October 24, 2011

Post Shot Tip For Juniors

For most junior players, the time immediately after hitting a ball poorly is mostly spent in frustration or anger while thinking about how badly the ball was hit. The rest of the time is typically wasted trying to figure out what was wrong with the previous swing or putt.

Conversely, when young players hit a shot well, they rarely pay attention to much- other than the result of where the ball ended up. I strongly encourage for young players to develop better habits at an early age.

Here are a couple of important points for you to grow as a player:

  1. Take time to mentally reinforce the feel and sight of the good shots that you hit. As an example, you have 150 yards to the pin and you select the 7-iron (or whatever club works for you) that will give you the best chance to get it close.
    If you hit that 7-iron well, I would want you to watch the full flight of the ball, reinforce within yourself how that felt and replay the trajectory of the shot in your mind. This will help you improve your ability to visualize this type of shot next time you’re in a similar situation.
  2. On the other hand, take time to rehearse the same shot if you’ve hit it poorly. In the same situation as above, if you don’t hit the ball well and chunk the ball 80 yards, rather than immediately going into a checklist of what you must have done wrong and why your swing didn’t work well, re-swing the club at full tempo until you get a good feel.
    Your body and mind have a tendency to remember the last thing that you’ve done, and if you can put the 7-iron back in your bag after having swung it well, you’re much more apt to feel good about that club when you subsequently choose to use it later in the round.
    This way with every club in your bag, the last swing that you executed with it was one that you liked and felt confident about.

I want to make sure and differentiate between re-swinging the club while thinking about a correction, versus swinging the club for a good feel. The golf course is not the place to attempt to analyze your swing.  This analysis is best saved for the practice area, and ideally would be done with a teaching professional’s input.

The truth is that most young players are terrible at diagnosing their misses and are guessing when it comes to figuring out what went wrong with a shot. Regularly young players make a poor guess at what went wrong, and try to fix something in their swing that wasn’t broken in the first place!

Now instead of one swing flaw, you’ve created a second. Continue down this line of thinking and you’ll understand why you see some players’ swings deteriorate as their round progresses.

The key here is to re-swing thinking about a good shot, rather than thinking about correcting an error. You’ll be much more likely to swing the club fluidly and will get your head out of the way and let your body do what you’ve been training it to do on the practice range!



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