Monday, July 6, 2009

Why don't most golfers improve when they practice?

Lets talk about why most golfers never really make significant improvement when they practice. Over the years, golf instruction has most definitely improved with the use of video, better training aids and better educated instructors. Why then does the average golfer fail to improve? Lets take a typical practice session of your average golfer who works full-time and has other obligations during the week. When time permits they come out to the range and start by hitting a wedge to loosen up. Maybe they pick a random target or maybe the target is the entire range?? 99% of the time the golfer has no real idea of whether or not they are actually aiming at their intended target. They continue to hit balls with no real feedback as to whether improvement is being achieved. If a player is aimed 4o yards left of target, and they hit a few balls at their target which is 40 yards right, they fool themselves into believing that improvement is being made. When they actually hit a ball where they are aiming, they now think the ball is going off line. Golfers usually make changes to their golf swing based on each shot that is hit. So, on each swing the golfer is trying something different based on the last shot. It's no wonder golfers struggle to improve. Hitting balls can be stress-relieving and enjoyable. If these are the reasons why you hit balls than that's certainly a good reason to come out to the range. However, if your intent is to make solid improvement, don't fool yourself into believing you are improving anything about your game based on the scenario above. Practicing should start by knowing what you should be practicing. Reading an article in Golf Digest or having your playing partner give you his version of what's wrong is futile at best. Improvement is accomplished by doing specific drills that ingrain a feeling that you are not familiar with. It is a difficult process and requires a certain amount of discipline to make a solid change. You will hit bad shots in the learning process, guaranteed. If you do a drill correctly, you can make that movement a permanent part of your swing. If, however, you're not disciplined enough to work on that specific drill for a majority of your practice session, then don't be surprised when your hour of practice yields the same swing that you came to the range with. Practicing to make solid improvement doesn't require endless hours of practice - but it does require a disciplined approach.

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