Week 2 Update
Chipping, Moving Forward, and Missed Practice
Welcome Players! Chipping was the name of the game this week. Practicing touch around the greens and battling unexpected life events made for an stress-test of the structure I built. Happy to announce my progress held up to par and we took another step forward this week.
Training Week in Review
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Week 2 is in the books! It was a week with no shortage of external stressors, unplanned events, and progress in key areas.
Let’s get right into it.
Training Week in Review
The tale of the tape here is that I missed 3 days of skill practice but got 2 high-quality days in of a full-chipping practice on grass at the range. Not great - but not terrible either. Forward progress albeit in a sub-optimal way. I’ll take it.
I’ll try to fill in a bit of context here without going into too much detail.
Wins: 3 hours spent at the course on the chipping greens working on my short game around the green. Highly effective practice sessions with a full warm-up at the beginning of each, clear defined improvement goals, and quality repetitions spread out in a positive environment. I got better these days.
Apple fiasco: I spent a combined 7 hours on the phone with Apple Support trying to get my phone repaired, which kicked off by spending two and a half hours at the apple store on the 11th until 9pm. By time I got home I was tired, frustrated, hungry, and otherwise fried. Would be not putting practice that night.
Lack of discipline: the 13th was a busy day. Open ocean swim in the morning, work in the afternoon, and quality time with my girlfriend in the evening. No other way to cut it - I lacked discipline to carve out 30 minutes to practice throughout the day.
Work film: Another very busy day. Spent 6+ hours filming a database of exercise and movements for a project I’m working on. Required me to demo over 190+ exercises for multiple reps. I got home and was physically exhausted. I could have practiced but opted to let my body take a much needed physical rest.
In order of day completed I did the following for physical training:
85-minute road cycling in zone 1
Resistance training workout
30 minute open-ocean swim
25-minute home yoga
No programmed workout but physically taxing events
This was a little bit of a disorganized week and I had to adjust on the fly frequently. The open ocean swim was planned last-minute and in training that day was scheduled for a long zone-2 road cycling session, but I took the opportunity to swim with friends and still benefited from it.
All things considered I got better physically this week, although similar to habits it was admittedly sub-optimal.
Wins: 5/7 day workouts with one day counted from nature of performing so many exercises outside of a planned training session. Variety of training stimuli bodes well for continuing to adapt in positive direction without generating a tolerance.
Losses: Would have liked to have another aerobic conditioning day. Swimming was more anaerobic due length of swim and having to fight currents. Wore my HR monitor but think it had difficulty staying in range while in the ocean.
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.
This was a good week for my nervous system! Everything stayed not only within range but at the upper end of that range. My HR had 2 below-average RHR measurements which signals to me a positive adaptation to training (yellow circle), and then on the 16th posted a much higher RHR score than normal. This coincides with a one-day acute drop in HRV also on the 16th, which I expected due to the very intense nature of my activity on the 15th (demo’ing all those exercises over 6 hours was not easy!).
I took the proper time to recover, ate more food (+calories), and erred on the side of caution by taking extra rest days to make sure I wouldn’t turn the corner and enter a down-trend.
Wins: Stayed within range entire week, used data to effectively manage my training & recovery so no negative accumulation took place. Survive + advance.
Losses: None! The one day of acute low HRV + high HR measurements is to be expected after an extremely strenuous session. That is actually a good thing! The body is responding.
In my week 1 update I identified chipping and strokes around the green as a major limiter to my performance. In lieu of that assessment I made this statement:
“I’m going to commit to getting to the range twice this week and taking a bucket of balls to the chipping green. Not only is missing chips hurt on the scorecard, but it’s also a huge mental defeat on the course for me because you’re so close if you just hit it well, and to see a mishit send the ball into a worse position than before is exhausting.” - Week 1 Update
And using that as my guide, I stayed true to my word! Around 300 practice chips hit over 2 different practice sessions. I worked on developing a consistent chipping stroke, hitting green side flag shots, lofting far-side green chips, and hitting low-runners to varying distances. I worked on <5yd chips up to 30yd chips and played around with different positions with ball on a down-slope and up-slope. It was a very productive practice week in terms of the goal I set to improve that area of my game.
Below is a video of my chip and the feedback I got from my coach.
It’s vitally important to record videos of yourself not just in golf, but in any skill practice. Our brain learns in so many different ways; visually seeing your own motion played back helps reconcile the motion you want to create with the ability to create that motion.
It also makes it easier to identify flaws or validate correct movements.
I mentioned in the introduction to Project Par that I had a team of people I trusted that were going to help me on this journey2 and I believe it’s important if you take your skill practice seriously to build a team in some capacity.
My golf coach is a professional golf player himself and close friend. Not only do I trust his abilities but I trust his judgment in the progression of my own skill. This is an important piece - if you’re going to be a student you need to know how to be coachable.
The quickest way to find yourself on your own is to go through the effort of securing a coach and then not listening to what they say or even worse thinking you know more than them. I trust my coach completely and will do exactly what he tells me. His feedback is one reason I’m confident I will progress quickly. He’s the one who got me down to shooting 92 in years prior!
It also allows me to off-load the mental energy of what I should be practicing in terms of golf. I already am managing all my own physical training, recovery, schedule, habits, etc. To have to plan and consider all the impacts to golf skill would be overload for me. By ‘outsourcing’ my skill development to a coach I can turn my brain off and just follow directions for practicing and improvement.
It was a good week! I’m happy with the progress I’ve made on chipping and that I was able to uphold my physical training above minimum thresholds for adaptation. I handled scheduling adversity well, although not as well as I’d like, and am comfortable with the affect of the decisions I made.
I won’t be changing any goals for Week 3. I’ll continue to stay committed to chipping practice at the range twice this week and will look to incorporate my coach’s feedback so that I can have a more consistent chipping stroke that gets more flight on the ball for a softer landing. Improved touch around the greens is a big focus.
The one caveat that I’ll add is I am going to go into this week with a renewed focus on not allowing deterrents to knock me off my gameplan. I made excuses for why I couldn’t practice putting at home. That’s on me. This week I won’t allow those same excuses to take hold. There’s no reason I can’t take AT LEAST 15 minutes to roll 10-20 putts on carpet at home.
I’m hoping to play a round this weekend on Sunday if the schedule allows it. I’d like to carry over my chipping practice into a game-environment and lock in some of the adaptation. If the timing doesn’t work out I won’t stress it - adding another practice day is moving forward.
Progress! See you next week.
How’s your ‘Project Par?’ going? Let me know what positive things you’ve seen in your goal so far and how the Train Like a Pro community can help continue!
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is purely educational in nature and should be filtered through ones own lens of common sense and applicability.
I will have a dedicated post introducing each of my team members if and when they’re comfortable with that