I was completely over golf coaching

It wasn’t that long that I was completely over golf coaching. I had spent years and thousands of dollars getting my swing tweaked and prodded and messing about trying to work this game out. I reached the point when I realised the standard coaching hadn’t really helped me and if anything, hindered my development. I quit all formal coaching and chose to fly solo.

Since writing about learning and performance I’ve been lucky to run into some great people. There are lots of regulars who contribute to the weekly blog posts, leave feedback and tell me how they’re going. Each one of their (your) comments enhances the blog and my learning. For that I’m thankful. I’ve realised that I need to seek out others to aide my learning and make sure I keep on the right track. It’s a long and lonely road if you try and do everything by yourself.

Scott Barrow is another guy that has helped me more than he’ll know. He’s a genius when it comes to coaching and I’m lucky to have regular discussions about all things under the coaching/performance/learning banner. I’ve spoken about Scott before and he was a vital part of the Automatic Golf Seminar, but I’d like to share another encounter from this week.

We were chatting away about some random issues when he asked how the golf was going:

Me: Not bad. I have been playing OK but lost in the final of the Club Championships.

Scott: What happened?

Me: I got off to a bad start in the morning round, but then things clicked and I was playing great. I went from four down to 2up and was looking good. I felt in control and was so confident that I can remember saying to myself, “I can’t believe I’m playing so well”.

Scott: That’s where you went wrong.

Me: Whaddya mean?

Scott: Well, when you’re playing in the zone and performing well, all you’re doing is playing the game. You’re not getting too emotional about the good and the bad. You’re just playing and not thinking. What happened after you started thinking that?

Me: I stuffed up the 17th and 18th holes from nowhere. It was a bit of a disaster because prior to that I was playing great.

Scott: Exactly. The process of thinking about your performance will take you out of the zone and into conscious thinking. Great athletes can think about what is going on, but they snap back into gear right away. I bet you lost the flow and started getting emotional.

Me: Sure. I went to lunch frustrated and I tried to work out what I did wrong. I actually felt a little sick because all of the great work was undone.

Scott: It’s a process. You’ve got to be aware of it before you can make progress. So see this as a learning experience and you’ll be better next time you’re in that situation. You’ll snap out of the thinking mode more quickly, or even avoid it altogether.

Me: I will. I was sorta unaware of what happened so thanks for the heads up.

Scott: Remember, your focus while in the arena is to keep playing the game. I know you know that but we all need a constant reminder. After the event is the perfect time for reflection and celebrating what transpired. Not during.

Me: Thanks GURU!

The important part here is that this interaction wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t speak with Scott. I would have been worse off without this little impromptu coaching session and blind to some of what happened. The other point is that conversation is important. Because we were chatting casually on the phone I was relaxed and dropped the, “I can’t believe I’m playing so well” comment. It was only a small thing but Scott picked up on it right away and gave me something incredibly important – something I doubt I would have received with regular coaching.

Coaching is vital. As mentioned, it’s hard doing it by yourself and really good coaching transcends normal swing instruction and even thoughts about score. Improvement, enjoyment and learning is so much more than your technique and handicap.

Please add your comments/thoughts because they all help.

In the next few days (it could be a week or so) I’m going to share some exciting news on the golf coaching front – it’s a first for Australia and something that has been many years in the making. If you’ve tried all sorts of “normal” coaching but haven’t got the results you desire, then this will be of huge interest to you.

Resources: If you’d like to contact Scott and see what he can do for you then visit his website. He’s a great guy and really is a master coach. Check out his website here.

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9 Comments

  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply November 10, 2012

    Scott said: “[Next time] you’ll snap out of the thinking mode more quickly, or even avoid it altogether”

    Yes. I find the development of this skill is like putting glass walls around you. You can still SEE the bad places to go (in this case “thinking”] but you’ve created a mental barrier to going there. Takes practice though (what doesn’t?)

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply November 10, 2012

      GP: Yes. There’s no quick fixes and it all takes some work. Even if one had the perfect swing they’d still need to learn to play with it – definitely no shortcuts.

  • Steady

    Reply Reply November 11, 2012

    Great Topic Cam,
    Tis true there are no short cuts with auto golf.
    There are a lot of scars and at times mental
    anguish as to Why aren’t I playing the way I
    should be? More often than not most golfers
    will fall away from it. However in saying that
    It is worth it. The very thin line that is golf
    being just a shot away from greatness or
    disaster is what makes the game so great.
    I have found the biggest single obstacle for
    me anyway is PESKY. He is the bastard
    child of fear, failure and disappointment.
    He thinks he should take the credit for a great shot
    yet on the other hand is the first to sling you a
    double barrel bollocking for messing up your
    shot/putt.
    When ever he steps in and tries to take over I
    stop and go through my routine knowing I’m
    not giving him any free rent space in my head.
    I love Scotty’s quote “Scott: Remember, your focus while in the arena is to keep playing the game. I know you know that but we all need a constant reminder. After the event is the perfect time for reflection and celebrating what transpired. Not during.”
    I’m not saying I’m better than anyone else when It comes to Cam’s training/coaching or ideas. What I have experienced is I have gone from 14 to 5 Handicap back to 12 and now slowly heading back to single figures is that don’t ever try to improve on anything while in the golf areana/course. You don’t have to try to improve on making it better.You take your game and your routine with you everytime you play, in saying that make sure when you step to the first Tee that you left that soul destroying little turd Pesky locked in the trunk of your car with about 2 meteres of Duct tape around his mouth.
    Then and only then can you truly and you will enjoy your Golf.
    Scars aren’y found on cowards. Stick to distracting your mind while in the process, leave the thinking behind the ball, relax and enjoy the free flowing ride.
    Ta Steady

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply November 12, 2012

      Steady: Pesky can be a little turd. If you learn to ignore him he has far less influence. If you’re ever in doubt just hit that ball and play the game. Thanks for posting.

  • Cam280

    Reply Reply November 12, 2012

    The Ideal Temperament drill.
    Firstly you will need the assistance of a kid. Then playing table ice hockey, have a competitive game first up to 5. Then have a drink then play rallys where all you want to do is pass it to your opponent. The difference between competitive to just passing will impress upon you the importance of being apart of the game and not trying to force the game, once you feel apart of the game you will naturally know when to strike. The feeling also gives you a tempo in your swing that looks and feels effortless not to mention accuracy is awesome.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply November 12, 2012

      Cam: Something on a similar vein – play not to score. Deliberately aim for the trees, rough or the bunkers. Don’t tell anyone and notice their reaction to all your bad luck. This kinda play may help you loosen up and realise it’s just a stupid game afterall and the sky isn’t gunna fall in if you have a few bad holes.

  • cam280

    Reply Reply November 12, 2012

    That is pure genius!

    Would you consider this to be a ripple effect?

    Well I guess I could get a cart next time I play, cause aint chasing it all over the place.

    Lets just say I might send it on its way and spend my allocated time looking for it then go back to the tee and waste some more time. Mean while the rest of the group is putting out.The 9th would be an ideal hole, especially if you playing with drinkers or greedy fat pigs. A bit like a Moon Pie from the ‘Green Mile”.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply November 13, 2012

      Cam280: I wouldn’t suggest doing this in an important round. But it’s good to do just to see the reaction of others. It’s also a lot harder than you think to deliberately hit the ball into the bunkers and the rough – takes a bit of skill.

      Also, you don’t have to play “hockey” – just have some fun with your game without a huge emphasis on the score. Let me know how you go.

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