Recent experience has taught me that you need two things to make swing changes stick. Practice and time. Now while these may seem self evident there is more going on behind the scenes in the subconscious mind than meets the eye.
We’ve all heard the phrases “Practice makes perfect” and “Perfect practice makes perfect”. We all know that tour players have practiced all their lives to get the level they are at. The thing is that they are not always practicing the same things in the same way. They have built up enough skill level, that as they dial one thing in, they can work and address another part of the game.
What am I getting at?
As amateur golfers we don’t have the luxury to practice to practice like a tour player. In fact, for most of us, we rarely get to practice. I’ve tried to combat this by investing in some things that bring the practice home, and while that does address much of the problem, there is another part of practicing that has to be thought through as well.
That is, practicing the right things in the right way.
If you’ve had a lesson with a golf pro, they probably got you to do so some things that felt a little strange. And if you’re like most golfers, you probably forgot about that feeling very shortly after and didn’t really practice it. The end result is a wasted lesson, and no step forward in your progress.
I think part of the reason we forget to practice those things is because they feel so strange. And when that happens, we are less likely to use it. Combine that with very few practice sessions and it is virtually inevitable that you will forget what you learned.
How I’ve been practicing differently
I’ve been focusing on the things I have learned, and how strange they feel. The thing I’ve realized is that I don’t necessarily need to be doing full swing. Initially what I start out doing is conditioning my body to get used to how that feels. That position, swing thought etc, that feels strange, is often a big key to getting to the next level. However, it’s hard to practice because it feels so strange.
Every day, I focus on something like that, that feels a bit strange. It could be the forward press in putting, it could be the feeling of holding on to your angles and your lag, it could be a feeling that you don’t sway when you turn, or not laying off the club too much etc.
These things feel weird because they are not a part of your swing. You need to get used to them, you need to get comfortable with them.
Making amazing progress
It’s amazing the things that happen once you start to integrate these things into your swing. Not only do they become a part of your swing, but as you really integrate them, they take on their own strength. They become a part of your swing that you can count on, that you can trust. And when that happens, your swing changes and your results change.
So when your instructor gives you a piece that feels a bit strange, hold on to it, work with it, make it a part of you and you will be rewarded with a more solid game.