Tips for Improving

Every so often we like to remind everyone… what we believe are CRITICAL for improving.

Don’t Waste Time Trying to Break Bad Habits – Instead Build New Ones

I bet I talk about this so many times in our schools, many of our students probably get “sick” of hearing it.

When it comes to dealing with bad habits, many of us attack the problem head-on, by trying to break the habit.  This tactic, of course, doesn’t work.  And we are left with the old truth – habits are tough (if not impossible) to break.  The blame lies with our brains.  While we are really good at building circuits (creating habits), we are awful at unbuilding them. Trying as you might to break a bad habit, it is still there, waiting patiently for a chance to be used.

So, what do we do?

The solution is to ignore the bad habit and put your energy toward building a new habit that will override the old/bad habit.

To build new habits, start slowly. Expect to feel stupid, clumsy, uncomfortable, and even frustrated at first…. after all, the new “wires” in your brain haven’t been built yet. Your brain still wants to follow the old “comfortable” pattern. Build the new habit by gradually increasing the difficulty, little by little. It takes time, but it’s the ONLY way new habits are created and grow.

To Learn it More Deeply, Teach It

I absolutely love this one.

Here is the issue. Every good golfer, every golfer who learns something new/reaches a goal, etc… must be their own best teacher. If you cannot teach yourself, your ability to make changes, create new habits, reach goals, etc. will occur in a much slower rate.

This is not saying you must create everything yourself, but it is saying you must take what you learn and translate into self-teaching.

Think about it – how much time to you spend practicing, and how much of that practice time is with someone teaching you?

If you are like most, 90% + of your practice time is on your own, trying to create new habits, etc. on your own. Meaning, you must be able to make sure you are doing things correct, must be able to make sure you are “going down the correct path”.

A great way to determine if you can teach yourself it ask yourself “Could I teach this (new habit I am trying to learn) to someone else?”

This works because when you communicate a skill to someone, you come to understand it more deeply yourself. Also, when you see someone struggle, and help them through it, you improve your ability to deal with your own struggles.

The saying “Those who can’t do, teach” should be rewritten as “Doers who teach do better!”

Give a New Skill a Minimum of Eight Weeks

When it comes to growing/creating/developing new skills, eight weeks seems to be an important threshold. It’s the length of many top-level training programs around the world, from the Navy Seals’ physical – conditioning program to the mission training for the Mercury astronauts. A recent study at Massachusetts General Hospital showed the practicing meditation for twenty-seven minutes a day created lasting brain changes in (you guessed it) eight weeks.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can be proficient in any skill in eight weeks. Rather, it underlines two more basic points:

1)  Constructing and honing new habits takes time, no matter who you are, and

2) Resilience and grit are vital tools, particularly in the early stages of learning. Don’t make judgements too early.

Keep at it, even if you don’t feel immediate improvement. Give your talent (your brain) the time it needs to grow and create new habits.

Please feel free to contact anytime – we are always happy to help and answer your questions.

3 thoughts to “Tips for Improving”

  1. Well put and TRUE! Another point, the older we get, the more our brain benefits from new learning and might have positive effects on dementia onset and slow progression. Embrace the difficulty and frustration that comes with new learning of both the mental, and neurologic benefits to the motor systems. Remember muscles don’t have a mind of their own. They do as they are told! Part of the time comes as a consequence of the time it takes to make the neurologic pathways viable to the new workload demands. No apologies for this technical explanation, by learning it and understanding what you have just learned, your brain is better off!

  2. Thanks I am one who struggle to get past bad swing thoughts habits, So my plan is to start with 2 birds teaching for remainder of summr August Sept (8 weeks) Also working on rotation drill and getting into lead knee. and getting rid of swing thoughts even while practicing

  3. I’m looking forward to using the V1 ap and stat book that I just received. Can’t wait to analyze my swing and have GGA review it with me. I’m 73 and have scored my age or better multiple times this summer and still hope to improve. Thank you Graves Golf.

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