Long-Term Athletic Development

What is Long Term Development training?

Research in sports science and kinesiology has shown that most players follow a familiar pattern to reaching a world class level in their sport.  This pattern is outlined for golf in a book we would recommend for any parent of an aspiring junior golfer called High Performance Golf by Henry Brunton.  Here are some highlights from the book:

·       Deliberate Practice – one area that we focus on here at the Academy is deliberate practice. Training aids like the plane board, impact station and MEGSA help a student ingrain fundamentals that they can use for a life time. In addition, having practice menus for putting, short game, wedges and full swing aids a student in quality practice time. Supervised practice sessions are also provided in our junior programs which are observed by all of our top instructors.

·       Stages of Development - we often get asked when should a student start focusing on golf.  Here is one example:

o   The sampling years (ages 6-12) – this age range is encouraged to play multiple sports and develop general athleticism, this age is also the main ages for speed generation

o   The specializing years (ages 13-15) – this age range is encouraged to start playing one sport with more deliberate practice for their specified sport

o   The invest years (16 and over) – full commitment to one sport with highly skilled coaching

How do you learn a skill?

The process of skill acquisition is a very misunderstood topic for many of our students. Dr. Rick Jensen states the steps of mastery of a skill as follows: Understanding Cause and Effect, Supervised Practice, Transfer Training, Play. These steps can never be skipped even by the best athletes. 

·       Understanding Cause and Effect: our job as instructors and coaches are to help the students understand why the ball goes where it goes and a player’s tendencies.

·       Supervised Practice: a vital part to progress for a student is to have a practice plan where quality vs. quantity practice is emphasized.  We do this by helping the student’s create practice stations, use the MEGSA and various training aids to provide feedback.  Research has shown that students who have feedback when practicing will develop quicker then students without feedback.

·       Transfer Training: the driving range at the Academy is uniquely designed to help assist the player in transfer training from their practice station to the course with such tools as the Zone Poles*, the Red Paper Drill* and focusing on a player’s routine.

·       Play: every great player has a system for playing golf. This system starts with how they practice; to how they make and use yardage books, to the strategy they attack a course. The way a student practices should mirror their system for playing, something we work with our students on a regular basis.


*The Zone Poles and Red Paper Drills are proprietary drills used at the Academy