Winter Training (Part 3)
By Snyper on 1/18/11
Matt is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. His column will appear each Monday on ClubSG. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.
Over the last two weeks, I've discussed different things to do over the winter to ensure that your game improves in the upcoming season. I started by suggesting that you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your game (PART 1, PART 2). After you've conducted your assessment, you need to put together a plan to improve on a few of your weaknesses. That brings us to the third and final step to improving your game over the winter.
My final suggestion for improving during a season that prevents you from playing is to establish a method of evaluating and analyzing your progress when you can finally get back outside and start swinging the clubs. Following a good plan will yield positive results, but you have to be able to assess whether or not you are achieving the goals that determined your plan. When I originally talked about establishing goals, I mentioned that they should be easily measurable. The main reason for that was so that you can complete this final phase of the process.
This process can quickly become too cumbersome and serve more as a distraction than an aide to your game. So, keep your records as simple as possible.
To best know if your plan is working as you progress throughout the season, you have to be able to look at your results from each round. This process can quickly become too cumbersome and serve more as a distraction than an aide to your game. So, keep your records as simple as possible. For example, if you have a set number of greens in regulation as one of your goals, you need to find a quick and easy way to track this statistic during each and every round. Something easy like placing a checkmark beside the hole number if you hit the green or circling the hole numbers of the greens that you hit is the best way to go. This takes very little time and effort but allows you to instantly analyze your performance after a round. While those suggestions aren’t exactly rocket science, the simplicity is key to the success of the entire process. Even simple methods of record keeping can become a roadblock if you try to keep track of too much information. You don’t want your scorecard to look like the wall of an ancient Mayan ruin. It should not take you 20 minutes to total all of your stats after the round, because when the process gets that involved, you will simply stop doing it. So, develop a quick and easy way to keep track of the statistics that are relevant to the areas of your game that you are working to improve.
Keep your goals simple and realistic. This will help you to develop a plan that is easy for you to follow once the weather finally allows for you to return to the links.
Once you have determined how to best record the necessary information, you have to establish a way to analyze your results. If, for example, you are trying to keep your number of putts per round below 32, you shouldn’t count every round of 33 putts as a failure. You should have benchmarks to aim for over the course of the season. If you play a lot of golf, you may want to consider comparing your number of putts on a weekly basis. If you only get out once or twice a week, perhaps monthly stats are a better way to go. However often you decide, you need to be able to make comparisons and track your progress over the course of the season. Analyzing your results on a regular schedule allows you to know if you need to make changes to your plan. If you look back on the last three weeks and you see no improvement, you will know that it is time to make a change like increasing your practice time. It is important that you stay in tune to your success or failure along the way so that you stay focused on your goals. This will help to maintain and even increase your motivation to improve.
When you live in a area where the climate prohibits you from playing golf for a couple months out of the year, it is very easy to use that as an excuse for not working on your game. However, there are some simple things that you can do without ever touching your clubs that will make your next season better than your last. Take a look at your game in the season past and decide what skills you need to improve to enjoy the game even more in the future. Keep your goals simple and realistic. This will help you to develop a plan that is easy for you to follow once the weather finally allows for you to return to the links. And, lastly, determine how you are going to track your progress during the season. Set benchmarks for yourself and be sure to consistently review how well your plan is working. If need be, make the necessary adjustments to ensure your success. Taking the time during the winter to determine your plan of attack for improving your game when the warm weather finally returns will go a long way towards a more enjoyable summer of golf.
* Matt's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.
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