Have You Reached a Plateau?
Thu Aug 8, 2013 by Dave Phillips
Do you ever feel like your golf game is stalled and you're just not getting better? You’re kind of in a state of suspended animation or in some cases, even a state of regression? Meanwhile, your playing partners are getting better. How you handle these so called plateaus can determine whether you remain stalled or break through to another level and reach your true potential.
These are my three keys for dealing with those plateaus:
- Patience. The people that move through plateaus are the ones that stick to things long term and can see the big picture. They understand that it takes time to be successful and they break things into small achievable goals that are focused on a bigger picture. “The Spacing Effect” states that your ability to learn something improves when you space it out over time. In order to improve, you need rest and rejuvenation. Those that lack patience will almost always find themselves stuck on a plateau.
- Work on your strengths. Many golfers with stalled games become obsessive. They work harder, but often on the wrong things. You need to identify your weaknesses and your strengths. If you never lose your strengths, they will often carry you out of a plateau. Many people start working on their weaknesses and neglect their strengths. Then they find themselves stuck or regressing because now both their strengths and their weaknesses are diminished. Now they can’t compete.
- Avoid complacency. This excerpt from David Fosters' book, Infinite Jest, spells it out quite clearly - don’t be complacent.
“You’ve got the Complacent type, who improves radically until he hits a plateau, and is content with the radical improvement he’s made to get to the plateau, and doesn’t mind staying at the plateau because it’s comfortable and familiar, and he doesn’t worry about getting off it, and pretty soon you find he’s designed a whole game around compensating for the weaknesses and chinks in the armor the given plateau represents in his game, still—his whole game is based on this plateau now”.
— David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
So in summary - Get a coach and develop a long-term plan. Set small achievable goals and don’t add to the plan. This will help keep you on track and avoid getting complacent.