Some people have an easy time making swing changes, but for some it’s more difficult. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to the difficulty each individual will have when trying to make a change. We focus on what we call the “11 Characteristics”. These characteristics are what we’ve found to be the biggest indicators to how easily a player will be able to make changes to their golf swing.
The saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has a grain of truth to it. No matter your age, it is possible to make a swing change, however, it is much easier to do when you are younger for a variety of reasons. Much of it has to do with a multitude of habits that have formed over the years.
Much like age, the number of years played effects how engrained certain habits are. If we have two players that are nearly identical in every other way aside from the fact that one is fairly new to the game and one has been playing their entire life, the person that is new to the game will have an easier time breaking old habits and forming new ones.
Playing sports at any point in your life provides you a base level of athleticism, especially ones requiring hitting, throwing, or kicking. The rate of learning in golf is expedited when someone has already gone through a similar process at some other time when learning a different sport.
Physical Screen Results
Your body’s physical capabilities such as stability, mobility, strength, or power affect the time it takes to make a change. If there are any parts of the screen that require improvement to support a swing change, the more time will be needed to learn a new motor pattern.
Injuries, even if they happened years ago, can influence how your body moves, even if you aren’t aware of it. Sometimes compensations have to be made due to range of motion issues stemming from the injury, or lingering pain can cause a person to avoid certain movements or positions. If that is the case, making a swing change can be very challenging if it requires you to work around the injury.
This characteristic is a little broad, but really breaks down two ways: Complimentary vs Uncomplimentary. Does your lifestyle support or hinder your ability to make the changes that you’re working on? For example: if your golf game requires better posture, are you actively working on that throughout the day, or hunched over at a desk for hours on end?
This characteristic can be a little broad as well. Some people have that “athletic gene” and can learn new things quickly after just a few attempts, while others struggle. Some people are prone to being more flexible, while others are tighter. That is not to say that genetics will automatically make you a good or bad golfer, but being aware of natural talents or limitations can greatly improve rate of learning.
This one is fairly self explanatory: the person that has more time to dedicate to practice and improving their game will improve faster than someone with less time.
A growth mindset that views challenges, effort, mistakes, and feedback as positive tools for improvement will progress faster than someone with a fixed mindset that sees them as setbacks and obstacles to overcome.
Deliberate practice – or focusing intently on exactly what you’re trying to improve, will greatly expedite the learning process over mindlessly hitting balls and hoping to “figure it out”.
Like with all things in life, a strong work ethic speeds up the process. The questions below will help you determine your work ethic. Being able to honestly say yes to all 5 puts you in the best position to get the most out of your time with us.
1. Do you have complete trust in our team and our process?
2. Do you have a sense of responsibility for your effort and performance?
3. Do you emphasize quality when you practice and train?
4. Do you have discipline and are you detail oriented?
5. Do you understand that success will come from teamwork?
All of these characteristics affect the rate at which you can learn, but by no means do they limit how much you can learn. Being aware of how these characteristics will affect how easily you can make changes is important in ensuring you don’t get frustrated during the learning process.