Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Random Practice versus Repetitive Practice Thoughts with Mike Hebron

Here's golf instructor, Mike Hebron, discussing why random practice is more valuable than repetitive practice.

The common complaint I hear from instructors is that their students believe that one simple lesson should fix their problems and that they feel like they don't have to practice.

I think it's a valid complaint, but at the end of the day all of the validity of the complaint equates to is that golfers still feel like they don't have to practice and wonder why they don't get any better and blame the instructor.

I think part of the issue is that for many golfers, going to the range to practice is like doing sit-ups to work on your abs.  It's not a very fun exercise.  For the golf instructor, they come from a different background and if they had the time to do so, they would likely love to be able to practice on the driving range. So, there's a disconnect between the instructor and the student.

I think the larger culprit of all of this is that too many instructors utilize poor practice methodologies themselves.  It consists of hitting a lot of balls and making no progress or progress that takes a long, long time to make.  Or the golfer makes some significant progress, but cannot sustain the changes with any type of permanence.

Another issue is when the golfer starts to make progress on the range, they then have to carry over to the golf course.  This is a struggle because now you have new challenges in the way. 

In the backwards trick bicycle video (below), they describe when the author was learning to ride the bike that if something got in his way like a pot hole, pedestrian or somebody honking their horn, it would throw him off.

This is similar to the issues that golfers who start to learn on the range that end up struggling on the golf course. You now have a defined target, wind is a factor and the lie changes (you not only have good and bad lies, but sidehill and uphill/downhill lies). Those are like 'potholes' for golfers.

The point being is that I think instructors and golfers tend to spend too much focus on mechanics.  Don't get me wrong, the mechanics of a golf swing are very important.  But, it doesn't matter what mechanics you use, how they are taught and what technological tools you have to analyze them, it's all for not if the student cannot implement those mechanics and take them to the golf course. 

In reality, I think if a student is able to implement and take to the course the mechanics prescribed by an instructor, they will be effective on the course for most teaching philosophies.  So whether it is TGM, Monte Scheinblum, Chris Como, Stack and Tilt, M.O.R.A.D., Kelvin Miyahira, etc...if implemented as prescribed by the instructor, they are likely to work pretty well.  The difference is more likely to be along the lines of the power generated and the ball flight produced from each philosophy.

So, why not pay more attention to learning how to acquire those movement patterns and having the psychology to translate them to the golf course?


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