View Full Version : Taking time off from Playing to Improve

01-19-2003, 11:12 PM
I'm quite a firm believer that if you want to make any significant changes to your technique, then it is best to take time off from playing matches completely, say a month, and work on the changes until they are engrained in your muscle memory before playing any matches again.

I don't think it helps your game to tinker with your technique during your practice on the weekend, then go and play league midweek. When playing competitive matches, you are so engrossed in the match and winning, that the last thing you need is to consciously worry about this new aspect to your technique .

I did a fair bit of rebuilding of my stroke over summer. Basically i took 7 weeks off from any playing interaction with anyone. It was just me and my practice table. Things which i had to tell myself consciously about my stroke setup at the start of the 7 weeks are now automatic.

I think the problem many beginners make is that they have a lesson, the pro shows them something to improve their technique, they pick it up almost immediately, they can peform the new technique or aspect of a technique in front of the teacher and then they falsely think that they have 'got it' and from that moment on, their stroke will be improved. Not so ! It only really counts when the change is engrained fully into your subconscious muscle memory.

This is one reason why people who tinker with their stroke on an almost weekly basis and cling to this and cling to that because it worked that one time, become very inconsistent players.

thoughts ?

01-20-2003, 07:32 AM
I agree that the changes one makes in their game have to be hard wired thru practice before the changes become part of the unconcious game but I also believe that the player who is seriously trying to advance his/her game is in a continuous state of change. If one cloistered everytime changes were being made that wouldn't leave much time to compete. The phrase: "you gotta dance with what brung ya" comes to mind. Dance contests would be very boring if the music wasn't playing and I believe competion is the music. I think the better path is to dance to the music everytime the band starts up even if you don't have time to place those printed foot falls on the floor...sorry for the off the wall analogy...I haven't had my coffee yet....LOL

01-20-2003, 08:48 AM
One guideline I have often seen applied to golf lessons is that if you make a significant change in a lesson it will take 3 weeks of practice to sink in. That's 21 sessions, not 15 or one per week. This corresponds pretty well to your one-month time frame. Obviously, there will be no set time or number for everybody and it depends on how big a change you make. But I agree that most people underestimate the time it takes to make a big change. Playing requires a different approach. I suppose you could play matches, but if you are committed to making the change you have to be willing to play poorly in the match and play with the change you are trying to make. You won't be in the frame of mind geared toward optimum play.

Voodoo Daddy
01-20-2003, 09:03 AM
I feel that in certain stages of your game you shouldnt stop...not for one day. Its a matter of development. I read once where Mike Sigel wouldnt practice for weeks and several days before a big tournament would hit balls. I also know that the phillipino contingent seem to be ALWAYS hitting balls. Where do you fit in? Can you see big improvement in your workload after a vacation? In my case I have wasted more time taking it off instead of working that much harder at it...hate to see anyone make that same mistake!

01-20-2003, 09:58 AM
Me too, even though the addiction keeps me in the trenches anyway. I was never one able to drill or practice, I WANT TO PLAY! Yet when the ugly losses stack up deep and I take time off to spend time on my home table, using the camcorder and doing my drills, I gain composure again. The relentless losing before that sabattical was like quicksand, I was sinking faster than I could climb back up, and the self esteem really became non-existent...sid

Fran Crimi
01-20-2003, 11:54 AM
Great topic. I think you're right, that it takes awhile to imbed new habits into your brain. But if you decide to hold off on competition until you feel you're ready, you're turning competition into a final exam rather than take pop quizzes along the way to gauge your progress. Remember how it was in school...how much stress there was in a final exam as opposed to a quiz?

If you don't meet your expectations when you finally do compete, after all that practicing...the let-down is extraordinary. But if you pace yourself as you go along, and use competition to gauge your progress, I don't think it's as painful a process, and it doesn't turn competition into the be-all, end-all.