Teaching an old dog new tricks.

I have played golf since I was 12 years old. Prior to that I caddied for my dad, and I fondly remember pulling his bag early on a Sunday morning sweeping the dew off the ground. Having played golf for 30 + years, read many books and articles on golf and been around some top level players I think I know golf pretty well.

That is why I am amazed but also reinvigorated that when I had a lesson last week(my first in about 20 years), that what I thought I needed to do to hit the ball better and longer was the complete opposite of what I needed to do. I felt like George Constanza –  if every thought you have is wrong then if I do the complete opposite I should be right!!

My thinking prior to the lesson was based on many Golf Digest articles and the study of Rory, Tiger and Adam that I needed to create more club head speed by loading my wrists, creating “lag” and delaying the release of the club. However it seems I am loading and lagging so much I don’t release the club at all. Doh!!

My thoughts then turned to Anders Ericsson. Who? Anders is the expert on experts. Malcolm Gladwell penned the famous 10,000 hour rule from his research. However the more important and crucial stuff in his research is that of deliberate practice – the how of practice that accelerates performance. Feedback is crucial, often from a coach who can see what you can’t. Building on this feedback from your crucial is crucial to performance improvement.

I am excited by having a new goal to work towards in my golf and look forward to hours of deliberate practice that i will need to put in to reach improvement. It will remind me of the hours I used to spend on the range as a kid and perhaps the old dog will learn some new tricks.peak

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