"Perfect 10" Practice
By Erika Larkin on 1/30/14
When I am teaching, it is clear that many of my students need lots of encouragement to really exaggerate enough to make a swing change. Every little tweak feels foreign and it's hard to get outside of what is comfortable. To help students with the process of change, I came up with a game called "Perfect 10," which I use during the lesson to prove a point and often prescribe as homework.
To play the game, pick ONE element of change you are working on. Let's say you're a slicer and you need to improve on squaring up the clubface through impact. Your goal is to do whatever it takes to accomplish it — even at the risk of over-correcting and hitting a hook. If you can, hit 10 shots in a row trusting the exaggerated move and not one shot slices off. In this example, start line wouldn't matter — the ball could push or pull off the target line. The only thing you are grading yourself on to get a point for the game is the one thing you are focusing on. If you don't get a perfect score, start a new set and try again.
People are resistant to change and, at the first sign that a new motion doesn't work, they tend to abandon it. Giving yourself permission to see something completely opposite is healthy and will pay off. Another reason this game works is because it allows golfers to really focus on one thought at a time. Too often, golfers bounce back and forth between thoughts too quickly, or they try to correct multiple swing flaws at the same time before mastering any one piece of it separately.
Whatever it is that you are trying to fix in your swing, break it down into more manageable pieces and try and score some "Perfect 10s" in your next practice — I know it will help!
Erika Larkin is the Director of Instruction at Larkin Golf Learning Community, at Stonewall Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia. She was named the 2012 Middle Atlantic PGA "Teacher of the Year" and the 2011 "Top Golf Pro" by Washingtonian Magazine — and she's oobgolf's newest columnist! She writes on a variety of topics including instruction, so if you have a question for her or an idea for a column, e-mail her at ErikaLarkin@pga.com. Enjoy!
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