Golf is one of the most challenging and rewarding sports, because of its technical and mental complexity. Improvement can seem like a matrix, with so many different things you could work on to achieve results. Despite this, some players elevate themselves above the rest with incredible performance over sustained periods of time.
In this piece, we share tips and insights from coaches of world #1’s, major winners & elite amateurs, on how they structure practice sessions to improve player performance, so that you can practice like a TOUR pro.
Let’s start by considering three traits we see in every high performing athlete, golf or otherwise, who is motivated and driven to perform at their highest level.
Whatever the endeavour, measurement is critical to establish a starting point, enable tracking of progress, and develop an effective feedback loop to learn from. Golf is no different. Top performers have a clear understanding of how they’re currently performing, quantify their target performance, and structure a plan to achieve that in the fastest way possible. Players and their coaches will track progress on the course and in practice, to understand what impact their changes have, and iterate their approach to maximize their rate of improvement.
In golf, these tools enable players to share valuable information with their coaching team. Whether this relates to strength and conditioning, mental readiness, swing changes, performance tracking, or any other area of a players game that involves intervention, elite performers will look to resource their coaches with information that enables them to provide the most targeted support.
As it relates to performance tracking, we believe there is five pieces of information your coach needs to understand in order to support a player’s development:
Below you can listen to one of America’s top TOUR coaches and GolfDigest Top 100 coach Chris Mayson, who outlines the critical importance of measuring progress and how he does this effectively with his players.
How are you currently providing this information to your team or collecting this from your players? If you’re looking for ways to better resource your coach or gather information from your players to get faster results from your practice, sign up to a free trial of Circles.
Sustained improvement over time is broken into two main categories.
Firstly is the creation of daily habits. Golf is one of the most challenging sports to master, whatever your goals are. Achieving these is not an overnight task and requires dedication and consistent effort towards improvement. Establishing daily habits and routines builds continuous improvement over time. While you may not be able to get out to the range every day, there are small things you can do every day that contribute to success. Stretching, fitness & exercise, mental conditioning, visualization and meditation are examples of activities that will build your capabilities and can be done from anywhere.
A fantastic book about building great habits and breaking bad ones is Atomic Habits, by James Clear.
The second part of sustained improvement is the investment of energy in exact areas that achieve maximum results. By this we mean: what is the one thing that you can improve by 1%, which leads to 3% better results? Understanding which inputs lead to maximum outputs (in golf this means score reduction) is key to continuous improvement.
Shot data is the next weapon that players and coaches are using to drive decision making on where to best invest energy. It provides clarity on where to focus efforts to gain the greatest advantage, and lead to a competitive edge.
Below you can listen to Michigan State Head Coach, Casey Lubahn, on how he identifies which areas to focus on with his players, competing at all levels of the game. His approach to enhancing strengths and focusing on improving weaknesses in a players game have helped Coach Lubahn develop the capabilities of some of the best players in golf today.
How do you structure your training programme? Do you see opportunities to better resource your team with the information that will lead to ongoing and sustained skill development? Have a go with these suggestions to improve your golf.
If you’re interested in how shot data can help you optimize your performance, sign up for a free trial with Circles.
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