The Case To Stop “Hitting Balls”

If you took the time to read last week’s article on paying attention to what you’re supposed to be paying attention to, then this topic will come as no surprise to you that it’s the next natural follow-up. If you didn’t read it I strongly suggest that you go back and take a few minutes to read that email from last Tuesday.

I want to make the case that you should stop hitting balls. At least in the way that you are accustomed to hitting balls. The research is clear: hitting a long string of single clubs at a single target is one of the LEAST effective things you can do. While hitting the ball at a singular target has some value to it in that you can “focus on making swing corrections,” it’s value is very small. After all, why can’t you focus on making swing corrections and change targets, or shape a shot at the same time? (Last week’s article hint hint wink wink). The research is clear: avoid hitting the same shot, putt, chip, club over and over again if you want to retain a skill. Mix it up as often as possible and add some pressure. Here are some examples:

  • Hit 3 draws (or fade) in a row with the same club (change clubs and/or targets after 10 shots)
  • Side bar: Stop trying to aim AT A TARGET. Aim for a SHOT SHAPE toward a target. No one should be practicing hitting straight shots. More on this next week!
  • Try to get up and down around the green from 20 different spots and change the lie every time
  • Hit 18 putts from different distances and locations around the green and record the total putts (like you’re playing on the course).
  • Practice hitting punch shots, draws, fades, etc.

There are a vast array of things you can do to work on your game in this randomized fashion. The objective: make your practice mimic what you will face on the course, and PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE PAYING ATTENTION TO (Read last week’s article if you haven’t already!!!).  The course doesn’t have straight lines, allow you to hit the same shot twice in a row, or get another attempt if you hit a bad shot. It’s completely random, full of twists, curves, hazards, and more.  So practice accordingly…

A few final things: The course is full of distractions from your playing partners, to other people, wildlife, maintenance crews, neighbors, etc. so TAKE YOUR HEADPHONES OUT OF YOUR EARS and learn to focus and manage those distractions! Also…GET OFF THE RANGE!! The game is learned on the course, so get out there and play!  Lastly…did I mention it yet? Read last week’s article “ATTENTION! Do Your Job”…it’s important in understanding the depth of this one!

Get out there and play y’all! There’s One Rule: Shoot a Lower Score.