Money Ball Putting: The Ladder Drill
Studies have shown that those with ADHD focus best when the action plan is short, the consequence is immediate, the task is new/novel, or the reward is high. Thus, forcing enough "reps" from your ADHD youth golfer with countless drills quickly can become counter productive.
With these ADHD traits in mind we look at re-imaging the "Ladder Putting Drill"
Traditionally, the "Ladder Drill" is a variant of the following:
- 4–6 balls from 8 to 30 feet in a line towards a specific hole
- You stick a tee or lay down a golf club 2 feet behind the hole.
- The goal is to hit all balls either in the hole or even to no more than 2 feet past the hole.
- All balls reaching the goal in a set completes the drill.
As the shorter putt becomes a reference point for the current putt, the ladder drill is perfect for grooving a feel for distance in putting.
This drill alone is well suited for an Adult ADHD golfer because of the following:
- There is a quick exit, i.e. you can achieve the goal in the first set.
- Each putt is different.
- This allows for the focus to reset on each putt.
But for the ADHD youth golfer whose hyperactivity, impulsivity and distractibility is off the charts, we introduce the "Money Ball method" to greatly add to the reward system and increases the consequences for one ball.
What is the Money Ball? Simply put, the Money Ball is a different colored ball that is worth more than the other balls.
So with the Money Ball Ladder drill you arrange 5 balls from 8 to 25 feet in a line towards a specific hole. Make sure you have the Money Ball placed in the third position or greater from the hole. Then stick a tee as a marker 2 feet behind the hole
With the Money Ball Ladder drill we have the following point system:
- 1 pt. for the ball being even but no more than two feet past the hole.
- 1 pt. for making the come backer of balls that rolled further than two feet past.
- 2 pts. for making the putt
- 2x pts for the Money Ball
The goal is achieved when the point total, the coach, parent or golfer themselves has set, is achieved.
As we can see in the video with Ben, not only is he slightly more interested in the Money Ball but that putt had the best distance. By having more points for a putt made, this will reinforce the teaching of the child to visualize every putt going in even when they are attempting a lag putt.
Coaches & Parents note:
Especially with pre adolescent ADHD kids once the goal is achieved, they are done. If you try to get more reps by making them do it again, then you have effectively pulled the "reward rug" out from under them and they will do the additional sets with no interest. The additional repetitions will be counter productive.
It is up to the parent and coach to move the goal posts for the NEXT time they practice.
So here are some effective strategies on "moving the goal posts":
- Increase the point total goal.
- Make the distance from 10 – 30 feet.
- Put two ladder drills in play each with different slopes
- One drill for downhill putts and the other uphill.
- One drill’s line breaks hard to the left and the other to the right.
- The have to achieve the goals for each drill to move on.
It is important to sit down with your ADHD child and share with them the drills you are going to work on before you get to the practice area. This can calm the child down with expectations that it will not take forever.
Coaches & Parents note:
With Pre Adolescent ADHD kids it is difficult to get more than 3-5 drills in one session. Otherwise, it becomes overwhelming and interest wanes.
Need more repetitions? Follow up with a competition between you and the child.
A great way to finish a positive putting practice round is by adding an uber rewarding bonus version of the ladder drill. Yes, I know I just said once the goal is achieved, interest wanes. However, if you end a POSITIVE practice session with the following, the junior ADHD golfer will be fully engaged:
Have the Money Ball be worth the same amount of points as the other balls.
If your child achieves the point total goal AND puts the Money Ball in the hole, they get something special:
- Ice Cream
- App for their iPad
- Gift Card
Tell the junior golfer it is a reward they earned for a positive practice session.
Lastly, it is important that the Money Ball be the same color ball that they play with. This acts as visual aid which helps them trigger the memory that the Money Ball is rewarding. This will help elevate confidence and interest.