If you're constantly slicing the golf ball or never feel like you're getting enough power in your swing, my guess is that there's something not quite right with your body.
Most golfers have very selective memories. I'm sure you know players that can give you a network-TV-quality play-by-play of a brilliant approach shot they hit 23 years ago or of a drive to within a foot of the cup they hit in college. Ask them -- at the end of a round -- why their shoes are full of sand or why they're a couple of sleeves of balls lighter than when the round began, though, and suddenly memories become foggy.
The truth is that the most important shot you hit isn't that majestic once-in-a-lifetime drive that finds the green on a par-four; it's the shot that you -- repeatedly-- hit fat or that you -- repeatedly -- slice or hook.
These are the shots you need to appreciate and understand. These are the shots that are going to help you improve your game. These "misses" are the keys to making you a better player. If you want to be the best player you can, you need to know -- and understand -- your "miss."
I've been working with professional athletes for over 25 years and have been working with PGA Tour golfers since 2000. The most successful athletes I've worked with -- and I purposely did not use the phrase "best athletes" -- understand the concept of knowing your miss. Again, they weren't always the best athletes, but they were the smartest athletes. They knew that the key to success was to identify weaknesses -- not to ignore them. They knew their "misses." They knew these "misses" were the symptoms that there were weaknesses in their game. More naturally gifted athletes that opted to simply play to their strengths only got so far. They could never make it to that next level, because ultimately -- at some point -- their weaknesses would be exposed…and exploited.
The best players that I've worked with -- Vijay Singh, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowle, Keegan Bradley -- understand the importance of knowing their misses.
And if players who have won numerous times on the PGA Tour -- and have notched victories in Majors -- still have misses that they need to address, I'm guessing you might, too.
If you're constantly slicing the ball or never feel like you're getting enough power in your swing, my guess is that there's something not quite right with your body. Odds are there's nothing seriously wrong with you. In fact, you probably feel perfectly healthy and fine -- other than when you're topping the ball or creating excavation-site-sized divots. Something, though, about your body as it pertains to performing the action of correctly swinging a golf club is probably a little bit out of whack.
Here's a situation I see all the time. A player tries to correct his slice by going out and hitting bucket after bucket of balls.
He may play around with his foot position or adjust his stance a bit, but other than a few shots that travel straight, the majority continue to fly off to the right. Did hitting 1,200 balls help him fix his swing? No. And the odds are that all that practice actually made him better at slicing the ball. He's now really, really good at it!
Let's look at it objectively:
Say your car is pulling to the right. Does it make sense to spend an afternoon speeding up and down stretches of highway -- occasionally letting go of the wheel and hoping the car doesn't pull to the right? No. You take your car to the mechanic who figures out that some part -- or parts -- may be too tight, too worn down, or some combination of the two. He fixes what needs to be fixed and your car no longer pulls to the right. You can do the exact same thing with your body.
One of my favorite quotes is "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
Trying to fix your golf game by unsystematically and unscientifically going out and hitting a ton of balls is the very definition of insanity.
Once you decide to embrace -- and not ignore -- your miss, you can start to peel away the layers of the onion and scientifically figure out the flaws in your body that are leading to the flaws in your swing.
The best in the game get better because they know the importance of knowing -- and learning from -- your miss.
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