Why do I always think of Allen Iverson when talking about practice? He’s sitting in front of numerous cameras all attitude and utters “Were talking about practice.” We talk about it, because practicing anything - is a dress rehearsal for life.
By definition, practice is to perform or work at repeatedly so as to become proficient. But as I stated in my last post, quality practice leads to success. Going through the motions in practice will lead to poor mechanics and inefficient play.
Since starting this project I haven’t played or practiced golf. Ben separated his shoulder just before we began and hitting golf balls was out of the question. Now, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been to the driving range. Lately, I will go to the range without clubs and watch how people practiced. After spending several hours watching I have come to some basic conclusions.
The first is that everyone is very rushed. People would grab a club and take a few hurried practice swings, then start whacking balls down range. If they did stop to stretch for a minute, the stretches were rushed and appeared to be random.
The second is that the practice wasn’t very organized. As I watched, nobody seemed to take the time to think about what they were trying to accomplish. If they had a plan of action or goals for the session I couldn’t see it from where I watched. The only recognizable goal was to get through the bucket as fast as possible.
The third and maybe most important conclusion was that I had finally figured out why I was such a poor golfer. I was approaching the game exactly the same way. I would rush through my warm-ups, hit too many balls with the same club, and spend zero time getting my head right before I played. When I would go to just practice, the quality and structure of my practice would insure that I would never get better. It became very clear to me that I was practicing not only the wrong things, but the wrong way.
After thinking about it for a little while, I realized that if my earlier statement, ‘practice is a dress rehearsal for life,’ is true, then there had to be other places within my life that mirrored how I practiced. I’ll save you the self-reflection process, but I immediately came up with several areas within my life where I live like I golf.
The important thing here is that I teach conscious movement and breath every day to my clients. I spend at least 6 hours every day being conscious of how I am standing, walking and breathing. And yet, because of the bad habits I have developed over the years, all of it goes out the window when I pick up a golf club. With this in mind, I’m heading to the driving range later today with my clubs. I might even hit a ball or two and explore these ideas on practice. Between now and my next post, keep practicing your conscious breathing. Here is an exercise to practice while standing.
Stand with your feet hip to shoulder width.
Soften your feet by wiggling your toes.
Slightly raise your rib cage.
Take three deep breathes from the bottom up.