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It's clear that the quality of the balls that you hit in a practice session don't reflect the amount of actual learning that takes place from that practice. To see if you are actually learning, here's a simple, but very effective, strategy that I have used with students to monitor their progress. The goal is to have the first few balls improve over time. If you are working on the same drills for a month and not seeing direct progress to how quickly it takes you to feel ready or "warmed up", then I would suggest that either the drill you are trying isn't right for your game right now, or you are missing a key detail to the drill. If you are actually learning some new movements, the quality of your first few balls will tend to reflect the ingrained pattern. On the other hand, when you start off poorly, but then gain quality throughout the practice session, it is typically just timing that has improved, not the actual pattern of the movement.
Tags: Practice Strategies, Mental Game, Intermediate
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This video is trained for the warm-up.
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Now, there's kind of a hot topic in golf and motor learning,
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where it's trying to distinguish between improved performance versus actual learning.
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Well, one of the ways that I coach my golfers is to always be training for the warm-up,
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which means if I go through a practice session and I'm hitting a bunch of balls
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and I'm doing blocked and I'm doing games and random and tests and all these different things,
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but then I come to the golf course, maybe not just the next lesson or the next round or the next practice session,
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but if each time I come to the golf course, my warm-up isn't getting progressively better.
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Then it shows that I'm not really learning a whole lot.
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It shows that I can design a drill where I get short-term performance benefits,
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but it doesn't lead to that long-term learning, which is ultimately our goal.
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The reason we want to use the warm-up is because, basically, when I get there,
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those first five or six swings are really going to reveal what is my pattern.
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It's going to reveal what I'm trying to do with the golf club.
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Before I find these, the rhythm that gives me the success for whatever pattern I'm currently swinging.
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So, if you're doing the drills and working on your pattern,
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and the first few balls aren't getting better,
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it's basically showing that, yes, the drills may be helping you play better that day,
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but for the long-term effect, you want to make sure that the warm-up is taking less and less for you
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to feel comfortable and that your first few shots in any given practice session are getting that much better.
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So, that's one of the arguments against doing really long practice sessions.
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If you have the time, it is much better to do shorter, more frequent practice sessions
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because it's essentially like having four or five warm-ups as opposed to just having the one.
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So, one piece of advice that I'll give to a lot of my students is you can go hit full swings for 20, 30 minutes
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and then go work on putting and then come back to full swing.
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It's almost like having a new starting point and you have to go through that warm-up again
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so you get to see what the brain actually took away from all the drills and all the games that you were trying to train.