Week 11 Update
One Step at a Time
Welcome Players! You won’t always feel your best when you’re at your best, and you won’t always be at your best when you feel your best. That’s just the way it goes. This week I was more like the former, feeling not-so-hot but still getting a helluva lot done anyway. The more good week’s of training and practice I can put together, the better my chance at success.
Training Week in Review
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Training Week in Review
One of those weeks.
You know, where you’re just not “feeling it”.
Nothings wrong, really. You might have a little bit more work than usual to do, a few things go wrong and take up your time, you wake up a little groggier and go to sleep a little later.
Yup, one of those weeks.
I think this is the first week of Project Par where my motivation to improve was below normal. It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve been there you know the feeling.
I’m not one of those “NO PAIN, NO GAME. DO IT AT ALL COSTS. NO DAYS OFF!” etc. kind of guys.
I’m more of a do everything in balance, keep a solid perspective, respect the process, type of guys.
So when things are lower than normal I try not to stress it. I take it easy on myself, take care of the things in my control and forget about the things that aren’t.
So with that said I was happy to still train at a high level this week even if my head wasn’t as much in the skill practice. All things aside you might be surprised at how this week objectively isn’t any “worse” than previous weeks, but the context is just as important as the measurements.
Wins: I was practicing at home a lot. Putting & chipping 5-10 balls at a time intermittently throughout the day. After researching types of practice I started to incorporate a lot of variable practice into these setups. Putt until two in a row are smooth, then chip a few, putt a couple more, chip some, etc. I made no hard rule about the order and just flowed back and forth between the two. I also started chipping into my couch from my carpet (which is a high-risk move itself) and the feel of consistently hitting golf balls throughout the day is great, but I need to play and see if what I’m practicing transfers.
Losses: The goose egg on Saturday. Usually the weekends are my “money-times” to get solid golf practice in, but I had obligations and when it came time just didn’t make it out.
In order of day completed I did the following for physical training:
140 min cycling session
Wins: Two resistance training (RT) sessions, and two yoga sessions along with practice, that’s a solid week.
Losses: A second conditioning day would’ve been the best-case, but this wasn’t far behind.
The three main physiological metrics I track are Heart Rate (HR), Heart Rate Variability via rMSSD (HRV), and Sleep Opportunity (SO).1
Quick legend: Gray bars are daily scores, blue line is trend line, and green range is moving average.
The best these scores have been in a month at the least!
Low heart rate, HRV at the top of my range, and plenty of sleep opportunity. Interestingly enough I did have two (+ a missed measurement) days with scores that weren’t great, but it demonstrates the effect of having an “energy bank”. I took this term from “sleep bank” which is where the more amount of consecutive nights of quality sleep you have the more days you can go on sub-optimal sleep without negative effects. Basically, if you get a week of great nights sleep and have great heart metrics, you can go an extra day or two with a few hours less sleep without it affecting you.
I think the same concept applies for all of the metrics I track: the more consecutive days of good scores I go the more buffer I have against negative effects when poor environments eventually do arise.
The camera angle wasn’t on-line for a single shot but that’s OK.
I made decent ball contact and was able to improve some of my feels especially in the 2nd half of the practice.
The biggest difference you’ll notice is I started to vary the structure a lot. After reading the literature on challenging the brain via unique “tasks” to improve motor skill learning I knew it was crucial to incorporate it into my own practice. You can read that article and the explanation here:
For my skill level I decided to utilize block hitting until I felt “comfortable” with the shot I was trying to hit. Maybe 2, 3 balls in a row of well-struck shots. If I wasn't hitting the ball the way I wanted, I repeated until I got to an acceptable comfort. Then I’d either have a different shot goal, change targets, or change clubs. This significantly made practice harder, because I was more engaged. I was mentally challenging myself on every shot, not just going on auto-pilot and speed-running through a bucket of balls. I really interacted with the club-ball relationship more because I was under more scenarios to explore.
I even started practicing this way at home, no more than 5 putts or chips in a row before changing something about the scenario. I think the transition to a more engaging-type practice is really going to pay off dividends over time. I’ve noticed while I’m still trying to get my swing to an efficient pattern I’ve also got to start just playing better regardless of what swing I have. It doesn’t need to be perfect to score well.
While it was a subjectively harder week, the objective plan says full-systems go.
Training went well, practice was going well-enough, and the physiology backs me up. I guess it’s a nice feeling knowing my numbers are still good even though I’m not feeling that way. A statistical pick-me up, if you will.
Good news is I get to go into next week with a week full of momentum and a new chance at progress.
See you next week!