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Simple, Specific, Slow, Short, and Success - The Five "S"s of Great Practice


iacas
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Count me in too, been doing a lot of slow motion movements in front of a mirror just to see where things are ending up.  As you've always said, "Feel isn't real".

Joe Paradiso

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Thx Eric, great post!

My range sessions usually go this way (TGM terms used):

I spend at least 30-40 minutes doing only Basic and Aquired Motion, concentrating on the impact zone. That's also some sort of warmup to me.

After that 15-20 minutes go into release variations (horizontal, angled, vertical), still doing it on Basic and Aquired Motion swings.

After some rest, and according how things worked out before, I'm concentrating on longer swings (still no full swings) and my position in the follow through. If the things before weren't that good, I try to stay there, just integrate one or two longer swings in between (you do want to see the ball fly long, don't you? *G*)

Since I have some background in sports-science and as trainer in other sports, I'm always using the same basic principle: Go from the easy to the complex motion. If the easy motion is to move the club only 2feet back/2feet through, so be it.

When I'm watching others on our ranges around, the lack of this principle when they are practicing by themselves is obvious.

greetings

michi

"I have my own golf course and Par is whatever I say it is. There's a hole which is a Par13 and yesterday I damn nearly birdied that sucker." - Willie Nelson

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I will definitely be one to use this.  I always try to warm up with slow movements or variations of my swing, but never put much thought into it.  Thanks for the excellent post.

Mizuno MP-630,  Taylormade R7 15, Mizuno MP-60's, Mizuno MP T-11 wedges, Bettinardi BB-27

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So far I've gotten in one range session doing this and it's really, really helping. I haven't gotten to practice at all over the last six weeks because I injured my elbow hitting too many balls off the super stiff range mats. I was hitting something like 100 balls a day in an hour and it finally caught up to me with an elbow injury that is only finally healing.

So this was the first session back and it is such a better way for me to be practicing. I am really injury prone. In 2009 I hurt my back for 8 months because I would twist too much around my lower back when I swung (my pre-stack and tilt days). I tore an intercostal in 2010 and lost about three months. This season I developed tendinitis in both wrists that severely cut down on my ability to practice.

Slowing everything down and hitting only a handful of balls per session is the route I simply had to go. Not only is it a more effective and efficient way to practice, but it should cut down on my injuries as well.

Fingers crossed I can stay healthy for a season and actually get to practice golf. Based on all the knowledge I've accrued over the last four years reading and studying this forum, it's a crying shame I don't have the body to put it into practice. Hopefully this is the missing piece for me.

Constantine

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Looks like I've got another resoultion to add to my list. Can't remember how many times I've seen guys at the range hit ball after ball hoping to get that good shot rather than working to get that good shot.

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Ryan

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Here how I practice when I'm working on things.  Here I'm feeling like I'm stretching out my right side and then lowering my arms down fast.  Might do this for 10-20 balls, then work on something else and the hit some shots like I'm on the course.  And then repeat

Mike McLoughlin

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Originally Posted by mvmac

Here how I practice when I'm working on things.  Here I'm feeling like I'm stretching out my right side and then lowering my arms down fast.  Might do this for 10-20 balls, then work on something else and the hit some shots like I'm on the course.  And then repeat

Awesome. This is exactly how I practiced last time except my thoughts were "squeeze the elbows together on the downswing," "push hips forward," "maintain side-tilt."

Sometimes I'll do what Erik used to work on and do "steep to shallow" by sort of cupping it a bit with no forearm roll on the backswing and then palmar flexing once I reach the top.

Another thought for me is "keep the right arm straight," since I have a problem with it collapsing beyond 90 degrees sometimes.

Lots of thoughts, but it's easy to juggle them during slow motion practice.

Great stuff, guys!

Constantine

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My question is, "Do we work on more than one thing in a session or keep it to one specific item".  For example, I went to the indoor range Wed and only worked on getting my hips to slide forward, which I feel is my most common issue.  Or do we have more than one thing to work on at a session?

When I coach soccer, we try to only introduce one new technique or tactic per practice.  the rest of practice is just routine stuff the kids have already done.

Scott

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Originally Posted by boogielicious

My question is, "Do we work on more than one thing in a session or keep it to one specific item".  For example, I went to the indoor range Wed and only worked on getting my hips to slide forward, which I feel is my most common issue.  Or do we have more than one thing to work on at a session?

When I coach soccer, we try to only introduce one new technique or tactic per practice.  the rest of practice is just routine stuff the kids have already done.


The difference is that you're introducing the technique. You've been making a full golf swing as long as you've been playing, and you've already been introduced to the new move you need to make (likely during instruction). So they're not quite the same.

To answer your question, "it depends." It depends on:

  • How you're feeling.
  • How you're swinging.
  • How much time you have.
  • How skilled you are at doing two things.
  • How well you're doing the first thing.
  • How bored you get with one thing.
  • What the specific things are.
  • Where you are.
  • What matches or tournaments or rounds you have coming up.
  • etc.

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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Originally Posted by boogielicious

My question is, "Do we work on more than one thing in a session or keep it to one specific item".  For example, I went to the indoor range Wed and only worked on getting my hips to slide forward, which I feel is my most common issue.  Or do we have more than one thing to work on at a session?

When I coach soccer, we try to only introduce one new technique or tactic per practice.  the rest of practice is just routine stuff the kids have already done.

Originally Posted by iacas

The difference is that you're introducing the technique. You've been making a full golf swing as long as you've been playing, and you've already been introduced to the new move you need to make (likely during instruction). So they're not quite the same.

To answer your question, "it depends." It depends on:

How you're feeling.

How you're swinging.

How much time you have.

How skilled you are at doing two things.

How well you're doing the first thing.

How bored you get with one thing.

What the specific things are.

Where you are.

What matches or tournaments or rounds you have coming up.

etc.


Exactly.  I think in golf, we should only be working on 2-3 things at the most.  One of those will be our priority piece.  I've been doing this stuff for 3 years and I'm still working on P4 Yes it's gotten a lot better but our faults tend to stay with us and change takes a lot of reps and quality practice.  And not just practice hitting balls, but practice at home, not hitting balls and making slow, specific swings.

I don't think we should be introducing pieces, like the soccer example, unless it really pertains to your swing.   And when we do practice, the focus should be on one piece at a time.  Even though my example above I mentioned working on 2 things, I'm mostly focused on the downswing piece and just "rehearsing" the backswing.

Mike McLoughlin

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Thanks for the responses.  I worked on it again yesterday at the indoor range.  The only focus was hips forward.  I hit maybe 20 balls in 1/2 hour of work with a lot of slow motion work as in the examples above (Mike Bennett).  The only change was from a 6 iron to a 3 iron, but doing the same focus.

BTW, kudos to Erik for this thread.  I've read so many golf books and very few, if any, teach you how to practice.

Scott

Titleist, Edel, Scotty Cameron Putter, Snell - AimPoint - Evolvr - MirrorVision -MEVO+

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Originally Posted by boogielicious

BTW, kudos to Erik for this thread.  I've read so many golf books and very few, if any, teach you how to practice.

You're welcome. I accept iTunes gift certificates of all denominations at the usual email address. ;-)

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:

Check Out: New Topics | TST Blog | Golf Terms | Instructional Content | Analyzr | 5SK.com | LSW | Instructional Droplets

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Example of Brad Faxon practicing.  Don't worry too much about what he is practicing but how he's doing it.  Slow, exaggerated swings to change the picture and stay more centered.  Won a Champions Tour event last year

Mike McLoughlin

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If I may add to this thread, which is 100% correct.

To learn, is to go through the 4 stages of competence.


This golfer went from 1 'Unconscious Incompetence' (not even knowing you can't do something) to 3 'Conscious competence' (knowing what you need to do but with required concentration).
The final stage is 'unconscious competence' - to do it without thinking.

Here is a way of how to go "through the motions" of the follow through and start to implement them into your swing.

James Hirshfield

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Great Thread ! Some simple points to remember but effective !
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I need to go back to what I was working on 12 months ago when I was playing the best golf of my life. Back then, I was fortunate enough to have perpendicular mirrors in my bedroom so I was able to check my alignment and positions from all angles. I did not even have a ball in front of me. It was just a move and a feeling and the club never went past parallel to the ground on the takeaway or follow through. It was simple, slow and with a purpose, and for me, very effective. Funny enough, when I think about it, it was shortly after I moved out of that place that my game turned to shyte as I did not have the aid of mirrors to work on it.  These days I have increased my range of motion so I need to make the most of that and get back to doing those drills. I also need to work on those movements before every shot. I rarely make a practice swing during a comp round and I wonder why I hit so many bad shots. Things need to change, and now, while my game is back on the improve.

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Yesterday - I performed many slo mo', practice swings, and drills in this thread --  probably too many. .. basic motion, acquired motion, then concentrated on the hips forward and back to target (?) drills

I also closed my eyes in making practice swings to be more aware of elements of the swing.

Yes, it is a more effective way to practice. I took my time and cleaned off those forgings between balls -- older men need rest...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Awesome.  One question.  How do we speed it up?  Does it just happen?  I struggle because it feels like praticing at speed is a qualitatively different rep than practicing slowly.  Certainly haven't mastered slow practice, so maybe this is a cart before the horse question.  Or maybe it's rocking the apple cart some.  Then again, maybe a cart isn't involved at all.

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