September 18, 2023

Lee Rhind: Teach Your Students How to Practice With Focus

Lee Rhind, the 2015 Northern Texas PGA Section Assistant Professional of the Year and 2019 Section PGA Professional Development Award Recipient, is the PGA Director of Instruction at Midland Country Club in Midland, Texas.

Lee Rhind on the importance of teaching your students how to practice with focus:

How people practice is as important as whether they practice at all. As coaches, we must teach our students how to make the most of their limited practice time, getting them to focus on the topics covered in their lessons and player development plan. Traditional block practice sessions continue to be a necessary part of practice, paying attention to the mechanics of their swing, while ensuring the correct setup. But, when time is an issue, a more structured practice session is the most productive to achieving students’ long-term goals. I teach my students about the benefits of random practice, highlighting that this does not have to take place on the golf course. Students should utilize their range time to play some holes “in their head” using the targets and distances available on the practice range. This “one shot at a time” concept helps recreate the on-course experience in their abbreviated practice time on the range. At the end of the day, the point is to get the ball in the hole, which is a concept that sometimes gets lost in our focus on technique and repetition. Supplementing this random practice with drills and protocols that reinforce what we discussed during our lesson is another significant aspect to productive practice, and many of them can be implemented at home when time is truly an issue. Too often we hear about golfers who hit quality golf shots on the practice range, only to see far fewer good shots on the course – we need to reduce this disconnect and liken practice to actual play.

Lee Rhind on the business impact of teaching your students how to practice with focus:

As is the case in all aspects of our business, communication is the most important factor in helping students improve. Analyzing their skills and communicating a plan for improvement is vital. Helping them know how and what to practice will render greater results and quicker progress. Students send me videos to analyze and I provide feedback between lessons that reinforces the importance of practicing with a purpose. Most of my students are members who, with work and family, do not have hours and hours to dedicate to practice. Getting them laser focused has been a great part of my success as a teacher here in Midland. I have several students from local colleges, as well as local high school golfers returning home from colleges they attend out of the area. The structure of their practice often differs from my typical student. Communication and structured practice sessions are important to continuing improvement of our students’ skills. Helping students reduce their scores will render long-term success for you as well.

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