Week 12 Update
Tangible Improvements and One More Week of Q1
Welcome Players! At the week 12 mark I’ve gotten into a very consistent groove in setting a great foundation for my goals. And this week was the first week it started to really pay off. I’m training harder, practicing better, and will look to translate all these improvements onto the course at the end of Q1. Check out what’s been going right in this weeks update!
Training Week in Review
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Training Week in Review
I promise I’m not leaning into this narrative because it fits, but believe me when I say this:
Ironically, at the 12-week (3-month) mark, I can finally say for the first time I’m feeling tangible changes occur as a result of my training.
The first major one is seeing a positive change in my endurance capacity. I used to be physically tired from hitting a large bucket of balls at the range. That was nothing new so for the past few months I have just been hitting a medium bucket, and that’s including the first ~20 balls or so being warm-up shots and then another 10-15 being chip shots dispersed in-between.
But starting last week I would finish the medium bucket and be looking around for who left extra balls on the range and hit those too. Then I’d still have energy to go chip. And then this week I do all that and STILL had energy so went and spent some time on the putting green. Oh, and I’m hitting a large bucket now for my longer practices.
I’m finally starting to get into highly effective, full-scope golf practice. And that’s something that I mostly attribute to my off-course strength & conditioning program of which a large percentage has been focused on building endurance.
I believe endurance, specifically conditioning, is severely under-trained in athletic golfers. You want to play at a high-level of physical and mental coordination for over 4 hours (including warm-ups) - how do you expect to prepare your body for that amount of effort without targeted conditioning training?
I didn’t ponder that for too long before making up a bulk of my training to be developing aerobic capacity. You can read more on my thought process of why here. If I were to break my training down into % of total time spent participating, my conditioning training would far exceed my resistance or strength training. I would surmise it being close to double if not more!
In the meantime I’ve been getting stronger and feeling better, but most importantly I've prepared my body to handle the physical rigors of practice day-in, day-out. Still got 9 more months to go.
Wins: I believe, and the stats (prior posts) can back me up, but this might be the first week I’ve had 7 consecutive days of focused golf skill practice! Slow and steady really does win the race. Capped off by three full range-sessions, one being with some instruction from my coach (more on that later).
In order of day completed I did the following for physical training:
26mi Z3 conditioning
Wins: Two RT, a conditioning, and a yoga. Was hitting balls on the rest days. A full week! You might be wondering what I’d consider a good weak as my subjective analysis changes pretty differently. I’d summarize it as follows: 1-2 RT/wk, 1-2 conditioning/wk, 1-2 yoga wk, and 1-2 rest days a week. If I can do that, things are going well.
Losses: None! Although I think I am going to start quantifying my range/practice session days as a training day now that they are getting more intense and I am factoring them into my training decisions. I’ve noticed that it might seem like when I take a “rest” day I’m not doing anything which is more often than not the case. I rarely will train physically on days when I go practice so most of the time I am taking a practice day instead of a training day, or vice-versa, depending on how my body feels & my recovery measurements.
The three main physiological metrics I track are Heart Rate (HR), Heart Rate Variability via rMSSD (HRV), and Sleep Opportunity (SO).
Quick legend: Gray bars are daily scores, blue line is trend line, and green range is moving average.
Things are looking really good.
My heart rate is the lowest its been consecutively since I’ve started tracking, and it’s hit the lowest singular measurement I’ve had to date (50 RHR), which is a great sign that signals I’m adapting positively to my conditioning training on the bike.
My HRV is staying at the upper range of my moving average, another great sign that tells me I’m recovering fully between each bout of training regardless of it being in the gym, on the bike, or at the golf course.
And my sleep, which I always make a priority, is staying one.
You can’t ask for anything more than positive physiology data to verify the assumptions you have on your training. Onward!
I’ve got three different videos this week spread across two range sessions.
The first is a solo-practice where I definitely had way too much caffeine and was trying to crush the ball. Sub-consciously of course, but when I drink caffeine before golf I get the reaction of gripping to hard with my hands and being over-dominant with my upper-body. I’ll need to make a coordinated effort to tone down the caffeine on practice + playing days.
The second video is from my second practice of the week (with less caffeine intake thankfully). It’s worthy to note that I was hitting the ball pretty well here! But my swing still had it’s classic deficiencies of an over-the-top fault and a lack of separation between upper and lower body.
Now this third video, is the money video. In between the 2nd and 3rd video I spent about 30 minutes getting instruction from my coach. We worked on literally two things:
Getting the hands HIGH in the backswing
Getting the clubshaft to point down-range at the top of my takeaway
If I could get into that position than all I need to do is be patient with my hands allowing the upper body to drive the rotational power of the swing and continue to rotate through.
This is what the improvements gave me:
If you pay attention to ball-contact you might not see much of a difference. But if you pay attention to the technique at which I execute and those swings are night and day. Compared to the first video and it’s hard to find a similarity!
Overall it was a great week because I picked up the feeling I need to get to in my backswing in order to be in a good match-up to start the downswing with my hips allowing my hands to drop and shallow out the club shaft.
I’ll need to continuously rep rep rep this out over the next few weeks until the swing change becomes a part of my motor pattern. If you read my article on skill acquisitionyou’ll know there are plenty of things I can (and will) be doing to speed that process up!
I haven’t had time, or properly taken the time, to go through my data of the past three months and truly evaluate how far I’ve come.
In some parts I’m a bit afraid.
I’m afraid that I’ll look back and see that I really haven’t accomplished that much.
Or that when I look at the numbers I won’t have accomplished as much as I wanted to.
Or worse, that when I look back and see how much I’ve accomplished in three months I’ll be discouraged as to what the next 9 months will hold.
These are all valid fears in my book. I might just hold off on analyzing all together.
But I’m also, for better or worse, an extremely logical and well-reasoned person. I may have some negative thoughts that make me afraid of analyzing my data, but on the other side of the token I’m also extremely proud of what I’ve done throughout this process.
I’ve put together and executed three months of consistent training. I’ve practiced, lifted, cycled, recovered, gotten sick, travelled, missed sessions, and spent quite a fair bit of time trying to get better.
And I’ve loved every second of it!
I don’t want my structured and organized approach to achieving my goal to take away from the fun I’m having on the journey.
Technically the round I’m playing on Friday will mark the end of my Q1 and I’ll do a full report on KPI’s, KPM’s, and maybe try and organize this data into a better big-picture view.
But right now that’s not important. It’s the same head-down, back to the grind mentality.
I want to put together another good week. Just one.
(and then do it all over again).
See you when I get there!