Friday, August 24, 2012

A Great Start

We got off to a great start this week at SMU.  First of all, we started building our habits.  We got into a bit of a routine, although with all of the meetings and extra stuff, that will shake down a bit more.  We discussed our touchstones and the direction we want to go this year.  We wrote in our journals about what we wanted to focus on at practice and how it went.  We had a great Thursday Team Day with very good focus and we accomplished a lot.  I saw a lot of 30 footers drop, which is fun stuff. Good habits are the key to good performance and we are heading the right direction in that regard.

Our theme for our Team Day was putting and more specifically speed control.  The more I read what Geoff Mangum writes, the more convinced I am that he is a genius in our field.  However, as with any genius, I have to read his stuff a lot to "get" it.  The better I understand it, the simpler it becomes.  We are going to be the best putting team in the nation.  That might be biting off a lot to state, but hey, that is what we want and we will do what we have to to achieve that goal.  Here was our team's practice and also a link to Geoff's site so you can also share in his wisdom.

SMU Women’s Golf
Thursday Team Day

1. Team challenge
     A. 9 balls in a row within the circle from 35-45 feet.  If you make one, you cover one of your teammates misses. 

2. Speed and green reading presentation.

3. Touchstones
     Love each other
     Keep things simple
     Remember what's important
     Be your own best coach
     Be free to play
     Possess a learner's mindset

4. Individual challenges
     A.  Putt to string until you earn 10 points from 4, 6, 82 points within 1 foot past the string. 1 point within a foot of the string short. 0 point all other putts. How many putts did it take from each distance?
     B.  Put an iron down 2 feet past a hole. Putt from 25, 30, 40 and 60 feet. Get 5     balls, in a row, to end between the hole and the iron (don’t let the ball hop     over the iron). If you make it, it counts as only one.  At 60 feet, your goal is 5 out of 10.

5. Competitive games.
Lag putting round robin
9  holes of competition. Putt must be at least 30 feet. Match play. Closest to the hole wins.  Two losses and you're out.  
Partner Game
Find two holes 20-30 feet away from each other. Each of you putts to the other's hole until you make it. Then switch and continue. Winner is first player to 5 makes.

The speed and green reading presentation wasn't extensive.  It was simply a talk about looking and letting your hands work, as you do with all measuring you do in a day.  Your hands are constantly figuring out how to measure distances, whether its to open a door, toss an apple core into the trash, or shake hands.  There isn't thought involved, but simply a spatial reaction to what your eyes tell you that you need.  Thought about a putting stroke creates tension and a lack of rhythm and momentum.  We talked about a link between your eyes and your hands and getting the brain out of the loop.  

We also noticed that the circle around the hole shouldn't have the hole in the center.  As soon as we moved the circle to the high side, with the hole being closer to the low side, the team made a lot more putts and had more success with keeping the ball in the circle.  It took us about 30 minutes to successfully complete the challenge and while it might seem like a lot of time standing around, that is golf.  We want to create situations that are realistic.  In golf you face pressure to perform every 2-3 minutes.  It is great to have everyone's eye balls on you at practice and to know you are one of the keys to completing a task.  

Today, we are playing 18 holes and the team is going to keep track of how many feet of putts they made.  I can't wait to watch more 30 footers drop!

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