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Welcome to the Grind


iacas
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This reminded me of this quote…

You got to raise your baseline to the level of your goals if you want to reach them. I 100% agree you have to enjoy the process. That is even part of learning optimally and getting better. 

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That made me laugh, @saevel25, because I have this screenshot in my recent list:

image.jpeg


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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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my primary thought is probably a bit pedantic but the word "grind" is one I have personally come to try to avoid. If it is truly a "grind" that limits the improvement...as books such as The Practice of Practice and others I likely should reference point out, when practice is miserable the ceiling for improvement is low. One famous musician was quoted as saying something along the lines of "I have never practiced a day in my life because I enjoyed the process. Learning the scales..." and so forth, words like that and he went on. His point was he enjoyed practice, he enjoyed the feeling of improvement and that fueled his improvement. 

When you said "learn to love it" that was the golden ticket to my thinking. The underlying point is turning the practice into something a person enjoys will allow those repetitive drills and movements to matter. If it is a grind, though...much less so.

I believe one of your other points ties into the oft-quoted "practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect".  100% true that practicing poor technique will not lead to improvement.

It does however lead to a certain cognitive dissonance for me with some of the stuff recommended. Saw a Padraig Harrington video where he was talking about if he wanted to shape the ball a certain direction he would exaggerate it in his practice swings. That is something I have always struggled with. I am not trying to learn how to brush my hip as he was doing on his practice swing. Don't want the brain insulating those neurological pathways as a success. yet that is something shown to do many times by successful people. But that risks being on a tangent so I will tap out here. 

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I was told about a lesson from Carl Welty.  He had a tour player of some kind come in.  Carl took a video of his swing and they sat in the studio.  Carl didn’t say anything, he simply queued the tape and the specific sequence. The student asked questions, but Carl didn’t talk. He just played the sequence until the student figured it out. That was it.

If the student knows their swing and the swing from the perspective of their coach, then sometimes self exploration works.  I’m not saying self explore from the beginning.  I think once you have that baseline at a good point, figuring things out on your own is good.

12 hours ago, iacas said:

That's okay, because if I look back at my swings from 2009… I'm shocked at what I see. I've made a bunch of progress, but it's all been slow.

I saw my swing in the 2017 Newport video recap and laughed.  I remember thinking at the event that my swing was just fine.  I feel I’ve come a long way.  Makes me wonder what the swing will look like in another 5 years.  I’ve been working on the same set of swing thoughts for several months now and it may take years to get it down.

Grinding it out may sound extreme but there are many ways to make it enjoyable.  It doesn’t have to be swinging away on the range or in a studio.  

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7 hours ago, darthweasel said:

my primary thought is probably a bit pedantic but the word "grind" is one I have personally come to try to avoid. If it is truly a "grind" that limits the improvement...as books such as The Practice of Practice and others I likely should reference point out, when practice is miserable the ceiling for improvement is low.

Thanks for your feedback.

I think where we get off track with each other is that you're holding on to your definition of "grind" as being absolutely and always a "negative" or something.

Grinding doesn't have to be miserable. You acknowledge that I mean this when you quote me saying "learn to love it" or something, but that's the point: I thoroughly enjoy rounds where I'm "grinding." Tiger has said similar things, and you know he revels in those rounds. It takes determination and willpower, a stick-to-it-iveness, etc. That's the "grind" part, the willpower, but it can be perfectly enjoyable the vast majority of the time.

7 hours ago, darthweasel said:

One famous musician was quoted as saying something along the lines of "I have never practiced a day in my life because I enjoyed the process. Learning the scales..." and so forth, words like that and he went on. His point was he enjoyed practice, he enjoyed the feeling of improvement and that fueled his improvement.

Yeah… enjoyment doesn't mean it's not a grind. The Major League Baseball schedule is a grind, but there are umpires and fans and players and equipment managers who love it.

7 hours ago, darthweasel said:

When you said "learn to love it" that was the golden ticket to my thinking. The underlying point is turning the practice into something a person enjoys will allow those repetitive drills and movements to matter. If it is a grind, though...much less so.

See, like I said, I feel like you're so attached to your definition of "grind" as including "negative" that you're not reading it as I'm using it.

7 hours ago, darthweasel said:

I believe one of your other points ties into the oft-quoted "practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect".  100% true that practicing poor technique will not lead to improvement.

I mean, if you slice the ball, you can learn something, maybe, about yourself or your swing if you learn to hook the ball. But I think it's limited, particularly if the way you learn to hit a draw or a hook is a "bad" way.

7 hours ago, darthweasel said:

It does however lead to a certain cognitive dissonance for me with some of the stuff recommended. Saw a Padraig Harrington video where he was talking about if he wanted to shape the ball a certain direction he would exaggerate it in his practice swings.

Well, first, I've never said "don't work on building skills." I've never said "don't do any self discovery type practices" either.

Second, you're not a multiple major winner (I saw the same segment, I think), so you shouldn't really be trying to shape the ball all that much. 😀 Not for normal golf shots.

7 hours ago, phillyk said:

If the student knows their swing and the swing from the perspective of their coach, then sometimes self exploration works.  I’m not saying self explore from the beginning.  I think once you have that baseline at a good point, figuring things out on your own is good.

Yes, it can be. Absolutely.

7 hours ago, phillyk said:

I’ve been working on the same set of swing thoughts for several months now and it may take years to get it down. 

Might be true, yes.

7 hours ago, phillyk said:

Grinding it out may sound extreme but there are many ways to make it enjoyable.  It doesn’t have to be swinging away on the range or in a studio.  

Many ways, yes. Definitely.

Today I used my HackMotion and watched the graphs. I learned a bit, but at the end of the day… I was working on basically the same things on which I'm always working.


Also, to add a few points:

  • This post is mostly for the people who want to get really good. If you're currently shooting in the 90s, and you aspire only to shoot in the 80s, you can get there without grinding for months or years. This is for the guy or gal who wants to shoot in the 70s… or 60s.
  • What you work on might change over time. If you have three priorities, as you work on one, it might fall down and become a lower priority item. So, you might not be grinding on the same thing for the whole time you're dropping your index.
  • I think I had a third point I thought of today, but I'll edit or post again if I think of it, as it escapes me at the moment.
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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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I believe golf itself is a grind. In my opinion it’s the most difficult sport to achieve one’s expectations once they start the game. It’s humbling to say the least.

Yet we carry on with drills, videos, and always look for a better day. That one crisp shot brings us back. Call it a grind? I’m in.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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Great OP and follow ups. I am glad it was bumped or I would have missed it altogether.

I cannot agree more with the grind aspect of learning. We all learn differently and some of us are so heavily conditioned to go through life continuously evaluating cause and effect in every aspect and also to our own detriment continuously adjusting accordingly. Lot of it is unconscious and lot of it is deliberate. In other words, we tend to be too smart for own good. 

I have learned this year to much improved practice habits (goodish... in comparison to previous habits, not great.. I admit) that breaking into a new levels takes repetition until you cannot do something any other way but the one way. Our own distractions and soft commitments make this very difficult but therein lies the challenge. 

Honestly it seems to be the only true 'secret' of the golf swing. 

Edited by GolfLug

Vishal S.

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I agree...it's repetition that's needed, oodles of it.

I see your point about the self-organization idea, but I do think that becoming good at a complex motor skill requires alot of personal exploration. A teacher can guide and show you what something should look like, but you have to figure out what it feels like to you. Taking a lesson is only helpful if you can actually learn how to do the thing you were taught, and in the end it may not feel like what it did that first time you did it in the lesson. This is what I have found so hard in golf. One day, you feel a certain thing, and you get good results from it. The next day, you think you are feeling the same thing, and you start getting bad results.

I've always assumed this meant that I just wasn't sensitive enough to what I was actually feeling.

My ballroom dance teacher (elite, national champion level) says that if you don't practice certain skills daily, you basically never learn them, because they fade quickly, and when you try again, you basically have to learn from almost the beginning again. 

Ok so here is a question: If even bad golfers repeat their swings consistently - which I agree they do - why don't we get consistent shot results? Why is my disperson 80 yards, and a tour pro's is 25 yards, if both of us repeat our swings? We must be varying _something_ alot more than they are. What is it? 

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23 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

I see your point about the self-organization idea, but I do think that becoming good at a complex motor skill requires alot of personal exploration. A teacher can guide and show you what something should look like, but you have to figure out what it feels like to you.

Two points to that:

  1. That's generally not what "self organization" is. Self organization as I'm talking about it here, and as used by many on Golf Twitter (etc.), is "oh, you're hitting a slice? Learn to hit a hook and then work back toward the middle." It's often not guided by a coach/instructor, hence, "self."
  2. A teacher should do more than "show you what something should look like." He should help you explore (it's not self, it's guided exploration) and make you aware of the boundaries or windows.
25 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

My ballroom dance teacher (elite, national champion level) says that if you don't practice certain skills daily, you basically never learn them, because they fade quickly, and when you try again, you basically have to learn from almost the beginning again. 

Agreed.

26 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

Ok so here is a question: If even bad golfers repeat their swings consistently - which I agree they do - why don't we get consistent shot results?

You do. Your definition of "consistent" just stinks.

Your results simply aren't precise. But golfers aren't out there hitting basically random types of shots all the time.

Beyond that, golf requires such precision, that 2° or 1cm difference here or there produce vastly different results, but the swings are still consistent.

26 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

We must be varying _something_ alot more than they are. What is it? 

The tiny things: face angle, path, contact location (with the ground and the ball)… And even among those, it's mostly face angle and contact location, as path tends to be pretty consistent.

Some golfers put themselves in bad spots where, for example, their trail elbow gets too far stuck and so when it "thrusts out" they can shank it or flush it, or the face angle can change quite a bit from the thrust, so they hit what seem like very different shots. But the pattern is the same.

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Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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I can relate to the grind because of my music background.   I didn't start playing music at full speed, it was tedious, repetitive, sometimes very boring but with patience and persistence dividends were eventually received.   

Very great topic.   I'll come back to this frequently as a reminder of what is needed to improve. 

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21 hours ago, dennyjones said:

I can relate to the grind because of my music background.   I didn't start playing music at full speed, it was tedious, repetitive, sometimes very boring but with patience and persistence dividends were eventually received.   

Very great topic.   I'll come back to this frequently as a reminder of what is needed to improve. 

Musicians tend to be very good at practicing.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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