“Dad, Dad, look! Look what I can do.”
Kid tries to do something – fails.
“Wait, let me try again.”
Kid fails again
“That’s nice Jimmy” – Father looks away.
“Aww, you missed me do it”
We have all been that kid, and some of us still are – able to do something amazingly well when it doesn’t matter, but crumble like a house of cards when it counts the most. While there are many reasons for this, there is one thing you can do to improve your ability under pressure – practice under pressure.
We may never be able to simulate on-course pressure 100%, but we can get closer to it. While most people are beating balls aimlessly into a field called a driving range, try this simple addition to your practice to improve its effectiveness.
Remember, diamonds were created by being under high pressure
Next time you are at the range, pick a target at the left side of the range and a target at the right side of the range. Make sure the target is between 20 and 30 yards wide.
Hit one ball to the left target with a 7 iron. Next, switch to a 5 iron and hit to the right side target. Keep alternating in this fashion, doing your full on-course routine for each shot.
See how many in a row you can rack up without missing your target. Write it down – try and beat it.
Simple but effective
This isn’t ground breaking stuff, yet the vast majority of golfers don’t practice with these simple to implement ideas. But by doing the above game, you will be
- Conducting Random Practice
- Quantifying your practice
- More likely to use a similar focus of attention as on the golf course
- Inducing more pressure
Certainly more pressure than if you were just aimlessly whacking your 7 iron towards nothing in particular. All of the above will improve your ability to transfer your practice to the golf course under pressure, when it counts.
And, as you continue to do this exercise, the pressure will just continue to increase. As you get closer to your session record, or week or even all-time record, you will start to notice a subtle shift in your mindset which is similar to what happens under pressure on the course.
Add a partner
One way to dramatically increase the amount of pressure is to practice with a friend. Just make sure you keep it amicable.
Rather than both standing in separate bays hitting balls, take it in turns in a ‘winner stays on’ fashion. If you want to increase the pressure further, add a little wager to it. When I was a junior, we used to play putting competitions for our food money – no wonder I was such a thin teenager 🙂
I guarantee that this small tweak to your practice will yield exceptional results for you.
I discuss much more advanced ways of improving your practice in my book “The Practice Manual”, available from amazon. Learn more about the book by clicking the link below, and join the thousands of golfers who are now practicing more effectively and playing better golf.