Improving at golf seems easy. Pick something to work on, go to the range, and spend hours repeating the new movement over and over. Most people call it creating muscle memory or getting more reps. Tiger talks about reps all the time. If reps is all that matters, then most of us are doomed to mediocrity because we have jobs and families that prevent hours making changes and getting reps. However, science is starting to change the way we think about learning, and Golf Science Lab is leading the charge to help everyone practice better.
I wrote about interleaving and variable practice in my first few posts last spring. I use similar ideas when teaching my students how to perform on certain standardized tests, and motor learning research started advocating these new approaches. After integrating some of the concepts, I discovered Golf Science Lab at the end of the summer. I would highly recommend checking out their site.
Their site is chalked full of excellent information from numerous sources. My first trip to the site was almost overwhelming due to the amount of information. They have articles and podcasts on nearly every conceivable practice and mental game topic. I had no idea where to start. I thought the best place would be to sign up for their emails and purchase the motor learning quickstart guide.
I am always skeptical of pdf books because anyone can publish a book and sell it online. Internet marketing is full of write a 20 page pdf, put some good graphics in it, and then sell it on an email list. Their site made me feel like the book would be worth it, and I waste more than $10 on silly purchases all the time. I bought the motor learning guide.
The motor learning quickstart guide included a small game like training manual as well. I am not disappointed I purchased these guides. Both products included solid information about how we learn and mistakes most golfers make on the range. The guide included citations to research to provide the foundation for their recommendations. The information is there to completely change the way to practice.
My lone criticism of the manuals is they have more theory than hyper specific application tools. For example, the guide explains the difference between block and random practice. The research foundation illustrates what most golfers do wrong and why random practice is better. The end of the section includes a small discussion of how that translates to golf. Most people reading the section will understand random practice would include switching clubs, changing shot type, or switching trajectories.
I think the guides could add a little specificity by suggesting a practice routine. However, the website includes a significant amount of that information. The guides are good quick easy reads. You come away with the idea of what not to do when practicing. You also discover what you should do with each repetition to create lasting changes. The website provides the more specific information.
Not only is the guide worth $10, Cordie is excellent at responding to questions. I emailed them about my project here and asked about any resources for game like training while not hitting a golf ball, like swings at the office. He graciously responded within a couple days that they didn’t have any podcasts or articles for that yet, but he would consider the topic for the future. He could have ended the conversation there, but he proceeded to give a few suggestions for creating game like training in my situation (drawing out holes and playing each shot in my head while swinging). The ideas were great to integrate into my at-home practice.
Golf Science Lab provides vast amounts of information to maximize everyday golfers’ potential. I plan to listen to a couple podcasts each week while driving home. I would highly recommend subscribing to their free podcasts and checking out their site. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.