LEARNING   CENTER

THE SECRET TO BETTER GOLF...

CHANGE YOUR APPROACH .......  CHANGE YOUR RESULTS

If you are frustrated with the lack of improvement in your golf game,

it may be more about your APPROACH than your ABILITY.

Why do so many golfers struggle?  Why do they fail to improve, significantly?  Is it because they lack the ability?  I don't believe this.  It's more likely that golfers often fail to achieve their goals because of their approach which typically looks like this:

BUY THE LATEST GADGET . . . . . . .

Such as a new driver, putter, or training aid, or

   LOOK FOR THE NEXT QUICK FIX TIP . . . . . . .

From the Golf Channel, internet, book, magazine, DVD, good player at the club, well intentioned golfing pal, or golf professional, or

    PRACTICE AIMLESSLY . . . . . . . 

Such as endlessly beating range balls, constant tinkering with their swing mechanics, or attempting to swing like Tiger or Rory or Stacy or Lexi.

While each of these approaches may have some benefits, they do not help golfers achieve the HOLY GRAIL OF GOLF .........  LASTING IMPROVEMENT!

 

THERE IS A BETTER APPROACH, A PROVEN APPROACH!

 PROVEN APPROACH TO BETTER GOLF

Team Up with an Experienced Coach who is Committed to

Guide and Support

You Through

The Process and

Help You Learn

YOUR BEST SWING

Starts with Your  Commitment

to Improvement

Essential to Embrace Change with

Childlike Enthusiam

Deliberate Practice

is Essential

Continous Learning Makes the Process More Fun

Patience

with the

Process

THE PROCESS OF CHANGE

I was fortunate to learn how to play and teach golf at a very high level with the help of my golf mentor, Rod Lidenberg.  Mr. Lidenberg has over 40 years of experience teaching students and is currently a Golf Magazine Top 100 Instuctor.  This explanation of the Process of Change was created by Rod Lidenberg.

 

THE PROCESS OF CHANGE

7 Basic Truths

FIRST TRUTH - to improve you must EMBRACE THE PROCESS OF CHANGE.  This is the only way your game evolves to a higher level. 

SECOND TRUTH - often while in the process of change the immediate is temporarily worse.  As this occurs it essential to stay focused on the process and patiently wait for the outcome to improve.  

THIRD TRUTH - change takes place best when the golfer takes a non-judgmental approach to the immediate outcome and simply EXPERIENCES the new reality. 

FOURTH TRUTH - even though a golfer may not be satisfied with some aspect of their current game, they have familiarity with it.  And this familiarity translates to a level of comfort both from a physical and psychological standpoint.  

FIFTH TRUTH - the desire for uninterrupted comfort is a significant barrier to change and ultimate improvement.  A golfer must allow themselves to be uncomfortable, at least on a temporary basis, so that real change can take place.  

SIXTH TRUTH - change represents the unknown.  And some golfers view the unknown with a sense of apprehension.  It is important to understand that in reality the unknown represents an opportunity to break from the past and move forward.  

SEVENTH TRUTH - change is a process that never stops.  The best athletes in any sport are always striving to reach the next level.  They know staying in place is impossible .

DELIBERATE PRACTICE

The bulk of the research to date proves conclusively that all elite athletes use a similiar training routine to achieve sucess:

 

  • Approach each critical task with the explicit goal of getting better at it, not just completing it

  • Upon completing the task, focus on what's happening and why you are doing it the way you are

  • After the task, get feedback on your performance from multiple sources

  • Make the changes necessary to improve

  • Continually expand your base of knowledge

  • Maintain your motivation through help from family and teachers

  • Do these steps regularly, not sporadically

OCCASIONAL PRACTICE DOES NOT WORK!

 

MAKING PRACTICE MORE EFFECTIVE

For some golfers, practice is fun (maybe nearly as enjoyable as playing on the course) and for others it is pure drudgery.  Regardless of which category you fall in, why not make your practice more EFFECTIVE.  

I attended a Golf Teacher Summit a few years back in Dallas and sat through a fascinating presentation on motor learning, the effectiveness of various practice strategies, and the factors affecting what we learn compared to what we retain.  The presentation, titled The Science of Acquiring and Retaining Golf Skills was given by Dr. Tim Lee, a college professor at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada and author.  Dr. Lee has devoted his entire 35 year career to understanding motor learning.

 

Dr. Lee started with "Myths about Learning".  These included: practice makes perfect, perfect practice make more perfect, the more reps the better, and it's all about strengthing muscle memory.   As many instuctors in the audience were nodding their heads in agreement with these steps to learning, Dr. Lee said the scientific evidence does not support these learning models.  The whole concept of muscle memory was quite interesting to me since this is something that seems part of the common knowledge base of many golfers.  He explained how muscles are DUMB.  They only contract or relax in response to what the centerl nervous systmem tells them to do.  BOTTOM LINE, NO SUCH THING AS MUSCLE MEMORY.  DOES NOT EXIST!

 

The scientific community breaks motor control down into what is known as the 3 B's: brain, biomechanics, and behavior.  Learning requires repetitive practice of all 3 of these cyclical processes.

  • Brain - preplaning process such as what club to hit, where to hit the ball, alignment

  • Biomechanics - how to move your body (typical practice focuses on this phase of learning)

  • Behavior - processing results of shot (what went right and wrong) 

 

Now changes we make can be temporary or permanent.  The retention of information is the benchmark of evaluating learning.  And our goal is permanent change not temporary because we are seeking lasting (not fleeting) improvement.

 

In golf, practice occurs on the driving range but the true "test' occurs on the golf course.  

 

Performance changes can be temporary, but learning is a permanent change. 

 

Random vs block practice.  Random practice encourages the learner to involve the brain when faced with new tasks.  Blocked practice encourages swing practice.  Involves the biomechanic phase without engaging the planning and evaluation phase.  

 

Involving the brain make practice more difficult.  Blocked practice teases one into thinking that it is effective.  

 

Need to reengage the brain before each repetition prior to invoking the biomechanics required and in evaluating the results afterwards.

 

Random practice engages the learner in behaviors that are appropriate for learning.  

 

Here is the kicker.  Involving the brain makes practice more difficult (less desireable).  It is a difficult type of practice.  

 

Block (repetitive) practice teases one into thinking you are learning.  Makes you feel like you are engaged in effective practice.  Why?  Becuase you are seeing improvement, you are seeing change immediately.  Problem is change is elusive, change is temporary, as a result it is just teasing you.  

 

Block practice - easier to do, more immediate rewards, feel good about progress, but less retention

 

Random practice - harder to do, fewer immediate rewards, less happy about progress, but more retention.  

Real learning (permanent change or new normal) is what we remember after we have forgotten what we learned.

TRUTHS I HAVE LEARNED

I have been involved in the game of golf for nearly 50 years.  I got started when I got hit in the eye with a baseball bat and decided to spend time playing a safer sport.  Along the way I have learned many things about people and this UBER ADDITIVE GAME called golf.  Here is a short list of what I have learned:

 

  • Golf is a difficult game to learn and impossible to MASTER (think.... golf is hard).

  • Golf is a game for a lifetime because you can play for a lifetime and it takes a lifetime to learn.

  • Golf is more fun when you are good.

  • Feel and Real in your golf swing are different.

  • Fundamentally solid golf swings age better than those that rely on compensations.

  • Golf, like LIFE, is not always fair.  Accept it.

  • FAILURE IS AN IMPORTANT STEP TO SUCCESS.

  • Passion and comittment almost always trumps talent.

  • Very few things are achieved in life without help from others.

  • The joy you get from helping others outshines the joy you receive from helping yourself.

"GOLF IS MORE FUN WHEN YOU ARE GOOD!"

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