At 15 years of age, leaving school to embark on a career in golf, I had not seen the complete picture of how my career would evolve.
I was however very fortunate that my first ever boss allowed me to support his work and coaching schedules. My next two jobs were very much focused around coaching so by the age of 20 I had arguably more experience than most of my peers.
Very soon I learned that the skill of coaching lies both in your knowledge, but far more importantly in understanding your students. On reflection this is something I subconsciously recognised as I was learning and developing my game as an adolescent.
I am sure we can all reflect and now recognise that during our education, the reason we enjoyed some subjects more than others was not on the interest of the subject, but as much the connection we had with the teacher and their understanding of us. Helping us get the best out of ourselves needs guidance.
The real skill of any coach in my view is the ability to connect. Our knowledge of the golf swing, modern and methods can ever be enhanced with ongoing learning, but the depth of knowledge and experience gained over time demonstrates how to help someone unlock their own potential, and that is a real gift I believe. There in lies the true talent of any coach, in any walk of life.
So that said, probably the most common comment from clients is ”you must be patient, do you find coaching monotonous” and “I couldn’t watch people keep making the same mistakes”.
We all, of course have some limitation, physically and/or psychologically in our own belief of what we can achieve versus what we would only dream of fulfilling with our given hobbies, sports and personal time. But with a structure that’s most suited to you, it should be well within reach to fulfil your own potential. Every golfer has their own personal code to unlock, it’s the responsibility of any coach to help them find the combination.
This coupled with a structure to your practice is essential in my experience to understanding your faults and improving.
Possibly the most common comment is “I keep practising but not improving…”
I cannot believe that any two elite sports people use the same training regimes. They find what’s best for them, including diet, sleep, warm ups. We are as individual so need a practice routine suited to US that will make the most of the limited time we can afford.
With all this said, you will start to understand that once you know how to help people “see the light” the last thing I find my work to be is monotonous, boring or with out reward.
There is without hesitation, no better feeling than seeing the realisation that a client can suddenly create shots that they didn’t realise, or even better, understand and in turn stop hitting the shot that’s ruining their game. The simplest change is usually the key.
Often when chatting amongst my colleagues and peers we discuss the satisfaction of coaching someone who is really struggling with their game. These are the sessions that will test any coach fully and ensure you draw on all your experience, so in usually 30-60 minutes we can make a difference!
It is my belief that in fact the best way to help people get the most out of themselves is to very quickly highlight the biggest influencing factor they need to change. In our modern world or readily accessible information, we all read, watch and pick up lots of detail, however this can prove anything other than helpful.
Generic information is of little value unless you fully understand where you’re at with your game.
The simplest analogy is being asked to cook a recipe without knowing the quantity of the ingredients. Once clear and a pathway of what and how to practice is clear, most people will see immediate changes.
The biggest single influencing factor that will have the most immediate effect is always the best place to start, and often this is to easy and overlooked.
We all know perfection is unachievable with this amazing sport, but learning whilst on the journey for both you the golfer, and me the coach can prove to be the most satisfying experience.
Enjoy your golf and embrace change , it will help.