Earlier today I went to the driving range to work on my golf swing and having finished my drills felt that it had been a pretty poor session. I was certain that it had not been as good as my previous session two weeks ago. However when I sat and reviewed my performance and compared it to the one from two weeks ago, my mood changed. Whilst my ball striking still clearly needs work, I had actually hit more ‘good’ shots than I had fourteen days earlier. Rather than walking away feeling frustrated I actually had a spring in my step as I left the range.
As I drove home I decided that today’s blog should be about the importance of practicing with a plan. If I had not gone to the range with one today I would’ve left feeling annoyed that my golf was not improving. However because I had practiced with a plan and recorded every shot I left feeling that a small amount of progress had been made.
As I have said in a previous post I am determined to lower my handicap this year and that is only going to happen if I improve my swing consistency. In the past I have been guilty of going to the range, hitting a load of balls and assuming that I was getting better. Well that has stopped now, every practice session is being documented and the information will be used to identify areas that I am improving in and those that still need work.
The idea for structuring my practice better came about after reading an interview with Rory McIlroy in Golf Monthly, the article is called ‘8 winning tips’ and you can read it by clicking on the link below.
The key thing that I took from the section entitled ‘Technique and quality practice’ was that Rory values quality over quantity and if that approach is good enough for him then it is certainly good enough for me.
“When I go to the range, I always value quality practice over quantity” – Rory McIlroy
(Image source: Telegraph)
Following Rory’s approach I now write down a plan for each practice session, whether I am working on my irons, my short game or my putting. That way I can monitor my performance and also gamify things. For example when I practice my putting I try and beat my record for the number of putts I hole in a row. That way I put myself under a little more pressure because I have a target to beat.
I have only recently started practicing with a plan but today reassured me that I am doing the right thing. Quality, structured practice is only going to help me lower my handicap and after all, if it works for Rory who am I to argue.