The Big Plan

January 28, 2014 Jon Roy


The “Form” of Practice

Over the past few weeks we have been designing our Yearly Training Plans (YTP), and as these come to life we will begin to see dramatic changes to motor patterns and behaviours.  It’s an exciting process which is able to cut through some common shortcomings in training and which will enable us to effect positive changes that will make us happier golfers.  This is about Game Improvement.

We use the YTP system to keep us on a set plan.  The YTP is divided into 5 categories, or pillars, and as a coaching team we are proud to focus on the harmony of these 5 pillars.  We strive to create a balanced training plan which transcends pillars and which helps players develop comprehensive strategies for improving their game.  While we acknowledge a culture in golf wherein players are obsessed with improving their swing, we like to remind everyone we work with that we are in fact trying to improve our golf, not our golf swing.  There is a big difference.  And so as coaches we work hard to resist the temptation to reduce the game of golf to nothing more than a desire to make a nice swing.   At the end of the day we believe that what people really want is to play the game in a way which is confident and competent, and that making nice swings and strokes is but a portion of this…


The 5 pillars of performance are:

  1. Technical
  2. Physical
  3. Psychological
  4. Tactical
  5. Spiritual

1) For many of us the major goal of the winter months is to make some technical changes and to get a “better swing”.  In these cases, this means looking at posture, club path, tension levels, footwork, etc…to name a few.   There is no doubt that technical precision plays a big role in golf, and these bullets are the easy ones to come up with for most players.  In fact, most golf instruction would limit itself to these types of bullets – essentially any golf pro can tell you what looks wrong and how they feel you might fix it…  But surely there must be more than just this.  Surely the game we all love so much offers more than mere technique?  We spend considerable attention on this pillar with all of our players, but for us it doesn’t stop here.  In fact, in our opinion the swing is really just the tip of the iceberg…

2) What is often overlooked is the connection between the technique we use and the limitations of our body.  We recommend that all serious players conduct some sort of physical screen to identify the causes of some of the solutions in their swing.  Consistent attention to developing your functional movement patterns can reap tremendous gains when it comes time to play the game.  Physical goals are often things like “lose weight”, “increase club head speed”, or “eat healthy”, but we usually add in things like “improve left hip mobility”.  Beyond the pay value of lower scores, these bullets also contribute to a pain free and healthy body to better practice in.  Even if all there is is making our swing better, than this pillar is still critical.

3) The mind is only relevant on every shot we ever hit, so it’s no wonder nobody ever bothers to train this.  But seriously, is there a golfer out there that would not benefit from more attention to practicing how the mind functions through each shot.   Like any habits, those of the mind can be trained and developed.  These goals are often the hardest for players to pinpoint, but they can include things like “play with more freedom”, “be confident”, “focus through entire shots” etc…Once again, just because we can’t see “doubt” on the t.v. screen doesn’t mean that doubt isn’t the cause for a poor swing.

4) The Tactical pillar refers to self-management skills.  The very process of designing a YTP qualifies as a bullet here, and then things like “weekly reports to my coach”, “set up a practice plan”, “register for events”, “organize a club fitting” all qualify as bullets in this pillar.  Tactics is all about strategy and figuring out a game plan.  Making nice swings is dependent on setting up an effective schedule, making sure your equipment is optimized, etc…

5) The spirit pillar is all about identifying why you play the game of golf.  This requires a little soul searching usually, and bullets that we often see in this pillar are things like “play more with my dad”, “exude positivity” “look into peoples eyes”, etc…  This pillar is more of the glue that holds everything together.  If you don’t know why you’re playing the game (chasing rubber in a park) than your experience of the game can often be one of frustration and even anger.  It can be really healthy to remember the things you love about the game.

So if you haven’t built your YTP as of yet you should make this a priority this week.  It will help to guide your training and will help you to better understand the interconnectedness of all of your training activities.  With the help of a self-directed or coach assisted YTP you will ensure that your training time is more efficient and that you will find more time for training.  It’s amazing what we see when players train with purpose and direction.  And it’s equally amazing to watch players try to improve without it…


Enjoy your week,

The GPC team.


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