Last week I wrote about things to keep in mind as you practice indoors. If you haven’t read that post you can find it here. Today I’ve listed a few of the games I play to help keep me focused during my practice. Let’s face it, hitting into a net for 2 hours can get quite boring so I like to get in and get out. Have a plan, complete the plan, and go home.
Here are 5 of the games I’ll play:
1.Call Your Carry Distance:
Choose a distance to hit your shot and see how close you get. If you call 140 and hit it 144, your score is 4. Hit 10 shots against a friend and see who has the lowest score. Remember to vary your distances. You could also just give a point to whoever was closest but I think doing it this way keeps you very focused on each shot.
2. 50 Yards to 200 Yards:
Start at 50 yards. You must carry your shot within 5 yards of the number to advance. You’ll increase the yardage by 10 yards each successful attempt until you get to 200 (or 150 for a shorter game). Here is an example of how I scored:
50 – 3 shots
60 – 1 shot
70 – 1 shot
80 – 2 shots
90 – 4 shots
100 – 1 shot
110 – 2 shots
120 – 1 shot
130 – 3 shots
140 – 1 shot
150 – 2 shots
160 – 3 shots
170 – 1 shot
180 – 2 shots
190 – 4 shots
200 – 2 shots
Total: 33 (Score today was 33 on this game)
I could keep track of my scores for this game over the winter and see if they are improving or not.
3.Guess Your Ball Speed:
Once you’ve hit a fair amount of shots you should have a decent idea of your general ball speeds with each club. Let’s say your 8-iron is often around 115 mph. After you hit a shot, you guess what you think the ball speed was. Your score is the difference between your guess and the actual number. This will help you learn the feeling of the better quality strikes (and poor ones). Subconsciously, you may start to gravitate closer to that good feeling as you increase your awareness.
I often play this game with my students where we both guess what the ball speed was – I’m basing it on what I hear and they are basing it on what they feel (and hear). It’s interesting to see how close you can get when your feel improves.
4.Hit the Rope:
For those that struggle with start lines you can put a rope up (hanging vertically) in the net and work on either hitting the rope or hitting it just left or right of the rope. In each case you are working on the start lines of your shots. It’s a pretty basic game but one that I think is pretty important when you aren’t seeing the full trajectory of your shots.
5.Guess Your Club Path:
Just like the ball speed game you’re going to hit your shot and then guess what you think your club path was on that shot. You’re basing it on what you felt. This is a great game for people that are excessively left or right with their path (often playing with lots of curve). If you are one of those people that hits huge draws or fades I’d recommend experimenting with trying to see what a 10 degree left or a 10 degree right path would feel like. Push it to 15-20 degrees if you can, just to create the awareness. Once you are able to feel different paths it should make it easier to feel out the path that you are ideally after.
Awareness is the greatest agent for change.– Eckhart Tolle
These are just a few games that I play by myself or with my students. If you have other games please feel free to share. I encourage you to be creative and really figure out what you’re trying to accomplish when you practice. Make sure you are aware of what you are trying to do and make it fun…do not underestimate the importance of fun.