The Music Man

I read with interest a new article by my mate and super coach Scott Barrow (here).

From a golf perspective I’ve always wondered why golfers practise with ear plugs in (to be honest you don’t see it very often, mostly the younger, serious golfers. But it is around). It’s never made sense to me and I think Scott’s article highlights some interesting points. Here’s my take from a golf angle.

If you need to have earplugs in during practice then you’re missing the point. Practice needs to replicate play as much as possible. One of my favourite sayings is, “practice like you play, don’t play like you practice”.

If you’re not going to wear earphones on the golf course (I think it may be against the rules anyway – especially when hitting a ball) then why would you want to do it off the course? It seems stupid.

I know that some use music as a distraction to the boredom of long hours of practice. If that’s the case then you should explore ways to make practice more interesting or go and play golf. Playing golf is actually the best practice of all.

The hours spent on the fairway or course are an opportunity to explore, learn and make meaningful insight. I personally believe that music belting into your eardrums will only distract you from the bigger picture and rob you of the chance of learning or doing something remarkable.

Further point: Modern day life is full of distraction. It’s hard to do anything without continual interruption – email, mobile phones, billboards etc. What’s needed is focus. If you’re able to focus on the task at hand (without distraction) then you’re on the way to better performance and satisfaction.

So what might be considered a contradiction, maybe music and earphones could be used to help train a golfer to avoid distraction. That could possibly work. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Scott Barrow is a great coach. I’ve been taking regular coaching sessions from him and recommend you take some time to check out his website

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  • Todd

    Reply Reply April 20, 2011

    Great article..ask Disco Dick aka Richard Zokol!
    Personally, I enjoy listening to tunes while practicing. I enjoy it because I am well aware that the conditions I’m in may not reflect the pressure of the closing stretch of a tournament. BUT, during that tournament, I reflect back on the casual happiness I have in simply hitting golf shots while looking at my target, and listening to music. I then hum that tune that makes me relaxed..sometimes it’s rap..sometimes its Neil Young…either way I get back into the ZONE and remember why I love golf, not to win, but to be creative and explore my experience with golf.

    I totally agree that if it is a distraction or a time passer while practicing, it could have negative effects. I also believe that there should be better practice parameters, regardless of music presence. For example, when I practice, there is at least a minute between each shot, and I engage fully each can help me with this cycle which I can bring to the course, without the tunes. I agree strongly with your closing comments, training while distracted will help you perform in distracted situations you cannot control!

    Great insight and writing. Cheers

  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply April 21, 2011

    I think Scott worries too much.

  • Cameron

    Reply Reply April 23, 2011

    @Todd: thanks for your comments. Been a while since I’ve heard the name Zokol. I agree with your thoughts on practice and I appreciate your comments on your philosophy. Good stuff Todd.

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