Friday, June 28, 2013

Chicken Soup for Golf

We all know how easy it is to veer off course in our mental focus during practice. If something doesn’t work out, it’s easy to try something else and then something else until too many ideas have been tried in practice session. In addition, many amateurs spend time trying to figure out what went wrong or are given ideas from others on what is going wrong. There are many things that can go wrong in a golf swing – it’s not 100% controllable. Your decisions, your pre-shot routine and your set-up are controllable, but it’s very important to streamline your swing goal into a single feel, move or image that keeps you on task. I’ve been using an analogy to help golfers stay focused on their task during practice and hope it will help you remember to stay on task.

First, imagine you have been given the important task of going to the grocery store to purchase ingredients for chicken soup. What 3 things would you be searching for? Name 3 in your mind right now. Where would you find those items? Next, think of 3 things you wouldn’t put in chicken soup.  Again, take a moment to think of those. I might consider horseradish, gum and cereal. When you go to the store, are you more focused on what you need to put into your recipe or what you don’t need? How long would it take you to go shopping if you kept going down the aisles and checking off the items you don’t need? Wouldn’t it be easier to just stay focused on what you need?

Think about this analogy for your golf practice. If you don’t know what you need, you should work with a golf professional to help you build your recipe. Once you have your ingredients, stay focused on the task at hand. If you start mentally wandering, bring yourself back to the task. After each shot, ask yourself if you did it or not (i.e. Did I have my grip over enough or did I feel the pause at the top of the swing?).  Rate it on a scale of 1-5 (1 is pitiful and 5 is awesome). If you can answer that one specific question every shot, you will have better focus.  Stay on task and I hope both your chicken soup and your golf swing turn out well! 



Friday, June 21, 2013

News from the Summit - 9 (and last!)

Notes from Dr. Paul Schempp, PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit Presentation - A professor and the director of the sport instruction research laboratory at the University of Georgia. Dr. Schempp's message, supported by more than a decade of research into the characteristics and development of expertise, applies to individuals and organizations in business, education, and sport.

If you are passionate enough and willing enough to pay the price, you will get it done. “You can’t think and hit at the same time” (Yogi Berra). Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, be in the precious present moment.

  • Learn about relationships in your game. Love is a decision, not an emotion. Care, be responsible and respect as a player and as a coach. Have a game plan. Be motivated and motivate others.
  • Have a game plan. If you really want to get better, you need a plan. Experts plan 60% or more of the time. Purpose-Goals-Actions-Implement-Evaluate-Adjust. Goals should keep in mind enjoyment, finances, exercise and work.  Experts are much quicker to abandon a plan if it’s not working.
  • Learn what motivates you. Fear and reward are temporary.  SELF MOTIVATION is more permanent. Create an environment in which mastery can be achieved.  Experts motive by showing students what they CAN BE.  Use sport as a vehicle. The students are the passengers. Golf instructors: “I don’t teach golf. I teach people to play golf.”

Notes from an excellent presentation by LPGA Tour Player Stacy Lewis and Coach Joe Hallett

  • It’s normal to start to doubt yourself if you’ve done well and you start hitting a few bad shots.  Talk yourself through step by step. Let your body take over and quiet your mind. Golf shots don’t have to be perfect. They just have to be good enough to get it done.
  • Stacy has the ability to do what she does based on her workouts. She was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 11, has had 5 vertebrae fused and isn’t physically strong enough to do was Joe wanted so they increased her core strength workouts to 6/week. Stacy practiced 6 months of chipping and putting during surgery recovery. 70% of her practice is now short game and putting and course play. She said it doesn’t matter if she can’t do it the course. She also eats enough protein every morning.   
  • Stacy uses AimPoint and went from 88th to 3rd in putting stats on Tour. She knows her reads are correct and works mostly on speed. She also thinks that her putts always have a good chance of going in.   
Stacy says “Golf isn’t everything. You need hobbies. There are highs and lows all over. You need something to get away to and need balance in life. Commit to your craft.”  Not every putt will go in.
  • Joe works to keep players inside their performance patterns knowing they will navigate to their weaknesses. It’s inevitable. Nothing is a fix in golf, it’s about management. Always give a player movement, don’t take movement away or try to stop movement.  Look to complete rather than compete.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Notes from the Summit - 8

Notes from Michael Breed, PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit Presentation on Branding…
-PGA Golf Professional and Golf Channel Instructor

  • How will you brand yourself, even if working as an employee for a company? There are 6.8 billion people in the world. 5.1B have cell phones. 4.2B have toothbrushes, 1.2B use Facebook, 1B have SmartPhones. 91% of adults use Facebook monthly. 98% of adults ages 18-24 use Facebook monthly. How will you get your message across about who you are, what you offer?
  • Think about logo / name (colors, size), bragging about yourself a little, being honest, a tag line, knowing subject matter, clear writing skills, appearance (colors, manners, polished shoes), plans of action (what steps and when, have motion with direction), preservation (links and leverage), 3rd party Recognition (90% trust peer recognition, 14% trust ads).
  • The average person has a 7-second attention span. A goldfish has an 8-second attention span. Limit your message, make it worth it. (He also mentioned that’s one of the reasons he’s so fast-paced on the Show… he can only roam 25 feet  from where he was standing as the average person loses interest in speakers who wander… interesting data on good speaking habits!)

Notes from Speaker Panel with Todd Anderson, Mike Bender, Randy Smith, Chuck Cook and Martin Hall

  • Focus more on ball flight than body parts and mechanics. Use Trackman for fitting and some teaching. Technology is great but can be overwhelming. Don’t lose yourself in the data and small picture. Have balance. Use video carefully. 
  • Use feedback and exaggeration. Work with training stations.
  • If there isn’t any power to develop (no chance at increasing distance), work a lot on short game.  Justin Leonard is 100-125 less on than other on driving distance but still won some big events with his short game.
  • No re-building. Use what a person has and can do. Great players will make mistakes. Keep it simple. Worst mistake is to make a reclamation on the Tuesday before the U.S. Open.
  • Todd Anderson’s Drill: Play for a Wedge Score, a Regular Score and a Short Game Score.
  • Mike Bender’s Drill: To stop a slice, move the impact bag out to the right (for a right-handed golfer).
  • Randy Smith’s Drill:  To stop chicken wings, play ball in the front of the stance and make divots.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Notes from the Summit - 7

Notes from Dr. Stephen Norris PGA Teaching & Coaching Summit
- The director of sport physiology & strategic planning at the Canadian Sport Centre Calgary, Norris is a consultant for Canada's Winter Olympic sports teams. He also is an adjunct assistant professor of applied physiology within the Human Performance Laboratory (HPL) at the University of Calgary. In addition to his working with several national sports teams, Norris teaches and supervises graduate students specializing in applied physiology and sport science.

  • Neural peaks @ ages 10-15. Expose kids to as many stimuli as possible that include pressure sensitivity, weight transfer (explain vs. sensation of doing), rhythm, Music/Dance.  
  • Hormonal development  affects muscle mass and growth spurts. Be very careful with kids doing conditioning and strength training.  
  • Girls peak between ages 13-16 and boys 14-18. Ages 12-16 need activity. Continue working with loading forces (brittle bones, fracture periods, check on bone mineral density).  
  • Ages 5-8 require movement skills, rhythm, running, kicking, jumping.  
  • Ages 10-18 need to be patient and understand the process.
  • Kids need to understand and develop physical literacy. Interacting with the ground (golf), water (in, on, unstable surfaces), snow/ice (skateboard), air (moving through space, torso rotation, how body is linked). 
     Gave example of Damian Walters and how many golfers want to be able to do this is the golf world without the training. What kind of training is required to produce what we want?
  • Practice is relentless.
  • A 6 year old is not half of a 12 year old. Growth is not linear. Time on a task: spend 1 hour to get 2 hours in competition. Be careful of use. Work hard vs. just being good. Play work other activities and don’t just focus on one.
  • Improve by Design, not by Chance. Get totally comfortable with environment. Challenge the norm.  Relentless, purposeful practice while having fun. Excellence is an achieved by training and habituation. High performance, world class, world leading.    
  • What do you need to do to achieve a consistency of performance?  Perform under pressure, deliver results. Lay down expectation. Perform on demand anytime, any place, any condition. No 2nd chances.