Millponds do not make great sailors
If your practice regime is not giving you the results you'd expect, it could be due to the fact your are Practicing to Learn rather than Practicing to Perform.
Typically golfers go to the range and hit a basket of balls, all from the same spot. Now this is fine if you're practicing to learn; i.e. learning how to shape a shot for example. Hitting ball after ball from the same spot, with the same club will not develop the skills you require to perform in competition.
That's like taking a sailing boat out onto a millpond and expecting to gain the skills of a sailor equipped to cross the Atlantic in a ten force gale - that would simply be ludicrous!
So why would you think hitting 30 balls at the range from the same spot will give you the skills to perform when playing in competition? Continuing to practice this way will not teach you how to play the ball out of the rough or how to take a shot with an awkward stance. Likewise, hitting ball after ball, will not give you the confidence to play a shot over the lake, on to the green to win a major tournament. Instead your practice needs to develop your skills so that you're practicing to perform.
Making your practice mimic the environment in which you play your competitions will give you greater rewards, and its quite easy to implement. Lets give you an example, to show how easy it is to adopt. Next time you practice chipping, try this routine.
Instead of hitting several balls from the same spot with the same club, take 3 balls and drop each one in a different location around the practice green. Play each ball as if you where out on the course; run through your pre-shot routine, take a practice swing, focus on the landing area before taking your shot. After playing the shot, take your putter and go through your routine to sink the putt. Repeat this process with the other 2 balls, your challenge is to chip and one putt, 2 out of 3 balls. Adding an element of challenge will mimic the experience you have when playing in competition.
You will develop far quicker when practicing to perform. Playing several balls from the same spot, gives you a false sense of security. In reality you are taking on information from each shot and unconsciously making adjustments to improve your next attempt. When playing in your monthly medal you only get one shot, so make your practice the same and improve your mental skills along the way to unlock your true potential.
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.