It has been scientifically proven that the traditional practice regimen of block practice, or staying in one place while hitting one shot with a pile of balls over and over, is counter-productive.
Over the years, I have watched countless players hit millions of balls on the range. Relative to the effort and time that goes in, there is very little progress gained. The player may gain a certain competence from the repetition, but there is no lasting learning. You could say that the standard way to practice is somewhat a waste of time.
The goal in golf practice is to create new skills and tools and to be able to transfer them into a game environment. Standing on a perfectly flat lie, hitting ball after ball with the same club in quick succession, is clearly not going to help one’s game performance. That is why, after playing poorly in a tournament, players invariably say, “I don’t understand, I was hitting it great on the range”. Something is missing, there must be a bridge to transfer skills from a range environment to the golf course. This bridge comes in two major forms.
Firstly, block practice is not totally useless if it is followed up by training concepts; when used correctly, block practice can be the first step to mastery of a technical change. But, to truly own it and not rent it, it should be backed up by training in a multitude of ways. Here at IJGA, we use a state-of-the-art training program which takes students out of their comfort zone using methods such as random practice and interleave practice.
The aforementioned methods simulate and stimulate in equal measure, and allow skills to be transferred from block practice to skills usable in the arena under pressure. The players practice under desirable difficulties, or situations which are designed to add stress in which a player has to create solutions in an uncomfortable situation. This creates a more robust technique, more creativity and self-reliance among other things. As a market leader, we are constantly reading scientific research on new practice methods to ensure we are providing the best possible program for our students.
Secondly, we utilize a periodized and personal approach to training.
The students flow through a cycle of technical, pre-comp, competition and rest and evaluation. This is done through our P.O.D. system where students can operate with guided self-discovery, through their own personal training plans. If a student were to stay in technical mode, they would be stuck in block practice mode. This may be comfortable to them and may give them a feeling of technical competence, but the reality is that is just an illusion of competence.
Only by following the training cycle above, will they truly own their mechanics and master the skills needed to play the game at the highest level they are capable of.
As suggested earlier, the name of the game is creating the skills, truly mastering and owning them, then transferring them into the arena of play. With the IJGA training methodology, that’s exactly what we are doing.
IJGA Director of Golf