The Value of NOT Practicing

When I set my mind to a goal, no matter how large or small, I tend to go after it fanatically.  I have my whole life.  I have never been very good at balancing other areas of my life when I am dead set on achieving the goal I have set for myself.  It is because I have gone through fanatical cycles in the past trying to achieve my goals that I understand the concept of becoming burned out fairly well.

My current goal in golf is to lower my handicap to single digits by the end of the season and I have been practicing when I can and trying to achieve this goal while maintaining my personal and work life.  I am trying to take a non fanatical approach to this goal because I want this golfing achievement to last.  I don’t want it to be something I do and then move on from.  I want to instill lasting improvement to my golf game and my approach to the game.  After all, I fully intend to play for the rest of my life!

I just traveled from Chicago to San Diego to spend some time with my family and I decided not to practice my golf game today.  Normally I would see this as a wasted opportunity to practice and get better.  It constantly runs through my head that there is no reason to make excuses not to practice, just get up and go do it.  Is this really the case though?

Since I didn’t practice this afternoon I can’t stop thinking about getting up tomorrow morning and going to the range to practice for a few hours.  I feel energetic about getting up and putting the work in.  If I had gone this afternoon I know I would have been out there hitting balls to hit balls, like I have done so many times in the past.  Is it ok that I said, “today is not the day” and passed up on practice?  I’m not 100% sure and to be honest I am torn about the subject.  I don’t like the fact that I could have hit balls today and didn’t, but I also like the fact that it has made me want to practice even more.

I think there is something to be said for finding that “refreshed” feeling in your practice routine.  I don’t think it is the end of the world if you say to yourself that you need a day off now and then (not all the time) and approach your next session with more energy and focus.  I hope I am right on this one, otherwise I just wasted a perfect San Diego day to practice in!

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2 Comments to “The Value of NOT Practicing”

  1. Man, you need to read The Golf of your Dreams by Bob Rotella. Not a bunch of psychobabble but a really good sobering take on what it takes to improve. Since you put so much time in you need to focus on quality practice, not quantity. Said it yourself that sometimes you’re hitting balls just to hit them – I’d guard against that.

  2. Nothing wrong with taking a day, two, or a even a week off from golf. Helps to clear the mind and heal the body. I’ve been on the course a fair share of times playing with someone who hasn’t played in months and they end up having the best round of their year. Of course the next round is usually horrible, but a small break is hardly ever bad.

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