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  • Writer's pictureCarol Alford

How to Make the Most of your Winter Training

With Storm Dennis threatening this weekend, I'm sure most of you are feeling frustrated at not being able to get out and play. So how can you make the most of this down time? Well this week I'm going to give you 4 hot tips to enable you to hit the season hard and smash your goals. Hot Tip No.1 Review your Strengths and Weaknesses As you can't go out to play, why not take the opportunity to reflect on your performance last year. If you have statistics dig them out and collate the information. Not to worry if you don't have this information, try and recall your last scores from memory. When working with clients I like to use a performance wheel to document their strengths and weaknesses. This is pretty straightforward to do draw up a wheel like the one shown below and on each spindle write one of the areas in your game e.g Chipping, Putting, FIR, GIR etc. Now grade each one on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is poor and 10 is excellent. The beauty of this tool is it instantly shows which areas of your game are lacking in performance, thereby giving you a clue on where to focus your training.  

Hot Tip No.2 Create a Performance Journal Treat yourself to a notebook. Place your performance wheel in it for reference. I get all my clients to keep a performance journal as its a powerful technique to get you to reflect on your efforts and keep you on track to attaining your goals. Using your performance wheel create an Action Plan to work on the areas that need improving. Writing your goals in the journal and completing an action plan will keep you focused on achieving your goals whilst making you accountable for the outcomes. You will be pleasantly surprised how this technique will keep you on track and motivated. After each practice or training session, write down what you worked on, the time spent and the goal its linked to. Each week/month review your performance wheel to see if your plan is working and giving you the results you desire in each area. If its not, then look at why its not working and make the changes required. This way you're acting on fact and not on a whim. Hot Tip No.3 Hit the Gym Now I know this will make some of you squirm, but I can speak from experience that golf specific training really works. I took on a personal trainer two years ago and the distance gained in my driving was very noticeable. The other advantage was previous back problems were reduced by improving my core strength. This winter I've been working on my stamina and power with resistance training, weights and spin classes. There are plenty of YouTube videos out there for ideas if you don't want to go the expense of a trainer.  You can still make improvements without joining a gym if you choose, by simply purchasing a pack of resistance bands. Literally 15-20 minutes each day will get results - what have you got to lose, give it a go and be amazed! Hot Tip No.4 Work on your Mental Strength I'm sure you've all heard about Mindfulness, but how many of you have tried it? You don't need to purchase any products and can do it literally anywhere; sat in your car (not when driving please) or at home in your living room. Essentially it means being comfortable with your thoughts and feelings, observing rather than participating in them. Accepting you can't control your thoughts or emotions, allow them to come and go rather than resisting or trying to change. Its the resistance that actually causes you frustration and tension. Here's an example to get you started

The exercise is designed to connect us with the beauty of the natural environment, something that is easily missed when we are rushing around.

Choose a natural object from within your immediate environment and focus on watching it for a minute or two. This could be a flower or an insect, or even the clouds or the moon.Don’t do anything except notice the thing you are looking at. Simply relax into watching for as long as your concentration allows.Look at this object as if you are seeing it for the first time.Visually explore every aspect of its formation, and allow yourself to be consumed by its presence.Allow yourself to connect with its energy and its purpose within the natural world.

Try making mindfulness part of your winter training program by regularly allocating 10-15 minutes. Next week I'll talk more on mindfulness techniques and show you how you can use it effectively when playing golf to improve your performance If you would like to learn more about the mental side of the game visit our website and get in touch. Hope you enjoyed this week's blog, please drop me an email and let me know what you think, I would love to hear from you. Visit our website and check out our other blogs, there's something in there for everyone.

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