“Making Practice Count”

Matt Brown - Mike Bender Golf Academy

As a vital component to our full-time Junior Elite Program at the Mike Bender Golf Academy, practicing smart can make the difference between progressing toward your goals in an efficient and timely manner verses spinning your wheels and wasting your time on the practice tee. What should you practice? How long and why? All great questions for the amateur, junior, and professional player alike. At the MBEGA we make it our goal to help all of our students understand what and when to practice. In fact, we have broken it down into a science; a science that involves specific assessments and test performed at various times of the year for each of our Elite junior golfers. For example, all of our Elite program golfers go through a comprehensive analysis of their game from the tee to the green and everything in-between. Along with this, each student engages in an ongoing analysis and tracking tool of their performance on the golf course. From both of those forms of data, the coaching team can delineate not only what areas a student must work on, but specifically what aspect of that area needs attention. For example, the coaching team can pinpoint what distances a player suffers, on average, more 3 putts.

Given this information, the coaching team is able to tailor specific putting drills to help tackle the problem at hand. At MBEGA, we believe in the mastery of a short list of specific drills rather than being adequate or somewhat good at a long list of non-specific drills. As a result, we have tailored all of our drills to include a quantifiable method of measurement for progression. Tracking this measurement throughout the practice process helps our coaching team understand the progression of our players. Although coaching instinct and experience are valuable tools for aiding a student; accurate, measurable data is proven and undeniable. It’s hard to argue with the facts.

Once a player figures out the “what” to practice and he/she has been prescribed the correct drill(s), then the challenge becomes, how long? And, in no way is golf the type of sport where once you understand your weaknesses, are you entitled to neglect the other areas of the game. Keeping this mind, junior golfers in our Elite program realize that although they have specific areas for improvement, they must keep all other areas of their game in a ‘maintenance’ mode. Maintenance modes require specific drills and require specific amounts of time. With over 25 years as a professional instructor to many PGA and LPGA winners, Mike Bender has devised a specific formula for how much time to practice specific areas of the game. For example, Mike suggests that spending specific percentages of time on full swing, wedge work, putting, and other short game areas is the key to developing a well-rounded golfer. Within our Elite program, we strive to set a specific amount of time each day for areas of the game. In any given practice session, our Elite junior golfers will practice every aspect of their golf game with time parameters no more than one hour and no less than 15 minutes per area. The combination of time guidelines, plus the specific practice drills, helps all of our Elite golfers make practice count.

MBEGA’s patented MEGSA Perfect Practice Equipment and hitting bay: This is the epitome of making your full swing practice count. The use of Mike Bender’s MEGSA Perfect Practice Equipment ensures that you are molding the correct moves throughout the full swing. With the proper MEGSA equipment set-up, each of our students can practice efficiently and correctly.

The MBEGA Wedge Range: Mike Bender was the first to build a wedge highlighting the distances good golfers must master within 100 yards. Instant feedback, by the way of concrete blocks embedded in the range, make ease of measuring shot distances. Spending time hitting each of the eight blocks on the wedge range makes practice count.

MBEGA houses one of the few putting studios in Central Florida: With the inclusion of V1, SAM Putt Lab, and various Mike Bender designed putting teaching aids, putting practice and skill development is specific, measurable, and precise. All of our Elite program junior golfers utilize the putting lab in order to practice everything from putting technique to distance control and feel.

MBEGA Full-swing Driving Range: At MBEGA there is no such thing as just hitting range balls. Elite program junior golfers are given specific ball striking tests in an effort to practice golf ball control and placement on the range. Mike Bender has devised a unique range set-up that incorporates zones that golfers strive to hit into. Specific assessments, games, and contests are used to make practice time fun and effective.

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