Canadian Fade - Play, Practice, Enjoy



Situation Specific Practice

Every so often we see really incredible plays from various sports, whether it is a great catch such as this video of Odell Beckham Jr or a great goal, awesome shot, cool move etc .. and it leaves us wondering, how did they do that?.

While these plays are awe inspiring they often speak more to the level of commitment and preparation of the player then they do to pure athleticism.

The videos below show that Beckham's catch was indeed incredible but it was no fluke.  It was the product of specifically focused practice.

The Catch

The Preparation

 

We can learn from this and adjust our practice habits accordingly.  Too often in golf practice sessions consists of hitting balls from good lies to unobstructed targets with little time spent on the specialty shots, difficult shots, shots more indicative on what we are going to be called upon to play on the golf course.

Author of the book "Talent Code", Daniel Coyle refers to this as High Leveraged Practice.

As described by Coyle, High-leverage practice shares a few common characteristics:

  1. 1) It’s focused. You aren’t pre-creating the entire game, but only targeted situations.
  2. 2) It’s often untraditional. It doesn’t tend to fall into the list of conventional practice techniques, and as such, is easy to marginalize or overlook.
  3. 3) It’s habitual. High-leverage skills aren’t built in a few specialized sessions; they are built over time, through repetition and routine.

 

So the next time you see an unbelievable golf shot played by Rory, Tiger, Phil ....  rest assured that it was no accident.  Chances are they have envisioned that shot before, anticipated it and practiced it.  That imagination and commitment to improving their game is the real magic.

 

Here is another example of "High Level Practice" that I love

Patrick Kane

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Putt To The Coin

Putt to The Coin

Everybody loves to step up to the tee and just bomb a drive that flies high and far or hit that perfect iron shot, you know the one that is struck so squarely right on the sweet spot that you don’t even feel it. But the truth is when it comes to capitalizing on those nice shots you need to be able to get the ball in the hole. Nothing can derail a round quicker or is more frustrating than routinely missing short putts. Golf Drill - Putt to the Coin

I am a firm believer that speed control is the most important factor when it comes to good putting. Using the “Putt To The Coin” drill is a great way to get the feel for hitting your putts the correct speed and to free yourself up from being so locked in on the line when you are over short putts.

To get started find an old cup hole on the practice green. You want to use an old cup as opposed to an actual cup because you want your ball to roll over the old cup mark so you can get feedback as to how far past the hole you are rolling your putts. Place a coin 18 inches behind the old hole mark. Why 18 inches? It has been determined that the perfect speed to roll a putt is one that would finish 18 inches past the cup. This speed allows putts that are a bit off line to “lip in”; while it is still firm enough that the putt will not be affected by imperfection in the green. Then place a tee on each side of the cup about half a ball width from the lip. (see pic 1) We are placing the tees down because if you learn to roll your putts at the optimum speed you have effectively increased the size of the cup because you will get the benefit of your putts “lipping in” as opposed to “lipping out”. The tees now represent the width of the cup for putts struck at the optimum speed. This will give you more confidence over short putts because you now have a bigger target.

You are now all set to start working on making more of those knee knocking 3 to 6 footers. Your goal with this drill is roll putts to the coin placed behind the cup. Your focus should be on getting the right speed, let the line take care of it self. Putts coming up short of the coin where not stroked hard enough, while putts going past the coin where too firm. You will quickly discover your tendency.

All great putters have one thing in common, superior distance control. Using this drill to help you improve your distance control will not only help you make more short putts it will transfer over and help with long putts and lag putting.

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You May Need Punished

One of the challenges that you have to overcome when you are practicing or learning a new golf skill is getting reliable feedback.Very often what we feel we are doing in our golf swing is not reality. Without the luxury of an instructor watching your every swing or video recording your every practice session, all you have to rely on for feedback is what your body sees and feels and unfortunately that information can be very unreliable.  A valuable tool is a good training aid that provides instant feedback.I want to introduce you to one of the best and one of the simplest that can help you improve your chipping.

Most golfers who struggle with their chipping do so because they “scoop” or “flip” the club through the impact zone making their contact very inconsistent.  They end up hitting some chips “fat” then “thinning” the next few and every once in a while they get lucky and hit a good shot.

One of the best training tools to help eliminate any scooping motion is affectionately referred to as the ‘Punisher”.The Punisher is a great teaching aid because it instant and effective feedback.The Punisher is simply an extended club and when used during a practice session it forces you to chip with proper mechanics, if not used properly it punishes you.Golf Drill - Punisher Club

I built my own Punisher by taking an old shaft and inserting in into the end of a 7 iron that I practice chipping with, effectively making the 7 iron about five feet long.The extra length of the club is what allows this training aid to provide you with instant feedback when chipping. If you don’t maintain a flat left wrist through impact, if you “flip” at the ball or if you “scoop” as opposed to strike, the butt end of the Punisher will get your attention by smacking up against your side and your ribs.

I’m sure most of you don’t have a Punisher club lying around in your garage so in the mean time you can just use two clubs, holding one shaft against the other and get the same effect. When you practice your chipping with the extended club make sure that you keep your hands ahead of the clubhead through impact, don’t let the butt end of the Punisher hit you in the side.

The Punisher is a simple, inexpensive tool that will help you quickly get rid of any scooping or flipping that you may have in your chips. Give it a try the next time you practice your chip shots.

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