A decelerating putting stroke is one where the putter head is slowing down as it strikes the ball. With this type of stroke you would notice that you leave all your putts short of the hole and if the ball finishes short it never has a chance of going in.
Decelerating putting strokes occur when you are trying to control the distance of the putt by altering the speed that you are hitting the putt at. This causes you to swing in a way that allows you to slow down as you hit the ball. However, it is a very unreliable and inconsistent way of putting and the results that you see from this will not be very accurate or consistent at all.
It is very easy to demonstrate a decelerating putting stroke as the length of your back swing will be bigger than the length of your follow through. If you go to the practice green, or even on the carpet at home, you can do the following drill to check your own putting stroke. Simply place two clubs on the floor, just as an example six feet apart. Position the clubs on the floor so that they are both across the target line at a right angle to it and so that one is three feet before the ball across the target line and the other is three feet beyond the ball across the target line.
With the clubs in these positions, push them slightly further away from the target line so that you can strike the ball without hitting the clubs. Play your putt. If you have a decelerating putting stroke your back swing will be much bigger than your follow through and you can use the clubs on the floor as an indicator for your swing length. Simply notice how far you swing the club back on your back swing.
For example, you may notice that you swing the putter head to the club on the floor. If this happens you should follow through by swinging the putter head to the other club. This will mean that you have swung three feet away from the ball on your back swing and then swung three feet through the ball on your follow through. However, if you decelerate as you putt, the putter will not have swung through as far as the distance it travelled on your back swing. As a result, the putter head is slowing down as it strikes the ball and the ball finishes short of the target.
Ideally you want your follow through length to equal your back swing length. Consider how a pendulum swings. It swings an equal distance to the left and the right from the lowest point. If this happens it ensures that the pendulum is accelerating as it swings towards its lowest point and then it only begins to slow down as it swings beyond this and begins to rise. The result is the pendulum swings equally left and right and the speed that it swings at is constant through its lowest point. If you achieve this with your putter and achieve a constant speed to deliver the putter head to the ball at, altering your swing length to control the putt distance instead, you will find it much easier to control your distance and you will find that the ball now reaches the hole, rather than finishing short.
Work on achieving a putting stroke where the length of your follow through mirrors the length of your back swing and do this playing the following drill. On the practice green, use two holes to put towards ensuring they are different distances away from you. Place a club on the floor, the length of your putter beyond the hole. Play your putt towards the hole, working on having a follow through the same length as your back swing. If you hole the putt score a point but also score a point if the ball finishes between the hole and the club on the floor beyond it. You do not score if the ball finishes short of the hole.
Putt towards the other hole, doing the same. Play until you have hit 10 putts in total and add up your score. Now play again and improve your score, but still work on achieving an equal swing length on your back swing and follow through. If you need the ball to go further, swing a bit bigger on both back swing and follow through. If you need it to go shorter, swing shorter on both back swing and follow through.