So you want to get better at golf? You want to make a change to your golf swing, or change how your club impacts the ball?
Let’s face the facts – change is tough. I’m sure you have experienced where you are trying to make a new movement, but you just can’t seem to do it. There can be many reasons for this (physical limitations can play a big part). But I am going to discuss here one of the most common issues which can be easily overcome.
“I can do it in my practice swing”
Often times, someone can do something in their practice swing, but their old swing comes back the moment a ball is put in front of them; they are like Jekyll and Hyde. As an example;
You are trying to strike the ground in a certain place (hopefully making a divot which starts where the ball rests, or slightly in front of the ball). You make 5 practice swings, and each of them strikes the correct area. Yet, you put a ball there, and the club strikes 8 inches behind the ball.
So, what is going on here?
Is that ball like Dr Jekyll’s potion? Transforming you into some kind of monster?
It’s not a technique issue – you just demonstrated the correct technique during the practice swing.
It can’t be a physical or a co-ordination issue either – you just demonstrated both the physical ability to do it and the co-ordination to do it.
“I can’t do it”
Often, the person may state “I just can’t do it”. I call bulls*$t. You can hit the ground wherever you want. You want to hit 3 inches further forward than you normally do? You CAN do it. Hell, you can even hit 300 yards in front of the ball if you so desire – just go and walk 300 yards forwards and strike the ground there.
See what I am saying?
So what is the block then, if it is not a lack of physical ability to do it? Think about your thought processes during these scenarios. During the practice swing, your mind is focused on the movement itself, or the goal (to brush the ground in a certain place). But what does your mind automatically shift to with a ball in front of you?
That’s right – your goal has essentially shifted. With a ball there, your goal changes to “let’s hit a good shot now”, or “I hope this is a good shot”.
If your ‘need’ to hit a good shot outweighs your need to change your movement, you will achieve neither”
That’s right. If you are trying to hit a good shot AND change your movement, you will likely hit a poor shot (because you will disturb your old pattern) without actually creating the new desired pattern. The worst of both worlds.
What can we do?
Believe it or not, you can easily achieve a new movement, even with a ball there. All you have to do is get rid of ‘The Fear’.
What if, just for 10 balls or so, the result of the shot didn’t matter at all? What if you allowed yourself to make the biggest possible mistake and be fine with it? What would that movement look like?
Take another minute to mull that over.
What if you were even to encourage the complete opposite mistake through differential practice (click the article at the bottom to learn more), such as going clean over the top of the ball and striking the ground half a foot in front of it? Do you think you would open up the possibility of finding the middle ground then?
Make learning easier, for you AND your coach
So, when you are having lessons with your instructor, make sure to understand this message. It will make the process of change for yourself much quicker, and it will make the work between you and your professional much more efficient.
Believe it or not, your instructor cares much less about the result of the shot (when specifically making a movement change), and more about whether you are actually making a change in the right direction.
This is not to say that you can’t get a good result with a movement change, but that you may never make the change if you are so pre-occupied with the result/fearful of making a poor shot”
Don’t get me wrong – I have been through the process of change enough times in my own development to know it is easier said than done. But, by understanding this above message, the process of change for me is now so much easier – I can mould my swing into almost whatever shape I wish, or achieve a different impact at the flip of a mental switch.
You too can speed up your achievement of a desired change by just dedicating a little time – maybe even just 10 balls – to saying;
For the next (X amount of time), I will dedicate myself solely to making my desired change, without any fear or judgment based on the result of that movement
Welcome to the world of expedited learning.
Speed up your learning by getting rid of fear.
If you enjoyed this article, feel free to click on the links in the sidebar to share with your Facebook buddies, or join my twitter or Facebook page. And if you want to learn more about training techniques designed to speed up the learning process, as well as what to learn and when to learn it, check out “The Practice Manual – The Ultimate Guide for Golfers” by clicking the link below.
Also, learn more about improving your strike quality with The Strike Plan. I show specific exercises, concepts and techniques to allow you to quickly improve the most important part of your golf game. Click the link below to learn more about the program.