The Real Reason 97 Percent of Elite Golfers Fail to Improve and How You Can Be the One Who Succeeds (Part 2)
When you practice your golf skills you realize pretty quickly that it takes a certain amount of time and effort to improve your golf skills so that you can become more competitive.
We explain to our students at Pro Tour Golf College that you must manage the training activity carefully so as to optimize the time spent practicing whilst at the same time guard against over-training injuries such as repetitive strain injuries.
When you train your golf swing technique, or for that matter any part of your golf game you are going to exert effort through the repetition of golf swings-both short and long. The training volume describes the overall amount of work you perform and also specifically how you go about performing it.
For instance, our students are given a weekly training schedule (see below) that requires them to practice their golf skills for a minimum of twenty five hours per week from Monday to Friday. The amount of hours they practice describes the duration of the training schedule which is one of the components of training volume, but this alone doesn’t tell us much else.
Within this training time period our students will practice their short-game skills and their long-game skills. It’s conceivable that they could complete their training in less time however this wouldn’t make a lot of sense as the whole idea of training is to design training routines that optimize skill development and habituate the skills so they can be performed under pressure.
Over-training leads to fatigue and also over-use injuries, so designing the training process carefully should be seen as an important and integral part of elite golfer development.
There are a number of key factors that significantly influence your golf success and the following simple model (right) describes the three components within the training volume that we use to develop the most effective plan for developing our student’s abilities to cope better under the pressure of competition.
This model is very common and is used by high performance coaches and sports scientists, and as you will see is easily adapted to the sport of golf for developing an elite golfer’s ability.
In our opinion, elite amateur golfers who wish to become competitive professional golfers will need to implement a training program that incorporates the components from this model if they want to become successful tour golfers.
Training With The Correct Amount of Intensity
Each golfer has a state of intensity or if you like a level of arousal where they perform their best. Optimal intensity refers to the ideal level of physical and mental intensity that allows an athlete to perform his/her best (Taylor & Wilson, 2005).
In our golf training program we teach our students to “train on the edge,” which is to say we want them to train in their ideal focused state for a predetermined period of time to accomplish their goal.
You can see in the image below how the optimal state of arousal is around 5 out of 7. Each golfer will experience 5 differently; however the idea is to train so you get your arousal level to slightly higher than half way.
One of the biggest challenges you will face as a competitive golfer is over-arousal (High) and under-arousal (Low) and by developing an awareness of this important component in your training plan you can learn how to hit your shots in the optimal zone for developing your nerve to hit pressure shots successfully any-time-any-where.
How to Train Your Golf Skills 'On The Edge'
So how do you design your practice to “train on the edge” of your potential? This is one of the most important questions in elite golfer development. In our approach to student development at Pro Tour Golf College we track, test and measure every stroke performed in training over a ten week period.
From this data we can more easily determine weak through to strong skills of our students and design a relevant and progressive training plan that is built around improving their weaker and most important skills that leads them to lowering their competitive score average.
The simplest way for you to understand where your golf skills are currently is to take a look at the following model (below) which describes two important factors in designing your training program effectively so that you can achieve the goal of conditioning your central nervous system (CNS) to allow you to hit your golf shots successfully under pressure.
Factor 1) Perceived Skill Level – As you develop your golf skill capability platform you will discover that your skills are all at different stages of development. Your job is to train and develop each ‘high payoff skill’ to the automaticity level so that you can perform it competently when it matters most.
Factor 2) Perceived Challenge Level – Every time you play or practice golf you will be confronted with challenges that will push your golf confidence from Bored to Balanced and into the Stressed zone. When you practice your golf skills your main objective is to match up your golf skill level carefully to the challenge level and by doing this correctly you will discover that you will be training in the optimal zone for developing and improving your golf skills.
The main key is to design the training challenge so that it puts your high payoff golf skills under increased (but manageable) pressure. The idea behind this is that you’re attempting to train your (CNS) to gradually become more and more accustomed to dealing with the increased training pressure so that you’re more capable of producing important golf shots when you need to.
The Frequency of Training Your High Pay-Off Golf Skills
You will have noticed that I mention ‘high payoff skills’ that need to be trained to the level of automaticity. What I’m talking about here is the golf skills that will lower your high golf score average faster.
You see it's not your low score average that is the problem, it's your high score average.
When you design your golf training plan the overall training volume incorporates the three factors of - intensity, frequency and duration, and golf training frequency relates to the part of training where you train certain golf skills more than others in your training plan because their value is higher from the perspective of lowering your competitive score average.
To improve your golf score average you will need to work on the weakest-most important golf skills that will have the most direct effect on lowering your competitive score average. You need to decide which of your golf skills rank higher in terms of their importance in lowering your competitive score average.
Using our simple skill score card (above) decide which of these skills are the weakest – but most important skills for lowering your competitive score average.
Rate yourself as A, B, C or D in each skill set and then decide which of these skills need attention. You’ll discover that around five of these skills when improved will have the greatest impact on improving your competitive score average.
Here's a simple A B C D skill competency rating to help you determine your current strengths and weaknesses.
A = Competent Anytime Anywhere (Championship Level)
B = Competent on the Golf Course (Club Level)
C = Competent on the Practice Range (But not on the Golf Course)
D = Not Yet Competent
Next week we'll continue with this article and discuss key concepts in our elite golfer development program such as managing the training duration to reducing fatigue and injury in your training approach and also the 70 percent tour golfer model.
Both David and I hope that you're enjoying this article series on developing your golf skills the correct way, and if you have any questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lawrie Montague and David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
P.S Next semester at Pro Tour Golf College begins on the 12th January 2015 so if you're planning on joining our Tour Bridging Program or our Tour Golfer Program then contact us today.