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What is learning plateau?

The Plateau of latent potential refers to the stage when results do not become apparent even after a period of sustained hard work. This can lead to frustration and the golfer may become discouraged as a result. This period is a natural part of the growth process, the golfers efforts are not wasted only stored to be revealed later in time. Improvement isn’t linear, and the results tend to be delayed after putting the work in.  

Why the Plateau Occurs 

1.) Skill Consolidation- During this time you are turning conscious effort into an automatic skill which takes time. 

2.) Physical Adaptation- Your body, mind and nervous system are all processing new information, movement patterns and concepts that take time to bed in. 

3.) Mental Calibration- Forming new memories and rewiring the brain to complete a specific task all require a processing period. 

4.) Incremental Gains- Early gains will seem dramatic with later ones feeling smaller as a result, this may require more work and effort to feel like progress is being made. 

Strategies to move through the plateau 

1.) Trust the Process- stick to the process of improvement even if results are not seen straight away. 

2.) Set small achievable goals- Goals that are broken down into smaller steps towards an overarching outcome are easier to achieve and help with motivation. 

3.)Monitor and Reflect- Reflection allows you to see how far you have come and to manage expectations going forwards.  

4.) Seek Feedback- obtaining a different perspective may help you see things that have been overlooked. Working with a coach can help you overcome certain hurdles and get you back on the path of improvement.  

5.) Focus on Fundamentals- becoming world class at the basics can give you a solid foundation to work from. 

6.) Vary your Training- adding variety into your practice can keep you motivated, as you are able to juggle different aspects of the game and upskill yourself as a result.  

7.) Mental Training- positive self talk, visualisation skills and mindfulness are all ways to lean into the difficulty of hitting a plateau. 


Golf is a multi faceted sport with lots to learn and sometimes progress can feel like it has stalled. Realising that plateaus are part of the journey is important to recognise and will help you change your mindset from frustration to perseverance. Significant breakthroughs come after periods of continual effort. With regular deliberate practice, a constant feedback loop through coaching, resilience and working towards small achievable goals it is possible to embrace the journey and commit to continuous improvement.  

Find a better way to learn 

Tom and John 

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