Are you getting the most out of your practice? Is it delivering the results you expect or falling short? If you believe you're being short changed for your efforts then it could be you've not reached your challenge point and all your effort is going to waste. What is Challenge Point?
Guadagnoli and Lee (2004), created a framework known as the Challenge Point that assessed the effectiveness of practicing when learning or developing a skill. They found simply practicing a standard routine would give varying results. Any task will present a certain degree of challenge. However, the learning potential from this task will differ based on the:
skill level of the performer
Let me give you an example to demonstrate its effectiveness. Many golfers will follow a typical putting routine where they attempt to putt a number of balls around a hole using a clock face layout with a standard distance of say 3 foot from the hole. Dependant on how skilled you are as a golfer this challenge would be considered either easy or difficult. For a new golfer to the game, this would be challenging to complete. However, a seasoned player, such as a scratch golfer, would find this the challenge limiting in develop their skills and consequently would gain very little benefit in dedicating their time to carrying out this exercise To resolve this example the scratch player needs to either increase the complexity of the task or change the environment in which it is undertaken, to develop their skills. For example they could carry out the routine with the clock-face on a slope. This would make the task more challenging, having to take into account speed changes in putts uphill versus downhill or to accommodate the break when putting across the slope. So next time you go out to practice question your challenge point. Are you pushing yourself and developing your skill or just simply hitting a few balls? This can be used in all aspects of your game to develop your skills and techniques. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, become creative in ways to challenge your environment, you will enjoy your practice more whilst improving your game. Here are a few suggestions to get you started
Plug your ball in the bunker or place near the front face and trying different ways to get the ball out by changing your set-up or different lofted clubs
Practice playing your ball from the fringe of the green using your putter, 7 iron and fairway wood
Practice playing your ball out of a fairway bunker using a long iron, hybrid and fairway wood
Practice shots into the pin using chip and run, lob shot and pitch using different irons
Give it a go this weekend and let me know how you get on. If your would like more information on these techniques please contact me to arrange a session
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