Looking ahead to a new season
This article is exclusively for my programme clients and puts the spotlight on developments for 2018 and what you can do to make the most of it. Time to read - 5 mins
Information vs. behaviour
I’ve noticed over the years many coaches (and players) perceive the purpose of a lesson is to give information. It is then down to the pupil to “go away and practise this”. When it doesn’t work, the attitude is “well, you can lead a horse to water…”
However in reality, the improved outcomes we all seek from our games come about as a result of a change in behaviour (information alone isn’t enough). As experience will no doubt have taught you, just “knowing” what the problem is, doesn’t simply translate into better golf. Unless your endeavours are directed to make a meaningful change in your golfing behaviours, the rewards will be elusive.
Change is a challenging business
Our evolutionary wiring pre-disposes the human brain to continue to repeat existing behaviours, as it requires less energy than reassessing “could I do this better?”. Whether it’s a faulty grip, a disconnected takeaway or a poor use of practice time, our bad habits pull us back like a magnet, because staying the same is familiar and comfortable.
But improvement is possible with the right ingredients
Supporting the learning and adoption of new behaviours are ingredients like clarity of task, concentration, repetition and most important of all, feedback. We need to know whether our efforts are leading us in the right direction. Given a lot of the best practice pushes us beyond our current skill level, there is enough failure to make it confusing whether we are on the right track or not.
It will probably not surprise you therefore, of the golfers I work with, the ones who have made the biggest gains this year were the ones who sought feedback most frequently.
Whether this was from me in lessons or remotely (by video, or online practice notes) or for themselves in practice with video, impact tape, launch monitor etc. they fed this vital ingredient to learning.
I am constantly impressed how quickly you are all able to make gains in lessons when I simply put the right piece of feedback in front of you. So I reflected on this trend and have developed two new resources I am making available to you for 2018.
Personal online coaching area
I have built a private web page for each programme client which is designed to capture what we learn inside and outside of our face-to-face lessons and identify the key ingredients for your game. Linked from the page are tools to reinforce these as new behaviours in practice and on the course. They are designed to take very little time to use but I believe they will make a meaningful difference to your game. In your next lesson I will discuss which are appropriate for you and how to use them, but have a look round your section in the meantime.
Indoor performance studio
As you will probably be aware we are in the process of renovating the proshop to be (by March) exclusively used for coaching, practice and fitting. However it will be largely ready for use by early Feb, and as a programme client you will have special access to it.
We will be adding to the Trackman 4 simulator an indoor putting and chipping surface which at 400 sq.ft will be one of the largest in the South East. It’s surface will run at Worplesdon summer green speed all year round (no hollow-tining, frost or worms) and this controlled environment will be a perfect place to work on technique and pace control, in combination with our grass practice greens. We will be able to offer state of the art ball roll analysis for the first time as well.
The space will be multi-purpose allowing a small warm up area for pre/post round stretching and possibly even strength and conditioning work. We intend to also use it for indoor presenting in coaching seminars.
As a programme client you will be entitled to an allocation of Trackman time each month (included in your existing monthly coaching fee) and checking in on your numbers or taking one of the skills tests is another great source of feedback to ensure your efforts are on track in between our face-to-face sessions.
Feel free to pop in and use the warm up and putting area whenever it’s free. A decent warm up might only take 5 mins but its not a stretch (pardon the pun) to say it could save you a shot in the first 4 holes.
Are you prepared?
My aim is to create the best possible conditions for learning and improvement for clients that have invested in the programme. Even if your opportunities to play and practice seem limited you can make meaningful improvement.
But for me to help us improve your golfing behaviours, I’d recommend you do the following things:
Put the your personal web page on your phone on the home screen (perhaps in a folder called Golf, alongside the Hudl app I use to share video. If it’s prominent it’s convenient to use.
Engage with it - use it to spend a moment reflecting and recording what you learn when you play or practice. I get notified when a change is made so can help keep you on track in between lessons and hit the ground running when we meet up.
Home practice - if you only touch a club when you are at the course you are pushing meaningful improvement further into the future. Having a club indoors and doing as little as one engaged set up, swing, or putting stroke seems like a small commitment but the benefits are tangible if repeated. If you are time poor, this is even more relevant. See the Tiny Habits section.
Lying ahead in 2018 could be the best, most fulfilling golf you’ve ever played. But only if you are you prepared to use the time available to you better than you’ve ever done before, in order to capture learning and reinforce new (awesome) behaviours.