How to Practice SMART
If you are playing more than practicing, or you don’t enjoy your practice sessions,
you are very probably not practicing SMART.
Practicing SMART means that you know if you are getting better within the first ten minutes of your practice session – i.e. are you correctly teaching your mind/body to perform the feel(s) of motion that you chose to work on today!
So how do we do that?
Let’s first understand that it makes absolutely no sense to try to produce ball flights – don’t hit balls – until you have properly trained your mind/body machine to feel and correctly repeat/deliver the motion(s) you intend to improve today.
THE 7 (+ 1) STEPS TO BETTER GOLF – RIGHT NOW!
1. Structure your practice session BEFORE you start practicing. This means you must determine what one or at most two MOTIONS you want to be able to deliver better, today!
2. Understand the drills/exercises essential to developing precisely the feel of motion needed to perform the 1 or 2 FEELS you are trying to learn, today!
3. To begin your practice session, warm-up your golf muscles with a well executed March & Turn Drill to active and invigorate your golf muscles such that they reproduce YOUR best feel and understanding of swing motion, to date.
4. Begin each practice drill/exercise in SLOW MOTION, i.e. at a pace that your mind/body can process the correct and connected feel of motion you are seeking. Why? You must always begin at a pace that you can both see and feel whether you are delivering the motion correctly. It is most important that you KNOW whether you are doing exactly what you are intending to do. There is absolutely no good that comes from grooving an improper or unintended swing motion or feel.
5. Once you have the motion and feel that properly delivers your down and through for the shot you are working on, CLOSE YOUR EYES and repeat that motion. With your eyes closed you can tell BY FEEL whether you are properly delivering your motion. Practicing with your eyes closed is the absolutely fastest way to develop TRUST of your swing motion.
NOTE: Steps 4 and 5 can be done anytime any anywhere, whenever you have 2 – 5 minutes to spare – without a golf club.
6. Once you can feel the motion – test it! How? Add a club to your feel and flow of motion. Then observe whether you are a) thumping the ground opposite your lead heel; i.e. have you delivered your DOWN in line with your lead POST; and b) are you finishing balanced on your lead instep with lead leg straight, with your elbows together trailing arm extended, and your trailing knee, hip, shoulder and eyes facing your target; i.e. have you properly delivered your THROUGH to your target!
NOTE: Since quality feedback is the fastest way to learn, I always have my students practice with intersecting chalk lines drawn on their practice mat from lead heel to target line. Your DOWN should occur (make the chalk disappear) along the target chalk line from the lead heel line forward. If you tend to miss the ground entirely or hit the chalk well behind your lead heel, revert to SLOW MOTION until you get the feel that delivers your DOWN from lead heel forward, along your target line.
7. Once you are consistently delivering your DOWN and THROUGH you are finally ready to add a ball to your practice session. Once you add the ball – your objective changes. You are no longer focused on what you are doing, but rather on where you are going. Why? Yogi Berra taught us long ago that we can’t think and swing at the same time. Your purpose when the ball is in play is – to get your ball from here to there – not to make a perfect swing!!!. Only when you are focused to GO THERE are you giving your shot its best chance of success.
NOTE: In between shots, take two or three practice swings to again feel the motion(s) you chose to improve today! Then when you step up to play your shot, use your set-up to establish your DOWN at your lead heel line, and feel the direction of your THROUGH to your target. Once you can feel your DOWN and THROUGH simply focus your attention, and waggle to GO THERE!
+1. Post Shot Routine
Always observe your finish position and then your ball flight. Your finish position tells you what you did that caused the ball to do what it did. With this feedback, you create the opportunity to learn from every shot. Now, take two more swings in semi-slow motion to either a) confirm a proper feel of motion –if you liked your ball flight; or b) fix your feel of motion so that you will like your next shot. An excellent post shot routine is the fastest way to grow confidence in your game (during the round) and produce desired ball flights – on command – i.e. take your practice to the course and play better golf.
Golfstruck – Better Golf – Right Now!