A lot of it comes from the music that you hear. Study the greats who are playing the patterns that you are learning. Often the pattern may not be technically correct but it has feel. Rhythm n Blues will get you to feel it. Feel the grooves in say a BB King track like “The Thrill is Gone” which is incredibly slow- the hardest groove for a drummer to maintain with feel. Or Marvin Gaye; “Make me wanna Hollar”. Study the delay of time with drums and bass. Very subtle. All great music has that ability to stretch time, and relax the groove, Even at fast tempos. Feel starts when your mind stops thinking. Playing from your body wisdom. It often comes to players in the form of dangerous luck. Don’t buy into that. Feel comes from the heart. When you are experiencing a sense of oneness with your audience, then you are hitting the note and playing with feel. Tricks to remember are: always be ready to lay back the groove; even just a tiny microsecond slower will free up the feel. That is more important than anything else in our overstimulated intellectual minds. Lay it back in the pocket, then remember to keep it there by continually releasing. That means that you are not playing like a metronome- you are human and there are subtle variations in the flow of the pattern. That is good. Don’t be fooled by the critical mind trying to be perfect, allow yourself to step off of the metronome and lay back in the pocket. Be intentionally LATE to the downbeat; that is the art of any great groove player. Do not be in a hurry. You are where you want to be; in the pocket. Back behind the click track. Late to the metronome. That is the mysterious place that dance is born. We have to intellectually learn how to find that; by letting go of our tenacious intellect and play from our bodies, our heart. But the final recommendation is to watch women dance. If they are not dancing to your beat; it is not their fault. You must find their groove. Watch their hips. If they are not moving then slow the tempo just a bit. The release will hopefully get them started but you must keep it there. Speeding up will lose them, Steady and relaxed. Sense of humor is important. Laugh at yourself. Fluid and humble and the women will dance. The only good reason to play the drums; To Get The Women To Dance. A woman drum student made the best suggestion: Try dancing yourself, like no body is watching!
Good luck, Share the Groove.