Sometimes it takes more guts to say nothing

Coaching is more than a hobby for me. It has become a passion, and something that I try to improve on each day.

Ever since my first golf lesson I have been fascinated by how we teach each other to play. That golf lesson was a real eye opener. It was the first time I had heard of things like swing plane, pivot and release. It didn’t take long for my mind to become muddled and my golf swing to become erratic. Not long after that lesson I had my first air swing and developed a nasty slice.

I often wonder were my game would have gone if my first coach had nurtured me rather than impose those tedious regulations on me. If, instead of filling my mind with useless technical rules, he encouraged me to swing hard (which was my style), have fun and keep playing. I was 16 years of age at the time and on a rapid learning curve. I had gone from shooting scores of 150 to a score of 63 in two years. I was raw, but I had ability and a desire to improve.

Some coaches feel a need to justify their existence. They do this by bombarding you every piece of knowledge they have. This, they believe, proves that they are smart and gives you value for money. I don’t know about you, but I don’t care how smart a coach is. I want to see improvement with my play…not be bogged down with information overload.

I strongly believe that it take guts to be a great coach. That sometime you have to appear stupid by saying nothing. You must resist the urge to make change for the sake of it. Clients will expect lots of information and may be surprised when you don’t deliver. This is the hard part.

The other day I was teaching a technical client. He wanted ‘one with the lot’. He was prepared for everything I could throw at him. I resisted. I could see the doubt on his face. We both persisted and a genuine breakthrough was made – progress I doubt would have happened if I had given him what he wanted.

If you’re teaching you wife, husband or child keep quiet. Offer encouragement where required. Don’t force things. Let the learning process take care of things. This is hard to do but you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. This is what it takes to become a great coach.

Good golfing,

Cameron Strachan

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1 Comment

  • Artful Golfer

    Reply Reply January 29, 2008

    I appreciate your approach. I’ve found it’s best to make every attempt to figure it out on your own instead of becoming dependent on others to fix things for you. When I do need help, I ask others for input, but only incorporate advice that feels right for me. I’ve seen way too many golfers take a bunch of lessons and only get worse. I recommend golfers just take the swing they have and learn how to score with it by improving their physical fitness and mental abilities. I credit my progress to focusing more on the target than on swing mechanics. BTW, I just added a new post at artfulgolfer.com this week with an honorable mention for this website 😉

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