Hopefully, you were able to read the last 3 practice tips (July Update and August Newsletters) – Tips for Improving (Part 1, 2 and 3).
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 Amazon.com
The last instructional newsletters (Tips for Improvement Part 1, 2 and 3) we talked about the following tips:
1. Staring at who you want to become.
2. Spending 15 minutes a day engraving the skills on your brain.
3. Stealing without apology.
4. Buying (and keeping) a notebook.
5. Be willing to be stupid
6. Choose spartan over luxurious
7. Before you start, figure out if it’s a hard skill or a soft skill
8. To build hard skills, work like a careful carpenter
9. To build soft skills, play like a skateboarder
10. Honor the hard skills
11. Don’t fall for the prodigy myth
This instructional newsletter (Part 4) we cover the next 4 tips for improving your skills and relate them to you learning / working on your single plane swing and golf game.
12. Pick a High-Quality Teacher or Coach
There is good section of the book on how to pick a high-quality teacher or coach. I will assume you have already “picked” Moe Norman single plane golf swing as the instruction you have chosen to follow. Some points to focus on with a teacher or coach:
– A teacher needs to watch his / her student closely.
– Is action oriented, wanting you to make changes not spend a lot of time “chatting”…
– Is honest – telling you the truth about your performance in clear instruction. This is not personal, it’s information you can use to get better.
– Gives clear directions
– Loves teaching fundamentals
– Has experience
We pride ourselves at the GGA in all the above characteristics and hope all those that come to us for instruction will see us a high-quality teachers / coaches.
13. Find the Sweet Spot
There is a place, right on the edge of your ability, where you learn best and fastest. It’s called the sweet spot. Here’s how to find it.
There are 3 different “zones” in which you can practice / learn:
1. Comfort Zone: Zone of ease, effortless, you are working, but not reaching or struggling. Percentage of successful attempts: 80% and above.
2. Sweet Spot Zone: Zone of frustration, difficulty, alertness to errors. You’re fully engaged in an intense struggle.. as if you’re stretching with all your might for a nearly unreachable goal… brushing it with your fingertips, then reaching again. Percentage of successful attempts: 50 to 80%.
3. Survival Zone: Zone of confusion, desperation, overmatched, scrambling, guessing. You guess correct sometimes, but it is mostly luck. Percentage of successful attempts: Below 50%.
Your key is to find your “sweet spot” zone. Seek out ways to “stretch” yourself. Stay between being too easy (being able to do something over and over again) and confusion. It doesn’t hurt to be a little frustrated… typically this will push you to “figure it out”.
Work in your sweet spot zone for short intervals. Practice for 10 to 15 minutes, then give yourself a break. Do it again… This zone can seem mentally “taxing” at times.. work smart and be alert (to changes, etc..).
Tip # 14. Take Off Your Watch
Practice (Deep Practice) should not be measured in minutes or hours, but in the number of high-quality repetitions you make.
Instead of counting minutes or hours, count the number of “perfect” repetitions you make (drills you perform).
Example – instead of planning on hitting golf balls for an hours, plan on making 25 quality swing with each club.
Ignore the clock and get to your sweet spot zone, even if it’s only for a few minutes, and measure your progress by what counts – number of times doing drill correct or number of correct repetitions.
Tip # 15. Break Every Move (Golf Swing) Down Into Chunks
Every skill / habit is built out of smaller pieces – what scientists call chunks.
Chunks are to skill what letters of the alphabet are to language. Individually, don’t mean much, put together forms sentences, paragraphs, etc…
To begin “chunking”, first engrave the blueprint of the skill on your mind (Tip # 2). Then ask yourself:
1. What is the smallest single element of this skill I can master / or in the golf swing, what is the most important element I need to learn.
– The Grip
2. Practice one chunk by itself until you’ve mastered it, then connect more chunks, one by one. Second “chunk” of the golf swing –
– The Set Up
3. No matter what skill you set out to learn, the pattern is always the same. See the whole thing. Break it down to its simplest elements. Put it back together, repeat.
– The Backswing
– Top of swing / Transition
– The Downswing
Work on each “chunk” individually – one at a time. Working to master / perfect before going on or working on another. This will save you a lot of time and frustration in the “long run”…
Remember as stated many times – learning the golf swing / making changes is NOT a sprint, but rather a marathon. And if treated that way, your changes / new habits you create, will be there for the “long run”.
Watch upcoming newsletter for additional practice tips for improvement.