In order to achieve quality work, a high goal or the “impossible” dream, one must engage with intense focus and time spent must be high value. A mistake many people make is thinking to become great or expert in a field, whether athletics or business or sciences, that it takes enormous amounts of time at each intake. In fact, the research done by experts such as Dr. Anders Ericsson (psychologist and author of PEAK and Road to Excellence), Adam Grant (professor and author of Give and Take and Originals) and Cal Newport (author of Deep Work and So Good They Can’t Ignore You) suggest differently. Now, it does take a large amount of time, however that time spent is not all at once! That’s like telling your child that they need to brush their teeth a lot and they go brush their teeth for 10 hours in one day with the mindset that they have taken care of their teeth. Instead of taking those 10 hours and spreading it out over the course of days, by focusing on their teeth for 3 minutes daily, they will have healthier teeth for a longer time.
The same concept applies when it comes to learning golf or wanting to become better at acquiring the skills to play better golf. It will take enormous amounts of time to become an expert at the game, but if you break it down into chunks daily it is far better for the health of your game and your mental health. It is better to have high focus for the entirety of the time learning a skill than it is to spend hours on hitting balls, chips or putts with no focus. At The Golf Performance Center we develop practice plans for players based on learning how to practice effectively on acquiring skills by breaking down practice sessions into mini focus sessions on a particular skill. If it is putting for example, there is time allotted for putting technique and then time spent in transference of technique to skill of putting. It’s about taking the chunks of information and making it whole. Preferably there is a small break of time in transition from one part of the game to another in order to allow for reflection of the focused work to be recorded so the session can be a gain and not a drain.
Next time you go to practice don’t assume you will master a technique or skill in one practice session, rather break down the technique into small chunks, work on the pieces and challenge yourself to do this at the highest levels of focus you can over the course of days, weeks and months. Warning! This may require you to turn off music, or practice alone. It may require struggle but post struggle you will reap the benefits faster! The pressure of performing on the course may decrease due to the confidence you are gaining by developing high level of skill and the ability to focus on the task and not be distracted by the potential of failure because you have learned from failure while improving your skills to perform!
Happy New Year!!
Enjoy Your Journey!