Friday, August 26, 2011

Quality > Quantity - P.S. #1

As a coach, you would like to focus on game improvement as many hours of the week as possible, but there are many distractions in the first week with class schedules, support staff meetings, and the process of adjustment for student-athletes.  After a week of practice, we begin qualifying today and I am certain the athletes felt a bit cheated of practice time because of all the distractions.  That is really the lesson for junior golfers though.  When you get to college, life gets a lot busier.  As a junior, you generally get to practice for as long as you would like without many distractions or instructions.  The older you get, the tougher this gets.  After college, pros will have demands on their time and soon will be juggling practice time with family time.  One of the first important lessons college golfers need to learn is quality is more important than quantity.

One of my goals is to provide the players with structure to give them guidance with their game improvement.  Golf is a very individual game, so it is important to balance the time they are required to do drills and challenges with time for them to work on what they feel is important to them.  If possible, we can give guidance in those areas, too, but many players want to remain in control of more of their game and my job is to support that as much as possible.

With that being said, after many years of coaching, it is pretty obvious that most college players need to be better putters and better within 100 yards of the green.  Most of our structure will be aimed toward those goals.  Another important area of improvement for most college players is the ability to focus, work through frustration, and commit to shots.  That is rarely addressed in practice time, so we design drills to help players in these areas and give reminders such as "go through your routine prior to each putt" on their practice sheet. 
Lorena Ochoa in her putting pre shot routine.  It is as important to practice your mental game skills, such as routines and visualization as it is your physical skills. 

Here is our weekly practice schedule.  I will share these so you can see what we do on a daily basis at SMU and perhaps some of our drills or challenges will help you plan your practices and be effective with your time.  Remember, the quality of your practice time is more important than the quantity.

SMU Women’s Golf
Weekly Schedule #1
Aug. 22-27, 2011
Aug. 22                        6:00 AM workouts
                                    4:00  Team meeting            5:00  Compliance meeting            6:00 Dinner at Digg’s
Aug. 23                        2:00 Practice at DAC
Aug.24            Play day at Lakewood.  Tee times and pairings tba.

Aug. 25            2:00 Practice at DAC

Aug. 26            Qualifying – Blue Course DAC 2:00, 2:08, 2:17

Aug. 27            Qualifying – Gold Course DAC 2:00, 2:08, 2:17

Do these tasks daily:           
Start your putting practice each day by making 10 putts in a row. 
3 from 3 ft., 3 from 4 ft., 3 from 5 ft., and one from 6 feet.

Chip with 2 different clubs each day until you chip one in with each.  Switch the clubs up daily.

Put 10 balls in a pile and choose a wedge distance that is different each day.  For example, tomorrow, go to your full PW distance.  For every ball that is within a flagstick of the hole, you may take a ball out of the pile.  For every ball outside 30 feet (10 paces), add a ball.  If you miss the green, add five balls to your pile.  Anything between a flagstick and 30 feet is neutral.  Keep track of how many balls you hit. 

Hit five bunker shots from a good lie. Then hit five bunker shots from various lies (buried, uphill, downhill and sidehills) If you aren’t happy with your shots come back to it and practice it.
“I am a good putter. I know it and I believe it. If I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t be a good putter. Every scorer should feel this way. Although putting certainly requires some talent, the mechanical demands are minimal. I honestly believe that with a strong mind, you can literally will the ball into the hole.” Raymond Floyd

On Tuesday, find a partner and choose three clubs and a putter.  The goal is to get the ball up and down while playing a game of H.O.R.S.E.  If you win a hole, you get to choose the club and place for the next shot.  You get a letter if your partner gets an up and down but you fail to do so.  No letters if neither of you get an up and down.  No letters if you both get it up and down.
Stand in the middle of the practice green.  Putt one ball to each hole on the green.  Do it until you either make it or have each ball within a putterhead of the hole.

On Thursday, do the following:
Make 10 putts from 3 feet with your right hand only.  Make 10 putts from 3 feet with your left hand only.  Make 10 putts from 2 feet with no backswing (push drill). 
Put tees down at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 feet.  Make all five putts in a row.  To make this more challenging, go back again (10 putts instead of 5).
Put 5 tees down around the hole at 10 feet for each tee.  Putt from each tee.  When you make a putt, move the tee back one putter length.  When you have moved a tee twice, pick it up when you make the 3rd putt.  Take the time to notice trends on these putts.  Are there any that seem easy or hard?  Do you over read or under read right to left or left to right?  This is a great challenge for making birdie putts on the course.
Putt to a hole from 20 feet until you make it.  You can use as many balls as you need, but you are not allowed to move balls out of your way.  This is a great visualization drill and it will also help you get the ball to the hole.  You might need to putt to hit a ball out of the way prior to going back to the goal.  Do this drill for 20 minutes tops.  If you are successful quickly, do it from 25 or 30 feet.

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