Golf Practice - How to Practice Golf with Zach Parker of Gravity Fit and a D1 College Golfer

Golf practice and how to practice golf have been a hot topic recently. In this episode Team GLT discuss, with Zach Parker of Gravity Fit, how they worked with a D1 college golfer from South Carolina Game Cocks to help him develop his mental game for golf, his golf swing, his golf fitness and his ability to perform on the golf course. Iain Highfield, Arick Zeigel and Zach Parker discuss how they set up a golf practice environment that allowed this D1 college golfer to add spacing, variability and challenge to his golf practice. As well as discussing the Gravity Fit training aid and how this helped the player, the team look at other coaching strategies that if modeled could help other college golfers improve their golf performance.


Golf practice-howtopracticegolfwzachpparkerofgravityfitgolf.mp4


[00:00:00] You are listening to the game like training podcast.


[00:00:03] Where we talk about golf practice golf and golf psychology the PGA Tour and college golf and all things off on this show we're going to be sharing our thoughts are beliefs and different strategies all with one goal in mind of helping coaches teach better golfers play better.


[00:00:21] Today I'm joined by Ian Highfield and our special guest Zach Parker. And I'm going to let you introduce that because I know you're going to a bad ass job I'm looking for it.


[00:00:31] Zach you are. Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy myself. Matthew joined you there. Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy. You were the director of golf. Then we founded the Bishopsgate Golf Academy where Eric came in and got a job. Eric moved to IGDA. I also was part time IGDA. And you stayed Bishopsgate for a little bit longer. Now you've taken the lead and got out on your own.


[00:01:01] Yeah.


[00:01:02] I mean it's been a it's been a decade that I've been in junior golf academies and I've had the privilege of running some of those junior golf academies and being in a position where we had the opportunity to build an incredible team of coaches and I've just been so fortunate. But I'm extremely excited to step out on my own and do my own thing in terms of continuing to coach the players that I coach and find other players there one opportunity to get better in this opportunity with gravity for just some really couples well with what I'm trying to do on my own coaching.


[00:01:35] Yeah so it's been a while since we've had coach together we had a couple of really good college players previously that we've worked with and today keep in the theme go in that we've had the last two podcasts myself and Eric talked about how professionals were practicing at the Alfred Donnell.


[00:01:55] We then reviewed social media and talked about some of the stuff that professional golfers have put out there about how they practice. So keeping that theme going off of how golfers should and could practice. We had a good college player with us today from South Carolina. And we want to spend about 10 minutes just talking about what we did with this player how we did it and why we did it that way. And you know we all know each other very well we all collaboratively coach because of our background in the Junior Golf Academy industry.


[00:02:31] And it's it was great again to have the chance to coach with you today so if you prefect's Teddy a little bit talk about your relationship with him and then I guess basically what what we did today and we can all chip in and throw some stuff about why this is in line with the Learning Sciences and why it helps players get better sometimes faster sometimes get better and retain and transfer skills and take them onto the golf course.


[00:03:02] Well I think coaching alongside of you guys allows us to make sure that the approach isn't just one dimensional. And I think today really proved that Teddy's. You know we've had the privilege of cogently for almost two and a half years now together. And the one thing about Teddy is it's never just one piece. It's not the fact that you know his lead wrist needs to honor DVOA or the fact that his partner needs to be more squared impact. It's both his psychological abilities that need to change as well as his physiological abilities and I think today the way that we set up the circuit allowed Teddy to experience all aspects of his training and then clearly see the low hanging fruit in today. You know we started out thinking it was going to be maybe in my domain and what we came to find out is the actual one component to the training that was just a place holder to create spacing was actually where we decide to make the biggest intervention. So that would never have happened if we weren't coaching together.


[00:04:14] So Eric Zach you were there before me. I I got off a flight. Came straight. It was a little bit late. So just keep it simple. What did you see in today's game when you did that initial analysis.


[00:04:32] Sure. So we use Trackman which is video Eric and I chatted but Teddy's glove face was opening in the transition and he was getting narrow. So we talked about helping him create a little bit of width by changing his lead wrist structure. And then as a result of that he started to explain how he felt stronger and better as a result of us doing something away from the ball which was using gravity fit to improve his posture and and then we built a circuit to expose his weaknesses so we had three balls where he had to do the drill clearly focusing on that lead rest. After three successful reps he had to go make a six foot putt if he made the part he moved on to the next station. If he didn't he repeated the first station the stack and station was just using the gravity fit to create a pastoral awareness as well as to create some engagement of not only his upper body but also into the pelvic floor. And after three successful wraps of that he then went and had to make a six foot putt. If he made it he then went to the final station which was 120 to 140 yard.


[00:05:48] He had to land two out of three balls inside of the sand pits on your guys range and if he made those two out of three successful he had to make a six foot part to complete at the end. And each time because of the spacing he was more deliberate with each learning trial. We can see in some of this footage that hopefully you guys link up the frustration that our. Leading.


[00:06:14] Back from the buiding Green Star had to have a negative effect on you know wrapt to three minutes in the future.


[00:06:22] So yeah you covered there what we wanted to achieve a bit over my head with the rest.


[00:06:30] I'm sure that you then talked about how we were going to achieve that with the practice circuit. So the goal of the practice circuit is to what you know why did we put it in a circle if you wanted to change something with his lead wrist. Why didn't you just ask him to hit thirty five balls in a row with what with it with his wrist at a certain position. What why did you do it in the way that you did it.


[00:07:02] I know your question is because you do know the answer but the reason is that I wanted it to actually change. I didn't want as leader is just to look good today. I wanted his lead wrist to look good in two weeks when he's in Hawaii competing for the University of South Carolina.


[00:07:18] So I tried to give him the opportunity to learn this skill and then have to relearn the skill as many times as possible in the time of the circuit.


[00:07:27] Awesome if I can jump and say one thing. I've only heard you guys talk about Teddy before. This is the first time that I've met him in person and obviously I've had I've kind of listened in on conversations Ian's had with him over the phone and whatnot. So I felt like I knew him a little bit but I've never watched him play never watching train. And the way that the circuit was set up. I felt like I got to know him very quickly and saw the frustration. It was pretty quick and apparent to me that you know there are areas like I would expect to see those reactions if he was playing competition and it was in a practice environment. Sure it was. I could tell the way it was structured. You know obviously was was optimal for him because he was getting frustrated by missing the pads and he was carrying it into the drills and he was starting to feel a little bit more here and there. And then you kind of have to step in and provide you know some insight farming an intervention of sorts. But it was just so cool for me to see it set up that way to get to feel like I was you know watching him in a tournament and his body language the things he was saying out loud some words that we can't share. It was it was just it was really well done.


[00:08:53] There was so meme it that as we said from the way that the the players practiced at the Alfred Donnell very specific to their needs.


[00:09:06] So a credit to you guys do analysis she did on Teddy and then the circuit that you built was very specific to his needs as an individual and then as we talked about last week about the British Masters Luke Donald the circuit contained variability in the circuit contained spacing and then challenge. And the challenge. I thought it was optimal for Teddy I thought it would pass relatively straightforward. I thought the last station here in the shots into the bunkers get two out of three I thought that was a very high challenge point. I thought the rest of the circuit was pretty straightforward but once he missed one six footer. And then he had to start the first station again and then he missed the sixth for again and the expletives that will get REMAUT were to bleep out start to come out and that's his tendency in tournament. So all of a sudden in a circuit where really the focus was the lead wrist and posture with gravity fit. Now we're starting to shift and talk about innoculate in the stress response and from knowing Teddie that's his biggest area for development for me he doesn't see potting as just a different individual task each time. If he misses one or two he starts to carry the baggage and he misses three four five six sets a day in the same in the same circuit while he was working on technical things there was a performance element that created stress and then we had to step in and give us strategies to help him inoculate the stress response. But not only were we giving them he was actively discover no we were letting him fail for a long time before we stepped in and you know from working with me I can wait quite a long time before I will step in I don't want to become a crutch for a dude and I want them to try and solve it first. So yeah I thought the I thought the circuit was was really good. And then obviously we took it to the golf course. So explain that a little bit more Zach explain what we did on the golf course.


[00:11:22] Yeah I think before we went to the golf course one of the barometers that I used to see off the circuit is actually effective is the fact that Teddy wouldn't allow us to leave for lunch and it was two o'clock already and he drove here at 5a.m. so he was obviously hungry but he wouldn't leave until he got it done. So there was this sense of something that I started I'm going to finish. Like you said inoculating the stress response is what Teddy needs. And just like he started turning it around he needs to finish it regardless of if he makes three birdies on the first three holes or three bogeys. He needs to show the grit and resilience that he did today in that circuit. So that was number one in that laid the foundation for when we went to the golf course.


[00:12:06] It was in about oh how's my lead wrist or how's my rotation.


[00:12:11] It was about everything.


[00:12:13] It was my innoculate in a stress response in my engaging in the target and is my technique changing or transferring to the golf course. And that's what really was Cooey. We went out there we we didn't have a clear plan of what we were going to do. We allowed Teddy to transfer those feelings and then he created his optimal environment on the course.


[00:12:36] Yeah we basically the only goal was for him to talk his routine out loud to give post shock reflection to give his pre shot plannin and what we started to find was actually Ted is an exceptionally good eye and player. And in his irons he was very very connected to a target. There was a narrow external focus and it was literally see it feel it trust it in some respects to take the to take it from the movie. Erm was it called Seven Days in Utopia the golf Mneimneh. But then with putting it was kinda analyze it not see it. Think about it on trust the hit.


[00:13:20] So we saw that there was this bright spot in his routine on ion play of really engaged target focus. So we asked him to evolve that in his potting. That's what we challenged him to do out on the golf course. And he did. We made him pop from everywhere looking at the hole and he wasn't even actually out to look at the ball. Once he set four into the pot he was setting up very imperfectly but wrapped into the target more. And this led to a good process goal. And then when we finally went into the on court challenge where we you make part a move to the next hole Birdie sket one bogey move back back to the previous hole and you got to get round nine holes. When we finally went to that he had a clear process that he was going to follow for putting which helps him relax which in turn helps inoculate the stress response. There was this big workload where Romney put it. He put it really well.


[00:14:23] The army I think even said to us on the 7th hole he called it it was like a downhill 20 footer that was probably move in you know 18 inches. And he said this one's for you guys. And the difference in the energy and the focus when he walked into that part than one of these ones that we're going to be able to. Or he runs it five feet by from six feet it's just today wasn't about necessarily doing anything except awakening in tadi what he has to do to perform better.


[00:15:00] And it's not just one thing it's not calming get an hour lesson one to fix your swing or is going to tell you to you know look above the horizon and make all of a sudden birdies just fall out of the sky like there is actually a plan and the plan is in my opinion what we do a really good job of is creating an environment for the player to buy in to our plan which is ultimately the plan they determine is theirs.


[00:15:27] Yeah they they drive the ship and we just happened to have the opportunity to be onboard definitely a player centric approach he was he was put in the center. The plan was built around his needs. It involved spacing variability and challenge it then involved us helping him to deal with the stresses and his tendencies coming out.


[00:15:54] And by the end plane some some great golf on the golf course with really very little tweak did the things that he transferred to the golf course were target focus employing.


[00:16:06] And he was on his practice swing feeling the the rest you know an hour and he used gravity fit in his warmup to awaken of his posture. So they were his choices. You guys analyzed him talked settled this circuit and then the learnings that he took from that were those three things which hopefully now will be Kompass.


[00:16:28] This is process's before he plays and while he plays in tournament so full circle he did Megargel comment to me when we were handed off course from first the first time around after the circuit. He's like Manase most fun I've had training in a long time.


[00:16:45] Yeah that's cool cause he did say to me he goes when I go back the guys are going to think I'm crazy but then he looked at me he said but that's what I want. And I think that's what great players want. They're willing to look different in look spacing and variability or an inconvenience to your training.


[00:17:05] But there are a huge asset to your future performance. It's just a question of do you want to look cool in practice. Do you want to do the things that everyone has done for 20 years or do you actually want to get better at golf.


[00:17:17] Yeah


[00:17:17] it is inconvenient to learn. It takes effort. You have to. You


[00:17:21] have to create cognitive stress for sure when you have to make your actions match what your goals are. And so if he wants to play at the highest level then he can go about doing things that easy way the convenient way. So standing on the ranch involves is easy and convenient. It's not really hitting snooze 20 times. It's easy and convenient.


[00:17:42] It's funny that you guys got that exceptional feedback. And we'll wrap the podcast on this note because the only feedback I got from him when I started pressing him on the issue of his mental game was that he got so angry.


[00:17:57] So I'm glad he was nice to you guys because that was the main kind of connection it was.


[00:18:02] But I think that I think that speaks to another point though even Mike because we have that relationship we can push him to the point of wanting to break his driver or wanting to kick the ball across the green or wanting to scream Yeah.


[00:18:18] Because like you said challenge point is is key. And if Teddy if it was easy for Teddy cool he fed his ego and he looked gray and he felt great.


[00:18:28] But he didn't get better so I was happy that he that he gave you the finger and then went to the side and said to Eric hey this is awesome. Because if it wasn't awesome he might have told us it was awesome just to make us feel good. Yeah but the fact that he complained about it lets us know that he's actually going to do it and he's actually gonna get better. Yes I'll value him for sure. It was fun guys. I enjoy it. Yeah yeah. Many more. Absolutely I mean this is this is the home away from home.


[00:18:58] Well this was awesome.


[00:19:00] Nice to have you on Zach obviously.


[00:19:04] So this is going to be on soundcloud if you want to subscribe if you haven't stay up to date. Follow us. You can subscribe to the e-mail list by visiting the Web site GLT golf dot com. We are also on also social media platforms except for snapchat it hasn't got that up and running. I think it also be pretty inappropriate. I did have one I'm way too old for this. But we have Instagram Twitter. We're also on YouTube. This will be posted on YouTube as well.


[00:19:33] You guys are on a couple other application and share those here.


[00:19:37] So moving on now just Instagram and Twitter just in yeah you listen to this podcast please listen to the previous to the all about golf practice and not just what you have to do but how you practice to achieve what it is you want to change in your game. That's key for me. So jump but watch this if you've enjoyed it. Plenty of good information. Alfred Dunhill and the British Masters podcast too.


[00:20:06] Yeah if Zachary really wants to reach out in questions or just want to connect with you Joshua can't possible where he can do that.


[00:20:14] Sure I mean I'm on Instagram Jack Barber golf you can go to Zach Barber golf Darkon or you can look for me on any platform except for snapchat.


[00:20:23] Maybe it's just all day here guys his friends we have to do what he can always find a son.


[00:20:29] We are gravity fit on Instagram or gravity fit dot com.


[00:20:33] But really guy's an honor to sit here on the couch with you and thanks for always helping me get better at coaching. But certainly thanks to everybody on the other side of the camera for some words consume your content for a while. It's it's really great to see you guys being willing to be vulnerable and sit here and help everybody in the industry get better sometimes without facts.


[00:20:54] I learned some from me. I know next time. Cheers cheers.