September 28, 2018

Jaime Gylan: Teach Your Students an Efficient Practice Regimen

Jaime Gylan is the PGA Director of Instruction at Royal Manchester Golf Links, in Mount Wolf, Pennsylvania.

Jaime Gylan on the importance of teaching your students an efficient practice regimen:
It has long been my philosophy that you can play good golf without a swing that mirrors Adam Scott, or any of today’s Tour superstars. To promote the lower scores that my students so desire, I teach them how to practice in the most efficient and productive manner. I explain to them the difference between block practice and random practice, the former being all about repetition on the range, buckets of balls, often many shots with one club or sometimes working through their bag to develop a new skill we introduced in a recent lesson. The latter of the two types of practice can be done on the range or practice area where the student creates real-life scenarios that mirror situations he or she might encounter on the course. We have six target greens on the range that students are required to hit in succession prior to moving on to new tasks. However, if available, the most efficient use of their practice time is on the golf course, with its varying lies and pin positions, slopes and undulations. We end our lessons with me telling them “this is what I want you to do when you’re not here”. I stress to them that there is a time and situation for each type of practice. Playing the game on the golf course is the ideal way to determine where one’s faults lie and what needs to be improved the most. I tell them not to feel bad about playing, rather than them thinking they must comply with the misnomer that you have to spend hours at the range to improve. By teaching them how to keep stats of their rounds, I am better able to keep tabs on them. Once we get on the same page regarding short and long-term performance goals, I can get to what’s really important, Process Goals. These are the things they should be doing every day when their coach (aka ME) is not around. They learn how to notice tendencies and how to self-correct what needs correcting. Whether spending hours on the range or time on the course, requiring dedicated practice time of your students makes them accountable for their progress, just as coaches in other sports have done forever.

Jaime Gylan on the business impact of teaching your students an efficient practice regimen:
The greatest impact of “encouraging” efficient, organized “practice with a purpose” is the ultimate improvement of skills that result in lower scores. If these goals are not being met, either we’re not teaching or they’re not practicing. Practicing on the course or even on the range, in that random fashion explained earlier makes them better players under pressure, and as we all know, you don’t have to be in a professionally-sanctioned event to feel pressure. Who doesn’t want to beat their buddy on a Sunday morning or better yet, their husband on a Saturday afternoon? The confidence they gain from knowing how to approach a ball that lies above their feet or a shot that must be flown over water is as valuable as the swing positions we demonstrate on a video teaching system or the statistics spewed by a launch monitor. These very important aspects of golf instruction have a wonderful place in the lessons I conduct during those cold Pennsylvania winters, as well as in between the vital on-course sessions. Communicating effectively with students, and teaching them to do the same after their practice is important to a productive teacher-student relationship. We have to consider what’s going to bring a player back, whether for continued improvement or simply increased rounds. Create a plan, a time frame, goals and expectations. Students will appreciate your efforts and you’ll see that in your retention rates.


To email the author of this best practice directly, email jaimegylan@raspberrygolfacademy.com