Periodized Training & Active Rest
by Jonathan Yarwood
It has been scientifically validated that the traditional practice regimen of ‘block practice’ or staying in one place, hitting one shot with a pile of balls over and over is counter-productive. On a number of levels it simply does not work. The player may gain a certain competence from the repetition, but there is no lasting learning. The goal in golf is to create new skills and tools and to be able to transfer them into a ‘game’ environment. Standing on a perfectly flat lie, hitting ball after bill with the same club in quick succession, clearly is not going to help that. That is why so many players who play poorly in a tournament invariably say ‘I don’t understand, I was hitting it great on the range’. Clearly something is missing, there has to be a bridge to transfer skills from a range environment to the golf course.
The bridge comes in the two major forms. Firstly, the block practice can help to create a technical change. But to truly own it and not ‘rent’ it, it has to be backed up by training in a multitude of ways. At Bishops Gate, we use a state of the art training program, that take students out of their comfort zone using methods such as random practice and interleave practice. These methods simulate and stimulate in equal measure and allow the skills to be transferred from block practice to skills usable in the arena under pressure. The players practice under ‘desirable difficulties’ situations which are designed to add stress where a player has to create solutions in an uncomfortable situation. This creates a more robust technique, more creativity and self-reliance amongst other things.
There are many other practice methods we utilize based on the latest motor learning research. Bishops Gate is the market leader in adoption of new ideas and principles based on scientific research.
Secondly, we utilize a periodized and personal approach to training. The students flow through a cycle of technical, Pre-comp, competition and rest and evaluation. This is done through our POD system where students can operate, with guided self-discovery, through their own personal training plans. If a student were to stay in ‘technical mode’, they would be stuck in block practice mode. This may be comfortable to them and may give them a feeling of technical competence, but the reality is that is just an illusion of competence.
Only by following the training cycle alluded to, will they truly ‘own’ their mechanics and ‘master’ the skills needed to play the game at the highest level they are capable of. As suggested earlier, the name of the game is creating the skills, truly mastering and owning them, then transferring them into the arena of play. With the BGGA training methodology, we believe we are certainly doing that.
BGGA POD Leader