PRACTICE LIKE A Ph.D., PLAY LIKE A FIRST GRADER
By Greg Schulze
Do you fear taking golf lessons? Do you believe that the professional will overload you with information? Do you think that you will have to stop playing while taking lessons or that your game will get worse before it gets better? These are all fallacies and should not cause you trepidation.
What is the first step in improving at any skill? CLARITY of what’s relevant! Without this valuable step, you will witness some occasional positive results, but golf is not about positive results, it’s about repeating positive results and understanding their cause and effects. What’s your plan to create this repetition? Each of your practice sessions should have a goal of increasing your clarity and understanding of cause or effect, regardless of the ball flight. Your golf professional will assist in speeding up the process. Don’t fear new ideas, swing concepts or ways of practice; remember if you were satisfied with your current style and results, you wouldn’t need the golf lesson in the first place!
For consistent development, golfers need to be a bit schizophrenic, building the ability of practicing very differently than as you play, and you don’t have to be a professional golfer, or even a good one, to adopt this attitude. If you are tired of the delay in your progress, if you think that your scores should be lower by now, you need to learn to “practice like a Ph.D. and play like a first grader”.
When you decide to practice, do it to heighten your awareness of small areas of your development/technique. You must become an amateur scientist during practice. Details are GOOD, technical expressions and concepts are GOOD as long as four conditions exist: The information is VALID for your physique, you can PERSONALIZE what’s being suggested, you ACCEPT in what’s being suggested, and you are WILLING to devote appropriate practice time to focus on needed changes. Most amateurs make the mistake of reversing this model, they “goof around” while practicing and then try to “think or figure it out” while playing… backward logic.
When its time to play, play like a first grader, HAVE FUN. Do not allow your practice and technical thoughts interfere with sending the golf ball towards your target in the least number of strokes, because that’s all golf is! If you are not satisfied with your score, get with your favorite PGA or LPGA Professional and repeat the “PhD. – first-grader cycle.” It’s the only way towards lasting improvement!
Practice like a Ph.D., Play like a first grader.