Coaching vs. Instructing

We spend hours, days and weeks trying to perfect a dynamic motion, spending hundreds if not thousands on instruction and equipment. I’m stuck in a pickle here, as most of my income is directly tied to instruction, so as to not sound completely hypocritical, I will explain myself.

Instruction allows for a person to do as little as possible on their own in order to achieve a different result (think of all of the directives you have heard in regards to keeping your head down, hitting the inside of the ball, keep your left arm straight and your right elbow into your right side, etc.)  Does that add to your knowledge base or just give you thoughts about the components of a better swing?  Do these thoughts allow for freer play during a round of golf or do they automatically restrict your swing if things start going south?  If a swing produces a good result, it must’ve been because of the cue in the forefront of the mind, right?  If a swing produces an unacceptable result, what caused it?  That is very difficult to answer for a student that craves cues and technical directives.

I’m tired of hearing as a coach – “what did I do on that one?” or “what went wrong there?”  It is an unproductive task to explain everything that is happening in a golf swing that is not “technically sound.”  As a friend of mine recently uttered, “he who hits it the least, wins.”  It’s not about knowing that the backswing produces a variable plane (especially if you can keep the ball in front of you), but it is about how aware you are of your surroundings and how the club is traveling around your body.

My job is coaching – I see myself as someone who can facilitate learning for others to do on their own!  Coaching allows a gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) push towards self-discovery.  This process allows you to understand a cause and effect relationship between the motion of your body and the flight of the ball.  Experimentation leads to knowledge and learning the path of least resistance to your success.  So, put in some time, experiment, and dig it out of the dirt!

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