Jump to content
IGNORED

A Conversation About Lessons and Practice


Recommended Posts

I know I definitely used to fall into this trap more than I do now, but even today I still can find myself sliding into the same habit.

Show up early for your round, hit the range, and try to find which feel I need to use that day to hit the shots I want to hit. Most rounds used a different feeling than the one before it, and if that feeling stopped working I'd try to correct something mid-round based on how I had been hitting it up to then.

Last fall and this year in particular I've tried to focus much more on long-term improvement and consistency. I have something I've chosen to work on, and until I really nail it down I continue working on that item even if there are other problems. Focusing much more on the swing than on the result, and trusting that the results will come with time and repetition. When I started playing seriously again last year I quickly hit the max-up limit for my handicap index with my old technique of bouncing around, occasionally scoring well but only once in a blue moon when I managed to guess all the right feelings correctly that day. After changing my process I've steadily, and legitimately, improved from the limited maximum by nearly 2 strokes and from my "real" handicap at the time by at least 3 strokes.

I still have a lot of work to go, but it's been very satisfying because by focusing on the process rather than the results I've ended up being much more consistent in the long run with less variability between rounds. It's paid off both in terms of long-term results and winnings from the men's club along the way!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

On 4/15/2021 at 1:23 PM, iacas said:

What do you think? Are you like the Student above? Do you know people who are?

Yes 😛 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/15/2021 at 3:19 PM, dennyjones said:

This strikes home with me.    thanks for this thread.   much needed, much appreciated.

I'll just say "Me too". 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Not sure how I missed this post for the past month but glad I saw it today.   I see myself slipping into the same bad practice sessions and this is a timely reminder to keep doing my drills.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

As I start working with my kids, this is a great lesson for me as an instructor.  They are always wanting quick fixes.  I can see what they are doing wrong and have to do a better job communicating and giving them smaller things on which to repeat and focus.

Every time I tell them it takes patience, practice and hard work to get better they groan. 🙂

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

On 4/15/2021 at 12:23 PM, iacas said:

Me: If you said you’d give me $100k if you can become a 4 handicap, we’d mostly work on only a few technical things, and we’d practice deliberately a BUNCH.

Not sure where he started, but......

On 5/17/2021 at 11:52 AM, iacas said:

My GHIN index has dropped almost 3 points!!

Maybe getting close to your big payday? 😀👍

 

seriously though, cool post.   Good reminder for me.  I feel like most people probably know deep down how to get better?  Like losing weight, it’s not usually complicated (with correct info) just hard not to want to shortcut things.

 

 I might be willing to give you a bonus if you get me to scratch, prob not 100k 😀.   
 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • Administrator
17 hours ago, Wanzo said:

seriously though, cool post.   Good reminder for me.  I feel like most people probably know deep down how to get better?  Like losing weight, it’s not usually complicated (with correct info) just hard not to want to shortcut things.

I don't know if they know. I still think too many people believe that if they understand something, they can pretty quickly "do it" at full speeds, or near full speeds.

That's more true of beginners, because they don't have habits to break. They haven't learned how to deliver their hands or the clubhead from "there" yet, because they've spent 100,000 or 750,000 swings delivering their hands or the clubhead from "here" instead.

That takes time to overcome. Practice. Muscles are really, really dumb.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

On 4/15/2021 at 1:23 PM, iacas said:

An occasional student (a few lessons a year, great guy, retired, LOVES golf) messaged me today, and I'm going to share the conversation (with his permission), and then try to wrap some things up at the end.

The conversation occurs between the horizontal rules:


Student: Erik, need some advice.

First off I’ve taken a lot of lessons from many different people and even went to the Pinehurst Golf Academy. The lessons I’ve done with you seem to have helped me the best but I am still very inconsistent. One day I think I have a good feel and then the next I can’t find it.

My thought here is that it’s my fault because I guess I’m not applying what I’ve learned properly - I don’t know but I’m the one swinging the club.

My question is what do you suggest I do to get more consistent? Just more lessons? Start my swing over from scratch and pretend I’ve never touched a club?

I’m not one of those 20+ handicappers that someone looks at and says to themselves “no matter what I say he’s never getting any better” . I’ve had rounds in the 70’s. I know it’s in me. I’m just getting frustrated and want to find the best way to get consistent without throwing money down the drain.

Me: I’ll be home soon and can reply on my computer.

Student: Take your time. It’s already happened this year lol. Was out a few weeks ago striking every club great. That held up for like three rounds and now I can barely hit the ball. I know swing thoughts come and go but it shouldn’t be to those extremes over such a short period.

Me: Okay, so… if you’re okay with it, I’m going to be pretty direct here. That okay?

Student: That’s what I need

Me: First, thanks for what you said about how my lessons have helped the most. I appreciate it.

Now, when I think of you, and your game, and the lessons we’ve had, and what I saw on the range the other day… etc. You as a golfer, and a student, I see someone with some skills, enough speed to play good golf, etc. For sure.

What I also see is someone who, even during our lessons, has their mind going a mile a minute and is constantly looking to find a “reason” for every shot. I see someone who wants to progress far more rapidly than is possible by any person.

You’ll have a lesson one day, and two days later you’ll tell me how that thing helped but what really let you play well on the back nine was such and such other thing.

I think two things apply most to you (there are some other smaller things, but these are the big two):

  1. You don’t practice or work on the “piece” you’re given at a slow enough pace, with short enough swings, or do your drills, for anywhere near long enough. Changing a habit is hard. Your golf swing looks more like what it did three years ago than I’d have liked.
  2. You search for a reason for EVERY bad shot, and often switch gears or tracks or feels or swing thoughts all the time. This ties into #1 again, but consider Tiger. Game’s best, and yes, his margin of error is much smaller. But it took him a year + to get what appear to us to be pretty small changes.

If I was to give you tough love, it’d be something like that. I’d make you practice better, stop jumping from thought to thought, feel to feel, band-aid to band-aid. Even during a lesson you’ll say “what I did on that one was…”

It’s pretty common, all of that stuff. But you’re toward the upper ends of that type of person, for sure.

People often think “if I understand something, I can do it” but that’s not how learned muscle patterns work. Understanding is the first step of many, and people learn best, generally, by working slowly and deliberately.

Student: I think you’re pretty accurate there with just about everything that’s why I asked you the question because we know each other pretty well and I knew you’d give it to me straight.

Me: If you said you’d give me $100k if you can become a 4 handicap, we’d mostly work on only a few technical things, and we’d practice deliberately a BUNCH.

We’d emphasize a post-shot routine which, most of the time, would be to just throw away a shot and not think about it until there’s a very clear pattern, and even then we’d apply the simplest correction to get to the end of the round.

I appreciate that you could take that in the way in which it’s intended - to try to help you out.

Some free advice is this: when your game stinks, it doesn’t do you any good to go to the range and make full speed full swings. I’d go to the range and chip a 7I 50 yards, and see if I’m getting good contact with that. Then 70. Etc.

Me: My daughter usually draws the ball. Lately she’s been leaving the face open, so the ball starts too far right. She hit enough "right" balls that didn't draw or even cut a little that she instinctively started to swing left a bit to “pull” the ball. Which isn't her pattern, and that just makes it fade, of course. Which she hates. Plus, since it wasn't her pattern, her contact suffered, her timing and distances were off, etc.

Before she could get too far off the rails (she was still easily shooting in the 70s doing this), I told her to take her 7I, go to the range, change her grip in a certain small way, and then to do a thing in her swing that closes the face properly… and then to make EVERY ball do two things: 1) pull, and 2) hook or at least draw.

But every ball had to both START LEFT and CURVE LEFT. Every ball.

Then to slowly ramp up the speed. Because she’ll have less time to do the wrist stuff, every ball will start left but not as much. And they should all still draw.

I told her that when it came time to play, to do the grip, to do that thing… but also to just set the face slightly right. That way the ball starts slightly right and (likely) still draws.

By making every ball start left, she’s forcing her body to keep swinging out to the right. It’s been a week. She’s up to about 70% of her usual distances on the range now. And she’s a scratch golfer whose swing path or face was getting 3-5° off, max.

She has played a bit in the meantime, so it’s not like she’s ONLY gone to the range. Just that when she has, I've asked her to do ONLY this. To be deliberate about it. Because that will be what gets her where she wants to go the fastest.

You can get more out of fifteen minutes of deliberate practice than two hours of whatever you were doing on Tuesday.

Student: The 7i 50 yards is the kind of stuff I don’t do. I guess I just need to get some of those drills like that and just do them without thinking.

Me: She hits it much shorter than you, of course. 😃

No, you do them WITH thinking! 😊

Read that topic (the first post, mostly). The point of practice is to have “success,” but success isn’t just “hitting the ball awesome and far.” Success is “did you learn, did you change the pattern much?”

Me: “Did every ball start left and curve left?” I asked her. For example.

Student: I know I said before I scored this and I scored that but to be honest I’d rather hit the ball well and not worry about the score because if you hit it well the scores come.

Me: Yeah. I always just try to hit good golf shots. Sometimes I’m more satisfied with a 76 than a 71.

Student: So what do you suggest I’ll do whatever I need to in whatever manner I need too.

Me: What I’d do if I were you right now is this…

  1. Go back to look at the old lessons I gave you. Maybe not too far back, but you’ll see some commonalities in what we’ve talked about.
  2. If you want, ask me any specific questions about them. Some of the notes or “feels” may not make sense now because you forgot the context.
  3. Read the Five S Words topic and go to the range with those in mind. You can get more out of 20 minutes of deliberate practice hitting 25 balls than 18 holes or 2 hours on the range.
  4. Let me know how it’s going. Next week after conference championships I can add you to CoachNow if you wanted to have me be a sort of a "trainer type" to keep you accountable.

I almost added this conversation to the Five S Words topic, or to the "Stop Conning Yourself" topic.

But I think there's value in seeing it here, separately, as a topic.

I think a lot more of us are a lot more like this Student than we're willing to admit. Hell, I fall into this trap sometimes. I then berate myself for being stupid, and fortunately it doesn't happen too often (I also don't get as much time to practice as some, so it may happen more if I practiced longer!).

What do you think? Are you like the Student above? Do you know people who are?

I am the student above, in almost all hobby pursuits I've taken in my life, to some degree. My most successful sporting hobby has been ballroom dancing, and that is because I dance Pro-Am, so the pro is constantly dancing with me, and she prevents me from allowing my focus to drift to useless areas. So this makes perfect sense. 

Erik, do you do any online lessons? How can I get a lesson from you, to perhaps give me one or two simple things to work on in my swing? 

JP

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

5 hours ago, Big Lex said:

I am the student above, in almost all hobby pursuits I've taken in my life, to some degree. My most successful sporting hobby has been ballroom dancing, and that is because I dance Pro-Am, so the pro is constantly dancing with me, and she prevents me from allowing my focus to drift to useless areas. So this makes perfect sense. 

Erik, do you do any online lessons? How can I get a lesson from you, to perhaps give me one or two simple things to work on in my swing? 

JP

Do you have a member swing?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

5 hours ago, Big Lex said:

I am the student above, in almost all hobby pursuits I've taken in my life, to some degree. My most successful sporting hobby has been ballroom dancing, and that is because I dance Pro-Am, so the pro is constantly dancing with me, and she prevents me from allowing my focus to drift to useless areas. So this makes perfect sense. 

Erik, do you do any online lessons? How can I get a lesson from you, to perhaps give me one or two simple things to work on in my swing? 

JP

Evolvr is where you need to go. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

4 hours ago, dennyjones said:

Do you have a member swing?

Sorry I don't know what a member swing is. 

4 hours ago, Vinsk said:

Evolvr is where you need to go. 

Thank you for telling me about this. I may sign up. Sounds like a great idea. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

On 4/15/2021 at 1:23 PM, iacas said:

What do you think? Are you like the Student above? Do you know people who are?

I think that was a very informative read, specially since I just started working with you! I think I might be the opposite of this Student, as in I will do nothing since I'm not 100% certain of what I'm suppose to be doing sometimes. I'm not the type to scour youtube or golf digest in search of swing advice, I like to keep my swing as simple as it needs to be so I can be as "swing thought free" as I can be.

I feel like this is both good and bad. Good because I've never been overwhelmed with swing thoughts but also bad because up until now if I don't have a specific drill I just remain where I'm at doing the same things (grip/setup). I like clear and precise advice/drills and I also like going slowly until I fully "get it".

Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • Want to join this community?

    We'd love to have you!

    Sign Up
  • Support TST Affiliates

    TourStriker PlaneMate
    Golfer's Journal
    Whoop
    SuperSpeed
    FlightScope Mevo
    Use the code "iacas" for 10% off Mevo and the code "iacasjun21" for 10% off SuperSpeed.
  • Posts

    • I lol’d yesterday at McIlroy’s post round interview when the interviewer mistook someone else’s baby for McIlroy’s. I was thinking while they panned over to the cute little one, that doesn’t look like McIlroy’s kid, did they do due diligence? All you have to do is take out the black slate from your pocket and type out McIlroy baby and compare what’s on the phone to the monitor. Low journalism standards. 
    • Nice looking leaderboard. BDC 27 holes bogey free. Go Wolff!
    • I vote for more shots of the parasailers. And go, Rory!  
    • He kinda looks like he could be Timothy Olyphant’s older brother. He kinda sounds like his character from “Justified”—Raylan Givens. 
    • I tried to upload but it said the videos were too large from my iPhone.  I haven’t been fitted.  I’d love to blame the lie angle.  I’m 6’1” but arms are longer than average. I’m putting fitting off because I feel my iron swing is so bad at this point.
  • Today's Birthdays

    1. Dan42nepa
      Dan42nepa
      (65 years old)
    2. James Dalton
      James Dalton
      (80 years old)
    3. JMHARDING
      JMHARDING
      (31 years old)
    4. mwh1023
      mwh1023
      (54 years old)
    5. Skeesh
      Skeesh
      (49 years old)

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to TST! Signing up is free, and you'll see fewer ads and can talk with fellow golf enthusiasts! By using TST, you agree to our Terms of Use, our Privacy Policy, and our Guidelines.

The popup will be closed in 10 seconds...