Newsletter #11: (Part 2)
Improving Through Effective Practice
Driver Accuracy Drills
In the first driver accuracy video I used shorter, slower swings at a 100-yard target to get a feel for my impact position and my swing path, and to establish a baseline control swing. In this second practice video I’ll show you the next step in my practice routine as I work on improving driver accuracy by comparing my baseline control swing to my full swing using a specific drill – the Low Energy swing.
The key to learning rapidly and effectively is to focus on the process rather than the outcome. I am much less concerned with the results of the shot (whether I hit a target/fairway or not), than I am in being able to distinguish differences between swings. That’s why I refer to it as the baseline control swing: it’s the swing or position that I know is correct, and against which I compare my full swings.
The basic question I will be asking on each swing is “What was the difference between my full swing and the baseline swing?” Watch here.
Keep in mind that I am still primarily in “observing” mode rather than “fixing” mode. The low-energy swings I’ll be using were first taught to me by Sport Psychologist Dr. Glen Albaugh, and they are an excellent way to develop the swing awareness I’ll need before taking the next step of working on mechanics.
A low-energy swing is a full-length swing performed at reduced speed. I established my baseline control impact position and club path with my short, slow swings. Now I’ll use low-energy swings to compare my full-length swing to my control swing to learn the differences between them. I’m practicing with low-energy swings because the slower speed allows a better feel for the swing and really helps develop awareness. Improving awareness is always the first step in any change process.
My next step is to slowly increase my low-energy swing speed until I find my “break” point. In other words, I may be very accurate at a 20% speed, still pretty accurate at 30%, but at 40% speed I notice that my swing breaks down and my accuracy declines.
What I do next is use my baseline control swing to help me distinguish swing differences, address them, and then toggle back and forth between the 30% and 40% swings until my accuracy improves at the 40% level. Then I repeat the process, toggling between 40% and 50% until I am accurate at the 50% level, and so on.
Using this process allows me to be confident that any swing change I decide to work on is the right thing to focus on, because I’ll be able to judge quickly whether or not it is helping me level up to a higher swing speed and whether or not it is improving my accuracy. It takes the guess-work out of practice.
I’ll make one more point before moving on to the next part of the practice and the video on iron accuracy: Improving at golf is a process, not a one-time event. I don’t expect to hit the range once, fix a swing issue, and never have to see that issue again. Golf doesn’t work that way.
Instead I’m approaching my practice as a chance to build my awareness and refine my habits. Since the golf swing is a collection of habits, thinking of my changes as “developing better habits” allows me to be patient and understand that progress is measured in a series of small steps rather than giant leaps.
Here are links to the entire High Performance Golf Newsletter Series. If you haven’t seen the videos I recommend you start with the first post on establishing performance baselines. Click the link below to get started, then look for the links at the bottom of each post to continue with the next video:
High Performance Golf: Establishing a Performance Baseline
High Performance Golf: Scorecard Analysis and Setting Priorities
High Performance Golf: Driver Accuracy Practice (part 1)
High Performance Golf: Driver Accuracy Practice (part 2)
High Performance Golf: Determining Mid-Iron Carry Distance
PS – If you enjoyed the article, why not leave a comment below? I’d love to hear your thoughts.