Golf coaching breakthrough

I receive email updates from a young chap – he’s working his way to becoming a good golfer and along the way learning all about coaching and performance. If nothing else, I reckon this young man will become an excellent golf coach. Here’s this week’s update:

I’m in this program called the First Tee, and it isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. I usually only use it for practice on auto golf. But it also includes coaching, which I don’t prefer. The pros gave me four things to think about, which is too much for me anyway.

Me: Four things to think about seems harmless enough, but it’s too many. One thing at a time should be the maximum.

He told me to widen my stance (didn’t tell me why) take a shorter backswing, keep my right foot square, and have a stronger grip (his reasoning for the grip change was because it is the “preferred” grip of most touring pros, and yet again for the rest of the changes he never told me why. If he had told me why, maybe I would have done it better). I just couldn’t hit the ball. It would hook left and slice right, and I could never tell which way it would go. (I was hitting the ball very well until he began giving me changes.)

Me: This is the most frustrating and annoying thing with traditional teaching. The teacher stands up front and barks instructions. It’s old-school mentality and research has shown it to be the least effective way to learn. One can’t have their minds filled endless instruction and then be expected to transfer to their game. It’s lazy teaching, ineffective and ultimately boring (for both teacher and student).

I finally went back to my normal swing (after about 20 minutes of this crap) and began hitting the ball perfectly (remember me though, driver goes 210, 7 iron 100 yards, not very far, but who cares anyway?). So naturally, When i began hitting the ball with my normal swing, he left me alone. Just makes me wonder where coachingt is going nowadays. I think coaching should be more like a parent teaching a child to walk. They guide it in the right direction, and the child isn’t given any instructions, it just tries to walk, and eventually, it gets there.

Me: It took me a while to work this out, but one day I woke up and decided to leave all the crap alone and play my way. It was a revelation and the best way I can describe it was “removing the straitjacket”. No longer did I care about how my grip looked or my swing. I swung. I hit the ball. I played the game. Surprisingly, my swing turned out just fine. I enjoyed golf more and I feel I was able to realise my potential (for my talent & dedication).

The walking part is relevant to me. Little Jessica is now 14 months (everyone says time will fly and it does) and she’s almost walking – but not quite. As a parent, there’s not much you can do. There’s no verbal instruction possible because she doesn’t do language just yet. We can hold her up, pick her up, clap our hands and offer encouragement. But Clare and I can’t make her walk. Jessica is learning all this herself. We can’t rush her and when the time is ready she’ll take her first steps.

When will this happen? I don’t know and I don’t care. Maybe after she’s fallen over enough times and experimented with a whole range of little moves (at the moment she’s bouncing up and down from her bum to her knees) her system will have learned enough for her to walk.

I have always been fascinated with the fact that we all learn to walk before we can talk. But imagine if this wasn’t the case, that we developed language first, what would our life be like then? I’m sure our parents, just like our golf coaches, would bark orders and tell us HOW to walk. I’m convinced that our evolution has been possible because some higher power worked out that language would just get in the way. We don’t need to be told what to do, we just need to be left alone so we can perform the skill – all this teaching just gets in the way.

In the latest edition of the Cameron Strachan Letter I walk you through three important parts of the golf swing, but instead of telling you EXACTLY how to perform the motion, I give you ideas to unleash your own natural style. Not only is your style better than anything some golf instructor can tell you, it's far more reliable and easier too. Get a copy of the letter today...

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