Tim Gallwey is my hero. When a member of my club first gave me a copy of the Inner Game of Golf I was none too impressed. Thought I didn’t need any help with my mental game and that all I needed was a little bit more practice and some luck. I really thought my game was going places.

But the member was persistent, “Cameron. Please read this book. It won’t take you long and it will help your game”.

I relented. I read the book and have never looked back. It’s fair to say that little book changed my life. That is why Tim Gallwey is my hero.

The book struck a chord with me. It made sense and I realised some of my mistakes. Like John (who I’d meet years later) I had gotten away from my natural game and tried to inject an artificial one. Despite my best intentions I couldn’t get it to work. And I don’t think anyone can. Mother Nature is too strong to mess with.

The next few months were unbelievable. At one point I shot 14 consecutive rounds of par or better. Crazy stuff! And I got a sniff of what was possible with a clearer picture of the learning process:

  • Realised for the first time that I was able to play consistently and it didn’t take any special talent or skill
  • That my swing was good enough to reach my golfing goals
  • Confidence that I was going to play well before I got to the golf course. I can still remember this one day driving to the course with a big smile on my face because I knew I was going to shoot a great score. It’s a hard feeling to describe but it certainly made golf worthwhile
  • A sense of fun I had missed out on and realising that fun (and good scores) can only come when we learn to let go and get out of our own way. I’m pretty sure that most golfers miss out on this step because they, despite knowing better, can’t let themselves play golf in a fashion that really means something.

And this wasn’t the most important thing I learned from Gallwey. More importantly I developed a passion for coaching. Learning how to help myself I inadvertently learned how to coach others. And helping others keeps me awake at night and gets me going in the morning.

Next: Deeper coaching

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