Practice Like You Play

Practice Like You Play

Instead of reinventing your swing each time you practice, why not organize your sessions, which are a closer match to the way you play. It makes good sense doesn’t it, to simulate on the range, the process you intend to use, for each shot on the course.

Hall of Fame coach, Bill Walsh, called it, contingency practice. Adding that if a team – for us it’s a player – is ever surprised in competition they (he) are (is) not prepared. Typically, what we see on the range is a player – this could be you – with a bucket of balls hitting 30 seven irons, or drivers (as many men like to do), in a row. This is blocked practice that can help in the learning of a skill and usually means; “I’m working on my swing.”  But more often than not, it’s nothing more than preparation for the seven-iron tournament to be held later that day.

On the other hand, during random and variable, simulated practice session, swing repetitions alternate among new targets, different clubs, or  different strategies for each shot. Next, change distance and direction with each part swing wedge shot. In this way you’re locking in distance control for those 5 par lays ups and the important up and downs needed after getting out of trouble. If you’re advanced enough try the Nine-Ball challenge drill. It’s nine shot combinations chosen from low, medium, high, fade and draw. Use your full pre-shot routine each time, and make no repeats just like it is during competition.

Performance during practices like this might decline – there are no repeats and you’ll miss some shots – but simulating on course situations in practice will improve your performance during play. Because for every swing there is a new solution, simulated, contingency practice will increase your capability of responding to a variety of novel situations during competition. And that means your scores will be lower and your enjoyment will be higher.

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