Does it need to be One Unit?”

“Yes” I answered with a grin, and the satisfaction of knowing that our goal for the day had been met.