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Golf: On Getting Ugly

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland
“You are ­almost educating the player to be ugly. Same with Sexton. He will tell you that when he gets ugly in training then he kicks like a dream at the weekend.” That’s from Daniel Schofield at Carnoustie commenting on how Dave Alred helped Francesco Molinari winThe Open Championship.
Jonny Wilkinson et al
Dave Alred came to prominence with his performance coaching of Jonny Wilkinson who 15 years ago kicked England to a Rugby World Cup victory and now he’s coaching international fly-halves like Jonathan Sexton and George Ford. 
Moving on to golf, “London-born Alred previously helped Luke Donald to rise to world No 1 and ­Molinari seems to be following a similar trajectory since starting his partnership with Alred.
Practice ugly
Daniel Schofield writes, “Underpinning everything Alred does with Molinari is the need to “practise ugly”. Practising pretty, when every putt is sunk and every drive is picture-perfect, is ­anathema to Alred, It is in the ugly, the horrible and the uncomfortable where progress is made, as Alred explains.
Asked to provide an example of how he finds ugliness, whether in golf, rugby or any other sport, ­Alred emphasises the need to practise with consequences. “So rather than saying let’s do 10 of these putts or kicks, you say how many does it take for you to get 10 in?” Alred said. “Other things would be if you have a set of 12, miss one and you start again. It is really important that they buy into it.”
Practice under pressure
Dave Alred MBE is the author of The Pressure Principle: Handle Stress, Harness Energy, and Perform When It Counts and by all accounts contains useful advice for anyone interested in how to how to handle their performances under pressure and not only on the sports fields
Practising under pressure appears to Dave’s doctrine and he says, “Everything lies in the ugly zone – about getting frustrated, getting annoyed. You need to go through that in practice so, on the course, you can handle ­anything.”
Quote of the Day
“Before I came in, I felt his ­practice lacked a bit of direction.” - Dave Alred commenting on his involvement with Francesco Molinari

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