Training Habits Part 1- Jordan Spieth
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n a time where TrackMan, Biomechanics the use of Forceplates and SAMPutt Lab has become common place in the teaching and development of golf, Cameron McCormick Australian coach to the young PGATour sensation Jordan Spieth sheds a different light on coaching and player development. In part 1 on practice habits I’m dealing directly with the advanced to tour level player who has a full-time schedule based around their practice and tournament play
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In early 2000, I remember listening to Butch Harmon, who, at the time, was coach to world No.1 Tiger Woods. “The most teaching I’ve ever done was with Tiger Woods although there comes a time when the teaching stops and the coaching carries on”. No wonder Butch has had so much success with a broad variety of students with varying swing characteristics and styles. It’s a lot about training skills versus training styles.

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As a coach I’ve always been fascinated with training habits, getting my students to use their time effectively and ensure they have quality time with the high quantity of hours they are putting in. It’s safe to say that elite players place a lot of emphasis on intense quality controlled practice. Make no mistake there are no short cuts when it comes to reaching the top tier on the world stage. Developing the countless array of short game and scoring shots needed to keep from having the weekend off, especially when they’re not firing on all cylinders. As Ben Hogan stated ‘there’s not enough hours in the day to practice all the shots you need’.

Recently I was in contact with Spieth’s coach Australian born Cameron McCormick. I wanted to better understand how an experienced coach pre plans a training regimen for someone like Spieth. McCormick divides key factors such as pre-competition phase, in-season competition phase and off-season phase. Here’s what a typical practice schedule looks like for a player the calibre of Jordan Spieth and how his coach structures his training during these various phases.

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When Spieth is in town his schedule typically follows some mix of the following:

– Physical Training with Damon Goddard 4 of 7 days/week, typically in the morning

– 2-3 training sessions per week with McCormick this can last from 1 hour to 3 hours

– Skills training following guidelines from their time together

– On-course play would see Spieth playing pretty much daily.

Skills Mode vs. Form Mode

Depending on the window of time they have before his next event Spieth may be in full skills mode – high priority on ball control and outcomes. This would include target training sets of ten balls, with all even or odd-numbered clubs. Spieth has to stay on the range before he meets certain standards, having to hit nine out of ten 9-irons within a 30-foot wide area, all solid contact. Or he would be in form mode getting in reps in acquisition of adaptation. Either way the ratio of play to practice and then the ‘what’ of practice will change.

Pre-Competition Phase

Typically 5 days before the event he will shift fully into target/ball control and 80% playing to shoot scores. Shot shaping and target, and fade away from technique. Same with the putter; Spieth became a great putter with the style change and then training the skills correctly.

This pre-competitive work will follow playing 18 holes then review and work on skills challenges from the round…always with deductive logic (detach emotionally from the round and reflect on skills strengths and weaknesses) then spend time in improvement mode either that day or the next day before he plays again.

One of the key traits of any great coach is to give their student self-awareness and to develop them into a self-sufficient player. A player who has self-awareness knowing what the body feels like, where the golf club is during the swing and what contact feels like, can create minor adjustments that allows them to play. McCormick see’s Speith as a very self-sufficient player, they  have worked together for over eight years and the training pathway they are laid out has certainly been a recipe for success.

For more information on training technique download your FREE copy of my eBook series part 1 – The New Wave:

The Scoring Zone – Part 1 The New Wave

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Related Posts:

New Rules of Training – Parts 1-3 – November 13th, 2013

New Rules of Training – Parts 4-6 – November 20th, 2013

New Rules of Training – Parts 7-9 – November 26th, 2013

The Improvement Process To Lower Scores – September 19th, 2011

From Teaching To Coaching – June 28th, 2011

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