What Do I Need to Learn / Practice to Do That?

Lizette Salas

I’ve golfed more this summer than all other years combined, and the season isn’t over yet. I’ll be honest, while I’ve gotten better as the months have gone on, I’m still pretty bad at it. I’d like to cut at least 10 strokes off my game by the end of next season.

We have a piano in our house because our daughter was taking piano lessons for a few years. Her piano teacher has since moved to the UK and our daughter has mostly stopped playing. I’ve never had piano lessons, but would like to learn at least some basics in the next year so that the piano doesn’t just collect dust.

I’m currently designing a course that I’ll be teaching at the university next fall. It’s related to open educational practices (OEP) and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). I know a great deal about OEP, but I don’t feel nearly as comfortable with SoTL. I would like to get my comfort level up by next fall.

For all of the above, there are some things I need to learn. I’m not going to wake up one morning and be a better golfer, know how to play the piano, or know a lot more about SoTL. I need to learn and practice.

When you want to achieve a new goal or even establish a new habit, there may be things that you need to learn along the way. I know that I want to accomplish the things explained above. The question is “how do I get there”? What do I need to learn and practice?


I’m playing a lot right now and taking notes about the clubs I use and how well each hole goes. I review that on future holes and before future games on the same course, and will continue to do this next season (making a habit)

I purchased three books that I’m going to read this winter: 

Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game by Dr. Joseph Parent (currently reading)

Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan

The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods by Hank Haney

We have a portable putting practice device that a friend gave as a gift to our daughter that I’ll make a lot of use of this winter (making a habit)

I’m going to work on my form in front of a mirror when I can’t be on a course seeing the results of my swing


Following the lead of my friend Dean who learned guitar using online tutorials, I will seek out similar videos for learning the basics of playing the piano

I will create and follow a practice schedule that allows me to learn while not feeling like a chore (habit)


I will read articles about the basics of this and note how I could integrate that information into my course

I will ask questions of my friends who are already experts in this area

You’ll note that for each of these areas I’ve included actions directly related to what I want to achieve (practicing putting, playing golf, practicing piano, noting how what I learn I can include in my course). If I just read the books and articles, and watch the videos, I might learn a few things, but it won’t stick with me and I’ll never get anywhere with these goals. Action must be a part of it.

What do you want to accomplish? What might you need to learn, what knowledge or skill do you need to obtain, to get there?  How are you going to practice and take action toward applying what you learn toward achieving those accomplishments? Learning for the sake of learning is great, but it the point was so you can apply it something else, then get out there and take some action.

Featured image of professional golfer Lizette Salas courtesy of Wojciech Migda under a CC-BY-SA license.

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