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

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Even in other sports simple, specific, slow, short practice is successful. Liam McCullough is an Ohio State football prospect entering in 2015. He was recruited as a long snapper. Yes, Ohio State is that arrogant they would use a scholarship on a long snapper.  :)

This is his response to being ask what is a typical practice for a long snapper.

A simple 30 minutes a day gets you a division I scholarship as a long snapper.

Practice correctly to get big gains.

Yes, 30 minutes a day LONG SNAPPING - then 2 hours a day in the weight room getting to 290 pounds so you don't get destroyed after the ball leaves your hands ;-) Let's not leave the impression that a full ride to The Ohio State U. is attainable to any old 175 pound high school senior! I get your point, though.

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Yes, 30 minutes a day LONG SNAPPING - then 2 hours a day in the weight room getting to 290 pounds so you don't get destroyed after the ball leaves your hands  Let's not leave the impression that a full ride to The Ohio State U. is attainable to any old 175 pound high school senior! I get your point, though.

He wont touch 290 lbs ;-)

The two LS on the team weight 230 lbs. The reason being is it is Illegal for a defensive player to hit the Long Snapper. Since they are concentrating on snapping and not on blocking they are basically no prepared to get blasted. No one is willing to time when you are allowed to hit them versus maybe jumping that gap to block a punt up the middle or get a penalty.

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He wont touch 290 lbs

The two LS on the team weight 230 lbs. The reason being is it is Illegal for a defensive player to hit the Long Snapper. Since they are concentrating on snapping and not on blocking they are basically no prepared to get blasted. No one is willing to time when you are allowed to hit them versus maybe jumping that gap to block a punt up the middle or get a penalty.

Damn, my bad. I was a long snapper in HS and gave it up because I hated to get blasted with my head down after the snap. OT/DE were more fun. I just figured an OSU guy would need to be close to an O lineman size. Maybe the NCAA rules were different (or enforced) from those in my HS division. Thanks for setting me straight!

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I want to ask a question about my range routine, and how it relates to this. After this morning's range visit, though, I spent the ride to work wondering if I am doing the range work correctly. First, I'm getting better about going slow in terms of balls per minute. I used to be good for the first 2-3 balls, and would then stop with practice swings. But a question did come to mind while reading @Golfingdad 's recent practice notes in his "my swing" thread, particularly seeing how slow and repeated his downswing motions are. My most recent lesson has me working on some items at setup, one item at A4 as the moving priority piece (my words, not his), and a check point at A3 that I used to be good at, but had slipped a bit in my last video. So, my pre-shot routine -- again, at the range; I won't do anything like this on the course -- is to set up to the ball, swing to A2 slowly, then to A3, then check what I need to check. Then I step away from the ball, set up to another spot on the mat, swing slowly to A2, to A3, and to A4, checking the priority piece. Then I swing through, although at normal pace. Then I set up again, slowly to A2, A3, A4, check, swing through. If I like the last two, I set up to the ball, swing back slowly, then through at normal pace. (at the course, I'll probably do a few backswing pieces to check that I get where I want to on A4, albeit not as slowly as I do when practicing, then swing through and then go hit, because I like to play without delay) So I guess I'm asking: is it okay to do the downswing at normal pace as long as the piece I'm working on is in the backswing? I see Drew going slow, and even rewinding, on the downswing, but (I'm pretty sure) he's working on something I'm not working on, and I think someone said his priority piece is some aspect of the downswing (and thus he needs to get to that part at a controlled pace so he can change it). I see Erik commenting in the first of the thread that he hits at a slow pace when practicing, not at full distance, and so on. Or should I strive to make my downswing slower too, while practicing? (And here I was thinking I was making progress on the Stupid Monkey, only to spend the better part of the day wondering if I was even practicing right)

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I want to ask a question about my range routine, and how it relates to this. After this morning's range visit, though, I spent the ride to work wondering if I am doing the range work correctly. First, I'm getting better about going slow in terms of balls per minute. I used to be good for the first 2-3 balls, and would then stop with practice swings. But a question did come to mind while reading @Golfingdad 's recent practice notes in his "my swing" thread, particularly seeing how slow and repeated his downswing motions are. My most recent lesson has me working on some items at setup, one item at A4 as the moving priority piece (my words, not his), and a check point at A3 that I used to be good at, but had slipped a bit in my last video. So, my pre-shot routine -- again, at the range; I won't do anything like this on the course -- is to set up to the ball, swing to A2 slowly, then to A3, then check what I need to check. Then I step away from the ball, set up to another spot on the mat, swing slowly to A2, to A3, and to A4, checking the priority piece. Then I swing through, although at normal pace. Then I set up again, slowly to A2, A3, A4, check, swing through. If I like the last two, I set up to the ball, swing back slowly, then through at normal pace. (at the course, I'll probably do a few backswing pieces to check that I get where I want to on A4, albeit not as slowly as I do when practicing, then swing through and then go hit, because I like to play without delay) So I guess I'm asking: is it okay to do the downswing at normal pace as long as the piece I'm working on is in the backswing? I see Drew going slow, and even rewinding, on the downswing, but (I'm pretty sure) he's working on something I'm not working on, and I think someone said his priority piece is some aspect of the downswing (and thus he needs to get to that part at a controlled pace so he can change it). I see Erik commenting in the first of the thread that he hits at a slow pace when practicing, not at full distance, and so on. Or should I strive to make my downswing slower too, while practicing? (And here I was thinking I was making progress on the Stupid Monkey, only to spend the better part of the day wondering if I was even practicing right)

There is no need to slow down the downswing IF you are changing the picture on the priority piece. I like to go as slow as necessary to get it right 60-80% of the time. Once I can do it at that speed 90% of the time I will increase the speed a bit to get back to 60-80% success rate. I always strive to work at the edge of my ability. However if you are not using a camera or mirror or some training aid to get feedback on whether you are doing the new piece right you will not progress much at all. You have to know right away if you did it right in order for your brain to relearn.

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I just wanted to add this, as it's important and I think often lost in the ideas here…

The "Success" part of this is often overlooked. We titled a chapter in Lowest Score Wins "Small Successes" because it's important to have success when practicing. The point of practice is not to fail. It's to change the picture, hit decent shots, and be positive. If you have to do that at 20% speed, then do it at 20% speed.

A practice session full of failure is worse than bad - it can set you back, destroy your confidence, and make you doubt your work and goals.

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A practice session full of failure is worse than bad - it can set you back, destroy your confidence, and make you doubt your work and goals.

Totally. I refuse to leave practice session until I make good contact again and feel ok about my progress. Sometimes this means just clearing my mind, letting go of what I was working on, and taking small half swings and feeling good solid contact again.

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Totally. I refuse to leave practice session until I make good contact again and feel ok about my progress. Sometimes this means just clearing my mind, letting go of what I was working on, and taking small half swings and feeling good solid contact again.

If you own LSW, give that chapter another read through. Success doesn't necessarily mean hitting solid shots. You can have success hitting fat and thin shots as long as you stick with your piece and change the picture.

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If you own LSW, give that chapter another read through. Success doesn't necessarily mean hitting solid shots. You can have success hitting fat and thin shots as long as you stick with your piece and change the picture.

I do, and will reread it (wish it was on Kindle!).

I agree. Thinking about it, there have been times recently when I will leave the range knowing that I changed the picture a little, and have accepted that as progress - even though the ball striking was poor.

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I just wanted to add this, as it's important and I think often lost in the ideas here…

The "Success" part of this is often overlooked. We titled a chapter in Lowest Score Wins "Small Successes" because it's important to have success when practicing. The point of practice is not to fail. It's to change the picture, hit decent shots, and be positive. If you have to do that at 20% speed, then do it at 20% speed.

A practice session full of failure is worse than bad - it can set you back, destroy your confidence, and make you doubt your work and goals.

I agree and not... let me explain. The aim of the practise is to ingrain a new movement position in order to improve your swing. This is requires repetition and patience... a lot. So you have to make an exercise, but maybe the results in the first sessions are dramatic... Sometimes I feel like I´m not making any progress when I´m at the range. Maybe I´m doing something wrong...

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I agree and not... let me explain. The aim of the practise is to ingrain a new movement position in order to improve your swing. This is requires repetition and patience... a lot. So you have to make an exercise, but maybe the results in the first sessions are dramatic... Sometimes I feel like I´m not making any progress when I´m at the range. Maybe I´m doing something wrong...


You may be. You may not be making the "small successes."

The point of that post is to have small successes, which means doing something slowly, short, specific, etc. to the point where you know you've achieved it. If you have to, say, change the way the left knee flexes and extends during the downswing, but you can't do it at 100% speed, you might eventually get there practicing at 100% speed. You'll have a success rate of maybe 1%. A month later maybe you're at 3%. Or just 1.3%. Or 0% because you've moved on to something else.

But if you slow down and focus on it at a speed you can have success, you'll have 50-95% success at slower speeds, and you'll quickly be able to ramp that up to where you're having 90% at 80% speeds (and when you play, at 100%, maybe 40% success), and then 90% at 90% speed, and then 90% at 100% speed, and then… you've acquired that skill: nearly 100% success at 100% speed.

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You may be. You may not be making the "small successes."

The point of that post is to have small successes, which means doing something slowly, short, specific, etc. to the point where you know you've achieved it. If you have to, say, change the way the left knee flexes and extends during the downswing, but you can't do it at 100% speed, you might eventually get there practicing at 100% speed. You'll have a success rate of maybe 1%. A month later maybe you're at 3%. Or just 1.3%. Or 0% because you've moved on to something else.

But if you slow down and focus on it at a speed you can have success, you'll have 50-95% success at slower speeds, and you'll quickly be able to ramp that up to where you're having 90% at 80% speeds (and when you play, at 100%, maybe 40% success), and then 90% at 90% speed, and then 90% at 100% speed, and then… you've acquired that skill: nearly 100% success at 100% speed.

This makes sense!

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I agree and not... let me explain. The aim of the practise is to ingrain a new movement position in order to improve your swing. This is requires repetition and patience... a lot. So you have to make an exercise, but maybe the results in the first sessions are dramatic... Sometimes I feel like I´m not making any progress when I´m at the range. Maybe I´m doing something wrong...

Are you goal oriented or process oriented. This is why mirror work, video work, or working with a good instructor is so important.

You want to be more process oriented. Embrace that you are not going to hit consistent shots all the time when making a swing change. Basically you are not practicing to hits shots for the course.  You are practicing to change your swing. There is a big difference here.

If you are practicing towards the right thing then the end result is a better swing then you once had. So you should see better results when you finally ramp things up to full swing for the course. Clubface control is more instinctive than you think.

I think golfers can get to caught up in what the ball does instead of what they need to do to improve their swing. A lot of times they do not go hand in hand when practicing.

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Do you have a preference for what clubs to use when practicing specific movements?  Sure I can make small movements and work on a specific movement and hit a sand wedge ok, but would it be better do do this with longer clubs that are harder to hit?

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Do you have a preference for what clubs to use when practicing specific movements?  Sure I can make small movements and work on a specific movement and hit a sand wedge ok, but would it be better do do this with longer clubs that are harder to hit?


I start with PW, then move up when it "feels good enough". The "good enough" is to reduce the chances of gross mishits next club up. LW or SW might be too shallow and be harder to hit than the PW? I find it harder to hit the extremely shallow ones while warming up. Sometimes I start off with a 9i, but it usually takes me an hour or so to get to my longer clubs like my 6i.

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I'm all over this as from tomorrow. I practice quite a lot but don't take my time like I know I should. I have shot some of my lowest scores (consecutively) over the past couple of weeks and then out of nowhere everything disappears and after a week or so I then find myself struggling even to make half decent contact with the ball. Because my practice isn't, sorry, WASNT taken with too much thought, would it be likely that I end up just falling back into old habits again? I know a good swing is in there, I just can't seem to get it out for longer than a week!

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