Thursday, February 23, 2012

Competitive Practice

We have a great amount of time in between events and as a coach, I am thrilled to have so many practices to get some good work done. Today's blog outlines how our practice time is portioned and what we focus on during practice. Included is one of our recent practices which was a day of intense competition.   This practice had everything you want as a coach.  Teammates were dependent upon each other, there was great focus due to not wanting to lose and a tough test of short game skills.   

The Mustangs!
It is tough to write a golf practice that develops the feel for team.  This practice managed it.  We also played an alternate shot round two weeks ago and that is also a great way to teach the team concept.  Getting players to truly focus on each and every shot in practice is also tough.  When you hold a competition and give consequences for losing, you stand a far better shot at doing it.  Finally, a focused short game practice is wonderful.  It is fun and it usually ends up inspiring the players to either recognize their strengths or get busy working on what wasn't good. 

We are also working hard on our mental game these days and hopefully that was a part of the practice also.  The next blog will  include some 9 hole rounds that we use to focus on mental game in very specific ways.  Finally, we are still on the golf course a lot.  When you have a lot of time in between events, it is easy to get caught up on the range working only on mechanics.  However, mechanics are only a small percentage of what we need to work on improving.  Here are the skills I address in our practice schedules:

On Course Competition:  30% of our practice time
Putting: 30% of our practice time
Chipping, Bunkers and Pitching:  20% of our practice time
Wedges:  10% of our practice time
Ball Striking & Mechanics:  10% of our practice time  

Caitlin hard at work on her chipping at Dallas Athletic Club

Within all of these areas, we work on our routine and our mental game (target choice, attachment, visualization, controlled focus, and commitment).  Some players need to hit more balls than others to feel confident and to allow for that, about 30% of all our practice time is for the players to work on whatever they want.  That 30% of the practice is also when they meet with us to work on things they need in their games.  

Here is our schedule for last Saturday's practice.  It was a lot of fun.  We still haven't had the losers give their pony dances, I am not worthies or club and shoe cleaning, but it will happen with the whole team together next week.  Can't wait!

Practice Schedule for Feb. 18
The 2nd place team will be required to do a pony dance around the practice green following practice.  The 3rd place team will also do a pony and then drop to their knees to the two teams who beat them and do an “I am not worthy!”   
The LOSERS will do all of the above and also clean the clubs of all of the teams that beat them.  Good luck!

Elizabeth won a contest and the team is clearly "NOT WORTHY"!

Seniors:  Elizabeth and Jen
Juniors:  Melanie and Felicia
Sophomores: Caitlin and Claire
Freshmen and Foreigners:  Taylor and Elena

Up and Downs – There are 10 orange flags around the far green.  Drop your ball and get it up and down from each flag.  If you are successful, you get a point.  If it takes you more than three, you lose a point.  Your scores will be combined.  A perfect score for your team would be 20!  You can use any club.  A chip in counts as two, so you could possibly have a better than perfect score! 

Putting – You have five putts from 5 feet, 10 feet, 15 feet and 20 feet.  You get one point for the 5 footers, 2 points for the 10 footers, 3 points for the 15 footers and 4 points for the 20 footers.  Your scores will be combined.  A perfect score is 100 for the team.
Bunkers – On the green by the maintenance fence, you will have five spots marked in the bunker.  You can bump your ball.  You must get all five up and down.  You must count how many attempts it takes you.  This is a team challenge, so one of you making an up and down counts for the team.  You must both hit shots until the goal is achieved from each flag.  Example:  From the first flag, if you both hit and neither gets it up and down, it counts as one attempt.  If one of you makes it on the second attempt, you were successful in two.  A perfect score here would be five.  The team with the fewest points gets five points, second gets 3 points, third gets one point.  Ties will be played off.

Putting – Round Robin – Challenge each team to a 9 hole match play worst ball scramble.  Both on your team putts, then choose the ball farthest from the hole.  If you both make it, you score a two, if not, the ball is still in play.  If you both make the first putt, you score an ace.  This is match play!  Keep track of wins and losses.  The team with the most wins gets five points, second gets 3 points, third gets one point.  Ties will be played off.

Wedges.  Each player gets 3 balls to hit to the closest practice green from 20, 40 and 60 yards.  The closest ball of the team from each distance is measured.  The lowest total gets 5 points, second gets 3 points, third gets one point and last gets nothing!  
Trouble shots – We will have a trouble shot set up on the right side to the middle practice green.  You get one shot each.  If you are able to get the ball on the green, you get five points.  If you get it within 10 feet, you get 10 points. 

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