Performance Profiling is often a qualitative method of measuring performance, guiding an exercise programme, improving motivation and help with setting goals. It is a great method to highlight strengths and weaknesses, as well as tracking goals and progress.
I also like to use it alongside quantitative testing to see how much awareness a client/athlete has of their strengths and weaknesses. It also helps show what the client/athlete wants to improve, compared to what I think they should improve. Working on something you want to (compared to something you are told to) can help increase intrinsic motivation (which is a good thing!).
Completing a Performance Profile and making a visual “Radar diagram”, like I show in the example below, can help visually see where you need to improve (compared to only seeing numbers on a page).
How to complete a Performance Profile
1. List about 10 physical attributes you think are important in a golfer. Imagine a top tour pro (I use to use Tiger Woods in his prime, but now usually recommend clients/golfers to imagine a golfer that they admire or would like to be as good as) and rate them on all physical attributes you have listed (10=excellent, 1=bad). (NB: You can also imagine an ideal level of all physical attributes as being 10/10… which is what I would recommend anyway!).
2. Rate yourself, out of 10 (10=excellent, 1=bad) for all attributes listed
3. Plot a Radar diagram or something similar (I used excel for Mac as I think these look good) for an extra visual and motivational effect. You will be able to spot and see where your strengths and weaknesses are.
In my example above, I have listed 10 physical attributes. It is also important for each golfer/athlete to come up with their own list (or at least have input) as to what they believe to be important.
Performance Profiles can be context and perspective dependent. For example, I might rate myself low for flexibility, yet if someone else was to rate me on flexibility, they might rate me higher! It also depends upon your goals, where you see your current level of fitness and who you compare yourself against…! If you want to be a tour pro, I would recommend comparing your physical attributes to those of tour pro’s (or targeting 10/10 for all attributes) but if you only want to be better than your playing partners in your weekend four-ball, then compare yourself to their physical attributes. Perceptions of physical attributes can change over time and therefore, care must be taken when comparing your results and taking them at face value.
Of course, there has to be a reason behind doing any test or exercise and it has to be meaningful and influence behaviour and a programme/ future exercise (if it doesn’t, it would be meaningless and would be no point in doing it). Furthermore, if you go through the process of using a Performance Profile, you need to act on the results.
A performance profile can also be used from a more holistic viewpoint of your golf game. It could include attributes such golf swing, fitness, psychology, nutrition, course management etc. Alternatively, you could do a performance profile for your golf game on its own… putting, chipping, tee shots/fairways hit etc. This can therefore help identify strength and weaknesses with different parts of your game and guide your practise time. But remember, there has to be a reason in mind as to why you want to complete a performance profile, not just for the sake of it. And then you must to act on the results. In my example above, I have rated flexibility as one of my lowest attributes and therefore, this needs to influence my programming. From my quantitative assessments (i.e. flexibility tests) I know what areas of flexibility I especially need to work on and I should increase the amount of time spent on flexibility training!