Ten Practice Tips for the Time-Poor
In an ever-increasing time-poor society, fitting in the desired amount of practice to improve your golf game, particularly at the driving range and course, becomes a challenge to all levels of player. Having recently gone through the goal setting process with most players for 2009, it is clear that even the tour players can have difficultly making time for integrating practice of their entire golf game, and even more so the ideal amount of psychological skills training.
So, it is no surprise that serious recreational players who are not full-time at the game find it challenging to find time to get to the course or range to practice.
Here are 10 ways that you can practice off the course focussing primarily on the psychological skills, which can assist in your level of competitive play.
Setting goals for your anticipated improvement for the year, your practice for the week, and your golf round focal points are all ways you can assist your mind in becoming more focussed on how you want to do things. There is a considerable amount of evidence that goal setting works. It works for any level of player and takes a minimal amount of time that can be done in the comfort of your own living room!
Plan Your Round
Planning your round in terms of the shots you would like to play can be a sub-30 minute exercise that adds value to your round preparation. The tactical side of golf is something that doesn’t get enough attention. Simply going through the course conditions and then aiming to pick the shots for the course in preparation for your round is an easy way to assist in being armed for the course demands.
Watch Video Footage
Watching video footage that your golf teaching pro has taken of you is a useful learning tool. In a similar way to imagery, watching yourself execute shots can be a helpful way to reinforce what you are trying to do on the course. You can get your teaching professional to video a collection of your shots, in addition to yourself playing on the course.
Practicing your pre-shot routine in the living room or in the back yard is a sure way to dedicate yourself to the discipline of the routines required for optimal competitive performance. Pick a course you know well, perhaps your home course, and play each shot with full pre-shot routine.
Review Your Rounds
Reviewing your competitive rounds assists with the commitment to continual learning about your game. Often players complete a round of golf and then either complain about what did not go their way or simply forget the round completely, dismissing the potential lessons that the round can deliver. If players could develop a way to review the round to pick out the good, the bad, and the plan of attack for future rounds, it may assist with the process of learning and improving.
Practice Your Conscious Breathing
Taking time out to practice your conscious breathing. Golf is a sport that often requires a quiet mind and a steady body. Spending 15 minutes each day on breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing can assist with your ability to voluntarily relax your body and your mind. This is undoubtedly beneficial when faced with the crucial 3-foot putt to take money off your buddies.
Images In Your Mind
Developing the ability to create or recreate images in your mind using your five senses is a tool that can assist with using your existing skills in your own mind. You can imagine images such as yourself practising all of your previously learnt skills, as well as the skills you are learning, yourself bouncing back from mistakes, yourself playing successfully in the past, and yourself achieving some of your future goals. If you couple some breathing to help quieten your mind with imagery this will assist you to focus on the images you decide to create.
Watching professional golf tournaments on television can be a superb contributor to your practice schedule. The footage of tournaments is increasing in value from a mental perspective. You will hear the commentators mention players’ psychological work more frequently, in addition to seeing more of the round outside of the swing execution. This means that you can watch and learn. The way players conduct themselves on the course is a great way to teach yourself how to pace yourself, walk, set up for shots, and how to deal with poor shots.
Review Your Goals
Referring and reviewing to your goals frequently is a must if you are serious about your improvement. Goal setting is useless unless you make a concerted effort to review the goals you have set in order to monitor your progress. Simply going over what you had planned to achieve in the year can assist with getting where you want to go a little faster than letting the year fly by without acknowledgement of whether you are in fact achieving what you want on the course.
Log Your Thoughts
Logging your thoughts is a superb way to maintain self-awareness regarding the language that you use to yourself. It is difficult to have control over negative self-abuse or unproductive thoughts during your game if you find that you are using that style of language in your every day life. Aim to take charge of the content of your thoughts to assist with your thinking on the golf course.
One way is to start logging your thoughts in a similar way to a food diary. This can assist you in identifying areas where you can improve the way that you think.
These are all simple exercises that push you in the direction of enhancing your golf game. Each exercise detailed above is time-conscious and should add a little more preparation for your competitive game even if the visits to the range and course escape your week.
Practice does not always have to been being at the range or course. All of these exercises can be done in your own home or office. The development of a holistic golf game is one that integrates all types of skills practice, and psychological skills training is no exception.
Let’s aim to put your mind into training for improved round performances in 2009.