This is the 9th part of a series of practice tips titled “Tips for Improving”.

If you have missed any of the first 8 parts, you can go to our blog on our homepage at or direct at:

In those practice tips we discussed how we work with our students to create new habits rather than breaking old habits.  It is essentially impossible to break bad habits (our mind / body is not set up that way)… but we are set up to be able to create new habits and ultimately make changes / create new movements, etc.  we want.

We talked about a book we strongly recommend – The Little Book of Talent / 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills by Daniel Coyle

It is described as a manual for building a faster brain and a better you.  It is an easy-to-use hand book of scientifically proven, field tested methods to improve your skills – your skills, your kids’ skills, your organization’s skills – in sports, music, art, math and business.  The product of five years of reporting from the world’s greatest talent hotbeds and interviews with successful master coaches, it distills the daunting complexity of skill development into 52 clear, concise directives.

Whether you are 10 or 100, this is an essential guide for anyone who ever asked, “How do I get better?”


This book is available at

The last instructional newsletters (Tips for Improvement Part 1 through 7) we discussed 31 tips for improvement from staring a who you want to become, to being willing to be stupid, to finding the sweet spot, to practicing by yourself, to taking a nap….  Again, if you have not reviewed these past practice tips, would recommend.

This instructional newsletter (Part 9) we cover the next 5 tips for improving your skills and relate them to you learning / working on your single plane swing and golf game.

37.  To Choose the Best Practice Method, Use the R.E.P.S. Gauge

This tip provides a way to measure practice effectiveness.  It’s call the R.E.P.S. Gauge.  Each letter stands for a key element of deep practice.

R:  Reaching and Repeating

E:  Engagement

P:  Purposefullness

S:  Strong, Speedy Feedback

Reaching and Repeating:  Does your practice have you operating on the edge of our ability, reaching and repeating?    The key here is are you at the edge of your ability.  When you are working on new moves, creating new habits, it should not be easy…  you should be pushing the edge of your ability.

Engagement:  Does your practice command your attention?  Does it propel you toward your goal?  This is a perfect example of doing drills slow and making sure you hit all positions perfect and correct… It is not a matter of doing drills many times fast, but rather, fewer times slow.  Doing a drill one time one time perfect is MUCH better than many times close to perfect…

Purposefulness:  Does the task (drill) directly connect to the skill (new habit / new move)  you want to build?   Do you know which drills work for different areas of the swing?  Do you know which drills you need to focus on?  If not, it is critical to determine which drills you need to work on…

Strong, Speedy Feedback:  Do you receive a stream of accurate information about your performance?  Where you succeeded and where you made mistakes?  You need to figure out a way to get the most direct and immediate feedback as possible.  Direct and immediate feedback leads to VERY rapid learning and dramatically decreases the time to create new / lasting habits.  The best and direct feedback we have is our online coaching program.  You can see more at:

38.  Stop Before Your Exhausted

In many skills, particularly athletic, there’s a long tradition of working / practicing until total exhaustion.  It may be good for improving fitness and mental toughness, but when it comes to learning, exhaustion is the enemy.

Fatigue slows the brain.  It triggers errors, lessens concentration, and leads to shortcuts that create (or “bring back) bad habits.  It’s no coincidence that it has been shown the premium practice occurs when people are fresh, usually in the morning, if possible.  When exhaustion creeps in, it’s time to stop.

This is a perfect scenario when we talk about practicing for 15 minutes, taking a break, working another 15 minutes, etc..  Don’t overdue it as you can easily “erase” what you’ve built..

39.  Practice Immediately After Performance

For most, after performance (playing), practice is probably the last thing you want to do, but if you are not work out (exhausted), it is absolutely the best time to practice.  It is the time you will be able to target your weak points and fix them.  Jack Nicklaus said:  “I always achieve my most productive practice after an actual round.  Then the mistakes are fresh in my mind and I can go to the practice tee and work specifically on those mistakes.”

40.  Just Before Sleep, Watch a Mental Movie

Many top performers have described this habit.  Just before falling asleep, they play a movie of their idealized performance in their heads.  A wide body of research supports this idea, linking visualization to improved performance, motivation, mental toughness and confidence.  It will help you unconscious mind work toward your goals.

50.  End on a Positive Note

A practice session should end like a good meal – with a small, sweet reward.  I strongly suggest ending your practice sessions on a good note.  If you are working on a drill and feel like you hit the position(s) perfect – stop.  Don’t do one more…. stop on the perfect one.  If you are hitting balls and working on your swing – you have 5 or 10 balls left to hit and you hit one that feels just right and you feel like you make a “great” move at the ball.. end the session.  We used to call it “Leaving a few balls for the range rats…”  It is much better to leave a few balls on the range ending on a good note, then hitting every last ball and ending on a negative one…

Please watch upcoming newsletter practice tips for continuation of the tips for improving your skills / creating new habits and improving your golf game.