Variability practice is characterized by trying to achieve a desired end goal in varying ways – typically using subtly varying movement patterns/techniques. For example, you may
Try to hit your target
- High shot
- Low shot
Try to strike the ground in the desired place
- With a forward ball position
- With a neutral ball position
- Hovering the club 6 inches above the ball
Try to hit the sweet spot
- Setting up out of the heel
- Setting up out of the toe
There are many more variations or combinations of variations we can use to push our skill levels.
Just as variations in species allow favorable traits to be selected, practicing movement variability can create favorable skills to emerge.
This type of practice improves your body’s ability to self-correct and adapt. It also improves your ability to find multiple subtle functioning combinations of movement. For example, just as you could put a fork into your mouth in many different ways, variability practice improves your ability to find more ways of getting the ball onto the target (or get the club on the ball effectively). This is essentially one of the idea’s behind the uncontrolled manifold hypothesis.
This type of practice also improves your ability for your brain and body to co-ordinate all of the hundreds of moving parts (joints) into one functional action.
I discuss different practice modes as well as the practical applications for those (along with other motor learning ideas) in “The Practice manual – The Ultimate Guide for Golfers”. Click the above picture to find out more about the book.
In The Strike Plan (click the image below), I also explain how you can use this form of practice to improve your strike quality via the use of drills you can do on the range or at home.