Issue date: 01 August 2014
Dr Nicky Lumb, a UWE Bristol PhD Graduate and PGA professional golfer is set to help elite level golfers improve their chances of success after highlighting huge potential for improving results through better practice.
Having just graduated from the University with a PhD in Optimising Practice for Peak Performance in Professional Golf, Dr Lumb is now looking to specialise in helping players practise more effectively.
The Bristol Golf Centre-based coach had exclusive access to scores of European Tour players as part of her research with findings revealing some common pitfalls – even for some of the most talented players on the circuit.
Dr Lumb explains, “As part of the PhD I was investigating how European Tour players practise and looking at ways they can improve the way they practise to enable them to perform better when they are competing.
“What I discovered was that there was a lot of repetitive practice, a lot of constantly hitting to the same target with the same club, and many of the players appeared to rarely challenge themselves during their sessions.
“It's much better to randomise practice sessions by frequently changing clubs and varying targets because on the golf course no two shots are ever the same. To have the best chance to succeed it is important that players have a specific purpose to their training sessions, and that they learn to continually challenge themselves.
“By creating pressure situations through playing games and recording scores, and then trying to beat those scores, players can learn to put pressure on themselves during practice. This in turn is more likely to help them to perform better when they are competing. After all, if you are not used to performing under pressure it is very difficult to expect to play at your best when you really are under the cosh.
“If you can try and create the scenario when you are practising that you are likely to find when you are competing for real, then it is likely to be much more beneficial. I think a lot of players practise the way they always have and that few have considered the differing ways that they can practise. The main key is the quality of practice.
“If you are just doing repetition and the same thing time and time again, you may well get some improvement but it will be minimal in comparison to what you could achieve through well structured, challenging practice.”
Dr Lumb, daughter of PGA captain-elect Nicky Lumb, and whose mother is a former Curtis Cup player, has had a lifelong interest in high level performance.
She adds, “This is something I've always wanted to do and felt that I needed to do, in order to make myself as effective as possible in practice and performance coaching. I've always thought that the more I can learn, then the more capable I will be at helping tour players and elite amateurs to perform closer to their optimal level when they are competing. The key principles can be applied to golfers of all levels although they would need to be tweaked because the nature of the practice will differ from elite players to amateur golfers.”
Dr Lumb also has a Masters in Sports Coaching as well as being TPI Level 3 certified and an NLP practitioner.