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Does Taking Time Off Between Sessions Set You Back?
How Often Should You Practice, How Long You Should Practice and How Many Repetitions Are Necessary

Does Taking Time Off Between Practice Sessions Set You Back?
Learn how often you should practice, how long your practice sessions should be and how many repetitons you should make.Quality Practice Sessions

Do you practice enough? Is it how often you practice, the length of your practice sessions or the amount of swings that's most important? It's a good question and one that every golfer asks themselves. You may be confused as to how much practice and what kind is right for you. That's most likely because there is a lot of conflicting information on the subject. Experts often disagree on how much time you need to put into practice, how many repetitions you need to make to learn somtheing new or fix a problem and whether or not time off can set you back.

How Often Should You Practice?

The first professional to make practice mainstream was Ben Hogan. Of course golfers practiced their games before Hogan's time, but not to the extent that he did. Practice sessions mostly consisted of a quick pre-round warm up. Indidvidual practice sessions were somewhat scarce and by most accounts fairly short. Hogan was the one that stated you had to "dig it out of the dirt" expressing how he thought his success came from hours of sweat and toil on the practice range. I believe he was the one that said that skipping even one day could set him back a week in progress. One thing is for sure, nowadays it's rare to find a champion who doesn't put in hours of practice. Nearly all professionals do. Those hours include time on the course, time on the range, time around the greens, time in the gym, time in lessons with their coach and even time spent on pracitcing their mental game. Yes, some people are born talented, but to be truly great at this game requires time and dedication. The answer to the question "should you practice?" will be a resounding "yes" by all great teachers of the game. I don't think you find one that argues against it. Believe it or not many people who are reading this article don't practice and never have. It's not uncommon at all for me to give a lesson and in the interview process find out that the student has never been to the range before. This may shock you, but it's true. A lot of people just don't know that they should practice or don't believe it will help them. The thing is, practice helps everyone and I believe some practice is better than none at all. Even if the practice isn't perfect I believe it still helps your hand/eye coordination, your golf fitness and your timing. So does time off between practice sessions matter. Even though there are those that have a keen understanding in their mind's eye of what they are trying to do in their swing, for most people too much time off does set them back. The more frequent the practice the better, even if it's only swinging indoors due to lack of time.

How Long Should You Practice?

Is one hour of practice enough or is four hours better? What is the proper duration for a practice session? It's not all about time. It's about quality. Of course you want to leave yourself enough time to cover everything in your game. Be careful not to short change your putting or short game because you are consumed with a swing change. Thirty minutes of quality time working on your swing is most likely just as good as 3 hours. In fact, the longer you go, the more you fatigue and the more chance you will start to get sloppy. You may end up grooving some slop into your swing because you didn't quit soon enough. Most good players have felt this more than once in their careers. Your practice session is going so well that you get into a groove. It feels good and you can't stop. Soon enough you've lost it as you start to tire and fall apart, thinking you should have left on a high note. The best advice is to give it enough time develop consistency and then know when to make an exit.

How Many Repetitions Should You Make?

Should you make 100 repetitions while you are on the range or 500? As I stated there is bunches of conflicting information on the subject of repetitions. I believe that's because no one really knows for sure. When I first started teaching I was recommended a book by Chuck Hogan. In it he states you should practice a new move sixty times a day for twenty one days in a row to get it so ingrained where you no longer have to think about it. So I went with it and gave it as a goal for all my students. Then Dave Pelz came out with his book "Putt Like the Pros" and said "It takes 10,000 successful repetitions before your new muscle memory begins to overcome (20,000 to replace) the muscle memory of your old stroke." Now I was confused. That is a vast difference! What matters most is that they are quality repetitions. Doing the wrong thing over and over is not going to help you. Is a person better off if they made 20 correct practice swings versus 200 swings with good and bad moves mixed in? I vote for the 20 quality swings. Quality is best and repeatedly bringing up the wrong way keeps it all too much alive. Leave your old way in your rear view mirror and try to pioneer on with the new you.

The Situation:

You are confused as to how often and how long your practice sessions should be and how many repetitions need to be made during those sessions.

The Solution:

The perfect formula for improving and maintaining is frequent practice sessions with enough quality swings to get in a groove. Be careful to quit while the quitting is good before you fatigue and start to fall apart. Always leave the practie tee on a high note if possible even if it means sacrificing that one expensive ball in your bag!

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
- More about Maria
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