I’m up in the Great White North, home of the defending NBA Champs (thanks Kawhi!), and we are facing 5-6 months of indoor training. It certainly doesn’t help our young golfers who are competing for scholarships but it doesn’t have to hurt their chances. In fact, this is a great time to make any big changes in your swing pattern if it’s needed, no matter what your skill level is. At the very least, indoor practice is better than no practice.
It’s hard to work on technical pieces during the season because our minds are so focused on scoring. If you’re a tournament player you may not want to work on changes because you’re always aware of the upcoming tournament that you’re preparing for. You don’t see many professional golfers making changes during the tournament week – mostly it’s just the same old things over and over again during their busy stretches. In the off-season is when they will assess where they need to improve and then get to work at it.
In Canada, it seems like more and more people are practicing indoors over the winter in an effort to stay sharp and get some reps in. For junior golfers, if you aren’t doing that you’re likely falling behind as most of the competitive players are working hard over those 5-6 months.
Here are some tips for your winter practice:
- Use a Launch Monitor
Having a machine that can give you some information on your ball flight is pretty important. How do you know if any of the changes you are making are working? There are plenty of good, affordable launch monitors that will do the job. This way you can dial in your carry numbers, improve your launch conditions, understand your ball flight better, and much more.
2. Limit your ball strikes off mats.
If your mats aren’t high quality you may be putting yourself at risk of injury – especially in your wrists. I would recommend 45 minutes of focused practice (10 minutes of warm up and then play a game of some sort). Doing this 2-3x/week can be very effective and will save some wear and tear on the body.
3. Warm up
Get your body moving and ready to hit balls before you start. It’s colder out and you’ve likely spent a good chunk of time sitting during the day. Again, this is for injury prevention.
4. Use a Mirror
I try to spend 5 minutes everyday in front of the mirror. I do this to see if my feels match what I want to see in my swing. I don’t hit balls when I use the mirror – most of the time it’s done in my basement. I find it allows me to slow down my thinking and really figure out what may be off in my swing at that moment (if I’m struggling). Of course, it also gives me feedback on some of the basics like ball position, alignment and posture. Every golfer should have a full-length mirror somewhere in their home.
5. Play a Game
This is another reason you should have a launch monitor. If you have access to a Trackman you can do the Trackman Combine, a 60 shot challenge that gives you a score at the end. Check out this video of Jason Dufner doing the combine. If you don’t have Trackman than be creative to figure out some different ways to test yourself and keep your focus.
Next week I’ll post a few of the games that I play indoors. Hopefully they’ll help keep your game sharp over the cold winter months.