How does coaching bring about a desired result?
|Hard work leading to a great result for Dave.|
The desired result for most players when they receive golf coaching or instruction is to lower their scores. What input from the coach leads to these results?
Aspects of Golf Coaching
Let's first look at the different aspects of golf coaching.
- Basic Instruction - Grip, stance, swing fundamentals etc
- Physical Conditioning/Fitness - Improving aspects of the body that affect performance
- Mental/Emotional - Using the mind as an ally
- Shotmaking skills - Speciality shots, trajectories etc
- Course Management - Game plans, playing the course
- Equipment - Club fitting
Looking at the last two, course management and equipment, first these components are the quickest and easiest to improve. When a player goes from clubs that don't suit them to ones that do there's an immediate improvement. Also when a player stops playing shots inappropriate to their ability their scores also improve immediately. Examples of this would be a player who struggles off the tee but persists with the driver, switching to a 3 wood or another club which keeps the ball in play will lead to lower scores.
However even though both these will lead to lower scores quickly they will not turn a 15 handicapper into a scratch golfer overnight. Most likely they lead to a 1, 2 or 3 shot improvement over the course of a couple of months and then the player's other limitations i.e. technique, fitness, mental, shotmaking skills stop them from improving further.
For Instruction, Fitness, Mental and Shotmaking Skills these are all acquired skills. They all require work and time to improve, time on the practice area, in the gym, working on mental aspects, on the putting green etc
The coach gives the player advice on how to improve the skills and then the player's input becomes the most important aspect as work is required to acquire these skills. Without the player's input and work there is no improvement. The player's improvement makes the coach look great, but it's the player's work that lead to the improvement.
Also if the coach gives the player the wrong advice and the player works on this, the player will dis-improve, all golf coaches will tell of players they've made mistakes with.
The first role of the coach is not to mess the player up, the coach just needs to give the player the tools so they can head off with a clear improvement plan in their head. The great coaches are great communicators, they deliver their message simply and avoid over coaching.
In essence the main difference between the average player and the expert player is centredness of strike and club face control. The expert player hits the centre of the club and has better control over where the club face points at impact. Both are acquired skills and all coaching should lead to making these skills easier to acquire. Improvement is gradual and you shouldn't have to get worse first to get better.
Player improvement comes mainly about from the work a player puts in. Effective coaching makes sure the player is on the right path and that they are working efficently. The best coaches are knowledgeable, great communicators, listeners, are invested in your success and take responsibilty. Successful coaching can only be measured in the success of the student. Search out a coach who is the right fit for you and see your golf game improve.