PGAs of EuropePerformance – PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com Home of the PGAE Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:07:33 +0000 en-gb hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 U.S. Kids Golf Certified Coaches Seminar: 09 November – Hamburg, Germany http://www.pgae.com/news/u-s-kids-golf-certified-coaches-seminar-09-november-hamburg-germany/ Fri, 27 Oct 2017 17:01:49 +0000 U.S. Kids Golf http://www.pgae.com/?p=20330 Register now for the latest U.S. Kids Golf Certified Coaches Seminar on 09 November in Hamburg, Germany...]]>

Registration Opens – Sep 19, 2017

Registration Closes – Nov 09, 2017

Price – $119.00

Participating in a U.S. Kids Golf Certified Coach Seminar enhances the coach’s knowledge of all aspects of youth golf that can be utilized to enhance his/her current program or provide the basis for establishing new offerings. Areas of focus during the seminar include:

Perfect Swings Begin with the Perfect Fit:

The importance of properly-fitted clubs to maximize success for both young golfers and their coaches. Proprietary research on swing speed development for junior golfers.

Scaling the Game:

Research regarding proper length of course setup for players based on their driver carry distance will be provided so that coaches will become experts in golf course setup and yardages. Tailoring the course for young golfers will result in lower scores, encouraging more rounds and increasing retention.

Enhancing Current Junior Programs:

Tools, resources, best practices and bringing “fun” to their junior programs through a games-based curriculum. The seminars will feature an outdoor session that will demonstrate game-based learning with games from the U.S. Kids Golf Book of Games.

Other topics presented in more detail include:

  • Analysis of golf participation and programs vs. other youth sports.
  • “Scaling” of the following elements for youth: Equipment, The Golf Course, Competition and Instruction.
  • Parental involvement and introduction to the “Positive Coaching Alliance”.
  • High-quality instruction focusing on fun and achievement while teaching fundamentals.
  • Introduction to golf-specific games to serve as a key component in instruction.

Completing the Certified Coach process

Certified Coach Frequently Asked Questions

LOCATION – Gut Kaden Golf and Land Club GmbH, Kadener Straße 9 , D-25486 Alveslohe

DATE AND TIME – Thursday, 9 November | 8:15-16:30

HOTEL INFORMATION –  A limited number of rooms are available at Gut Kaden.  Reservations can be made at Gut Kaden.

Click Here to Find Out More About the Seminar – http://eur.pe/2idJSKu

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U.S. Kids Golf Certified Coaches Seminar: 09 November – Hamburg, Germany
Nutrition For Golf With David Dunne http://www.pgae.com/ask/nutrition-for-golf-with-david-dunne/ Thu, 26 Oct 2017 11:53:13 +0000 David Dunne http://www.pgae.com/?p=20284 Nutritionist, David Dunne, gives his insight into considerations when working with golfers of all abilities to maximise performance...]]>

Golf is, without doubt, one of the most exciting opportunities in the world of performance science in 2017. However, despite these high stakes there has been very little research done to date in elite golf.

This forces us as practitioners to extrapolate ideas from other areas of research and trial them with the players we work with as we refine and optimise our strategies and learn from the players, coaches and caddies until the research catches up.

I’m pretty fortunate to have a younger brother on the European Tour who has fast tracked my practitioner learning curve in golf and helped build up some practice based evidence which hopefully over the next few years can be trialled and tested to eventually translate into evidenced based practice.

Until such a time, I hope the following provides an insight into some considerations when working with golfers or even some food for thought (apologies for the pun) for Tour Professionals themselves.

 

Pre Round Fuelling

Golfers are faced with three different fuelling scenarios on a day to day basis. They are either out early (which often means a 5am start!), mid morning, or in the early afternoon.

Despite these timings changing, which may impact on meal timings and portion size, the underlying principles of how to fuel the round don’t.

Ok so what are we looking for? Well when we look at the demands of golf a round generally takes approximately 4 hours, top this up with 60-120 minutes of prep time (warm up, range, putting green, conversations with caddy, etc) and we are looking at about a 5-6 hour shift.

During this 5-6 hour shift mental focus, stable energy levels and adequate hydration are going to be key, as one poor decision or energy dip can ruin your card and separate the winners from the also-rans.

As a result the pre round meal should be finished approximately 90 minutes before the round to give the body time to digest the food and the player time to prepare. The meal itself should contain some high fibre low GI carbohydrates, such as oats, to provide a sustained release of energy over the coming hours.

This portion of carbohydrates should be complemented with a source of high quality protein, such as greek yoghurt or eggs, to not only supply the muscles with amino acids to support muscle maintenance and function but also to aid the production of neuro-transmitters to improve mental focus and induce satiety.

This base of protein and carbs should then be finished off with some high quality dietary sources of fat to provide some low intensity fuel, e.g. nuts, seeds, avocado, etc as well as some fruits and/or vegetables to bump up the micronutrient content of the meal.

A simple example of this for a 9am tee time would be a bowl of nutty muesli topped with banana and fresh berries coupled with a 3 egg omelette and a large glass of water at 6.45am. For a 2pm tee time, a baked salmon fillet with a sweet potato and feta salad would also be a good example.

On Course Nutrition

The goal on the course is exactly the same, optimise mental focus, keep stable energy levels and remain hydrated. As a result on course snacks will follow a similar trend aiming to provide some low GI carbs, a moderate amount of protein and some high quality fats.

To ensure a steady supply of energy as well as reducing symptoms of hunger it is best to spread 3-4 snacks out evenly over the round. Depending on the length of the course players may wish to eat on holes 5, 10 and 15 (particularly if it’s a shorter course) or on holes 4, 8, 12 and 16 (better suited to longer and/or slower rounds). These snacks can be prepared (in an ideal world) ahead of time by the player or one of their team or purchased for convenience.

Some great examples of on course snacks that players/their team can prepare would be homemade protein bars, nut and seed “energy” balls, oat based banana bread.

Speaking from experience, some of these snacks can be prepared with no more equipment than a mixing bowl so could be an easy way to kill 10 minutes on a Monday and set you up for the week. However, preparing your own snacks is not always possible so picking up some nuts and seed tubes/bars, bananas, beef jerky and protein bars is also a good call.

What does need to stay more regular than the eating on course is the drinking! The best way to stay on top of this is to not only consume a few mouthfuls of fluid along with each snack, but also on each hole either as you are walking down the fairway or walking to the next tee box. You might find on hot days that you may need to do both!

As for what’s in the bottle, it is best to drink water with additional electrolytes (a simple effervescent tablet will do – sugary sports drinks should be avoided). As a result the player should be equipped with 3-4 agreed on snacks before leaving the locker room and 2 bottles of water and a tube of electrolytes to top up when needed during the round. The only time this may differ is on a Sunday, in which case you always bring more and are fully prepared to go down 19 if required!

Nutrition for Recovery/Sleep

Post-round the shift focuses to recover for the following day’s play. Again this meal should contain some quality protein to aid muscle repair and maintenance however, unlike most sports there is no need to feed high volumes of carbohydrates to refuel, a moderate potion accompanied with some tasty vegetables will do.

For example, a nice lean steak with some mash potato and pan fried vegetables would fit nicely, as would a tasty teriyaki chicken stir-fry with some additional vegetables. This meal is generally the easiest for most players to get right.

This meal should be followed up with a nighttime snack, again to support recovery but also to enhance sleep, e.g. greek yoghurt with tart cherry mixed through.

Nutrition for Travel

As the competition draws to a close on Sunday, most players make their way straight from the locker room to the airport as they head on to the next event. For Tour Professionals, the schedule can be relentless and this high volume of flights, temporary time zones and often new/foreign cuisines all increase the risk of illness for the players and caddies.

These at-risk periods and shifting circadian rhythms should all be supported with appropriate performance planning to not only ensure the player and caddy acclimatise as soon as possible for the next tournament but also minimise the volume of days a player and his caddy may lose to illness.

I hope this gives some insight and sparks some thoughts about how nutrition may impact on a golfer’s performance. With the lack of current evidence available it seems the next step is for the tours to continue to innovate in performance nutrition research – then we can see how well the worlds best can really play.

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This article appears courtesy of the Undergraduate Sports and Exercise Medicine Society – www.basem.co.uk/usems

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Nutrition For Golf With David Dunne
PGA Professional Spotlight: Marie Jeffery (PGA of Austria) [PODCAST] http://www.pgae.com/ask/pga-professional-spotlight-marie-jeffery-pga-of-austria-podcast/ Wed, 18 Oct 2017 10:07:43 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=20084 Marie Jeffery tells us about how she got into golf, her work in the world of 'Communicology', and her views on female participation and development in golf...]]>

Marie Jeffery is a Member of the PGAs of Europe Golf Development Team and a PGA of Austria Member. We spoke to Marie to find out more about how she got into golf, her work in the world of ‘Communicology’, her experience with the Austrian Girls National Team and views on female participation and development in golf.

“I think women’s golf has a great future if it can market itself correctly. For me it’s as exciting watching a ladies’ tournament as it is watching a men’s tournament. Sometimes people get a bit drawn to how far the ball flies and they attack impossible pins and take on impossible shots, but the ladies play really clever golf too.

“I was at the Evian Championship last year and what I saw was very impressive – they had a very professional attitude and were really focused on the range so there’s no difference between them and the guys. I would like to see ladies get much more TV time and more acknowledgement for what they are doing.”

Interview Highlights:

00:29 – How Marie got into golf…

01:39 – Entering a golf club as a young girl golfer…

02:21 – The changes in golf in Austria…

03:23 – Marie now works at the same facility that she started her golf career at…

06:25 – Being driven by those that originally discouraged her golf…

08:23 – Getting the Austrian National Team Coach job…

09:20 – Becoming involved in ‘Communicology’…

11:25 – Using ‘Communicology’ to break things down and not get lost in the detail…

12:10 – Key learnings from Marie’s career so far…

14:19 – The difference between teaching & coaching…

16:00 – What changes has Marie seen over the time she worked with the Austrian Girls squads…

18:49 – Working as a National Coach is a 24/7 role…

19:41 – What is the future of girls’ golf…

20:48 – The challenges face in women and girls’ participation…

23:01 – The difference between girls and boys’ sport …

24:26 – What are the mistakes most beginner golfers make…?

28:15 – Who is the best lesser-known coach Marie has worked with…?

30:19 – What advice would you give your 25-year-old self…?

31:09 – Marie’s views on who she feels are ‘successful’ people…

32:05 – Marie’s favourite book…

33:01 – The advice has Marie found beneficial up until now…

35:01 – What might surprise listeners about Marie…

35:19 – The golf equipment that gives Marie the most joy…

35:55 – Marie’s dream Fourball…

36:34 – Advice for aspiring PGA Professionals…


Find out more about Marie at www.functionalgolf.at and at functionalgolfat on Facebook.

Find out more about the PGAs of Europe Golf Development Team at http://eur.pe/GolfDevelopmentTeam

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PGA Professional Spotlight: Marie Jeffery (PGA of Austria) [PODCAST]
Technology in Golf Coaching – What’s Next? http://www.pgae.com/ask/technology-in-golf-coaching-whats-next/ Wed, 30 Aug 2017 06:01:37 +0000 Aston Ward http://www.pgae.com/?p=19149 We explore the ever-evolving world of coaching technology and what might be making its way to the lesson bay, golf course or swing room sometime in the future..]]>

I am very lucky to be in the position where I can mix my passions for technology, communications and innovation together with my biggest passion, golf, and my knowledge of coaching as a PGA Professional.

Because of this I sit in the middle of various areas of the industry where I can get a good view of what is happening when it comes to embracing technology and looking at innovative ways to continually advance our profession and the coaching process.

Barely a day goes by without an announcement of an upgrade or introduction of a new piece of equipment that could make a golfer better (or ideally simply enjoy themselves more), and it’s exciting to think where this could go in the future.

Now, as an opening caveat, I no longer coach students as part of my job, but I am exposed to a lot of great coaches who have dedicated their lives to improving golfers’ experiences. So whilst I may not be directly using coaching equipment on a daily basis, I can appreciate the technology behind them and their practical applications.

In speaking with many of these coaches, there is something that continually comes up when you discuss technology – data capture.

The level of detail and sheer quantity of data that we can capture about a golf swing is incredible. Technologies such as launch monitor/radar flight and ball-roll tracking devices, hi-speed camera analysis, and the myriad of other options on the market, mean you can now analyse every parameter imaginable when getting the ball into the hole. And, assuming the user is appropriately trained, this can turn into a very tangible benefit to the end-user.

Previously we featured the Strokes-Gained metrics developed by Dr Mark Broadie that utilises the PGA Tour’s ShotLink® data in which every single shot played in PGA Tour events is recorded into an open-access pool of information that academics can make use of.

This detailed level of data capture has meant that every single aspect of a player’s round can be analysed and new and improved metrics for performance have been created.

With the continued rollout, pun intended, of golf simulators and intelligent, customisable simulated environments, combined with Augmented Reality (AR) technology, we now have ways of mirroring golf course conditions like never before, making coaching more realistic and contextually applicable.

Where Next?

Simulating golf course conditions leads nicely into the potential innovations that we could see in the future.

One thing I think could have huge potential uses would be virtual reality (VR) – imagine standing in a bay, putting on a headset and methodically planning your way around your next golf course of choice.

This could be something that helps the transition of elite amateurs to tour events – often players with little experience of the ‘big stage’ can let things get on top of them. The incredibly immersive experience of VR could help train players to overcome their nerves, ignore the distractions and perform better under pressure by recreating the conditions they could feel. Granted, nothing will ever replace the real thing but this would be a great start.

The future of data-capture looks to be about expanding our awareness and knowledge of areas of the sport that were previously nothing more than theory. We already have equipment with built-in sensors but I can see a future [that is not too far away] where there are completely non-invasive methods of gathering the same data Trackman can for example, but without the need for any external equipment to be setup, with data streaming live and wirelessly to receivers both on and off the course.

I can also see this extending to more wearable equipment that is less intrusive in the practice or practicing or playing (think a biomechanics analysis product that is nothing more than a normal base layer for example with no discernable difference to a normal item of clothing).

Right now anyone can go out and measure their vital statistics using something like an Apple Watch and the relevant apps, but perhaps in future we won’t even need to put anything on, or if we do it will be more akin to wearing a temporary tattoo than an accessory like a watch.

Perhaps a much bigger question to pose from all of this is what will be done with this data – the more you capture, the more you need to process it, and ultimately it needs to be useful to coaches and then to their students.

What will certainly need to happen, no matter what might come in the future, is for the education of coaches to go hand-in-hand with the technological advancement to ensure these fantastic tools are not purely a marketing ploy but are actually beneficial and valuable to their students.

PGA Professionals have a responsibility to keep up with the latest changes in coaching methods to ensure they a) provide what their students want and need, and b) they don’t get left behind when others could be helping golfers play better and enjoy themselves more.


This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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Technology in Golf Coaching – What’s Next?
Regripping in a Coaching Environment http://www.pgae.com/ask/regripping-in-a-coaching-environment/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:23:29 +0000 Golf Pride http://www.pgae.com/?p=19117 Golf Pride explain how you could add regripping to your business regardless of whether you run or have access to a retail facility...]]>

How to Offer Regripping Services Outside of the Pro-Shop

When you think of regripping many automatically think of a workshop tucked away at the back of a Pro Shop at a club and then nothing more than a selection of example grips on the side of the shop counter.

Well it doesn’t have to be like that – you could add regripping to your business regardless of whether you run or have access to a retail facility like a shop or store.

If you are a coach working at an academy, or maybe you run an indoor practice facility, then you too could add regripping services and Golf Pride products to your offering.

All you need is an area within a facility where you can create a grip station and also promote your regripping service and the products you have on offer.

Golf Pride’s team of local distributors will then help explain what your specific requirements are, what products you can stock and how to go about effectively marketing your services and Golf Pride’s range of products on offer.

4 Tips For Marketing Regripping Outside of the Pro-Shop

1 – Make sure your regripping service is clearly on offer to your students or customers

Place marketing materials in driving range bays, discuss the service with every student you have, bring products with you to lessons, and keep your regripping point-of-sale materials and stands in view of your teaching bay or passing customers.

2 – Utilise your Social Media presences and leverage your email database

Make an announcement about the introduction of your services, make use of the Golf Pride retailer resources on offer, and keep regular communication going with clients.

3 – Make it experiential

Have specific times on the range or at your academy where you regrip clubs in front of customers to show your expertise, attention to detail and the services on offer. You could create a while-you-wait service for people who are practicing, or perhaps invite the local distributor to spend a few hours with you and your clients to share their knowledge of the important of regripping.

4 – Keep regripping at the forefront of your mind

Hardwire the services into your teaching process, ensuring your students are all using appropriate grips and you regularly check their grips to ensure they are fit for purpose.

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To find out more about setting up your own regripping service with Golf Pride visit www.golfpride.com/about/wholesale-distributors and find your nearest distributor.

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Regripping in a Coaching Environment
Leadbetter’s Grip Fundamentals With Golf Pride http://www.pgae.com/ask/leadbetters-grip-fundamentals/ Thu, 22 Jun 2017 22:25:15 +0000 Golf Pride http://www.pgae.com/?p=19134 Golf Pride Ambassador and one of the game’s most successful and respected coaches, David Leadbetter, offers his thoughts on the importance of the grip...]]>

David Leadbetter, one of the game’s most successful and respected coaches, offers his thoughts on the importance of the grip and how to get it right…

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I think I can sum it up in a sentence when I quote Ben Hogan and say, “good golf begins with a good grip.”

You can take that two ways and look at the actual grip, such as those made by Golf Pride, and the way that you position your hands on the club. These are clearly intertwined and, if you look at how the actual grips on golf clubs have evolved over the years, it shows how the hold plays such an important role.

The Top Hand

I would say that 80% of amateur golfers grip their top hands on the club incorrectly, and this is the biggest fault in golf. You can really only tell the quality of a grip when you open it up and a lot of the time you will see golfers grip the club too much in the palm. This makes it very difficult to set the club and the only way to do that is with the elbow. This increases the tension in your hands, and your body doesn’t get involved in the swing.

If you set the grip further in the lower part of the hand towards the fingers, you can set and hinge the wrist. A simple tip for amateurs is to hold the club up in the air at 45 degrees before placing your hands in the grip position. You will have seen a number of pros do this over the years, as it ensures the hands are in the right position.

You can then connect the hands together, however you feel comfortable, safe in the knowledge you are set correctly.

Grip Size

A lot of players underestimate the importance that the thickness of a grip plays. All hands are different sizes and the thickness of the grip is vital because it determines the amount of pressure you apply to the club. If the grip is too think or too thin, a player is going to generally grip the club in the palm of the hand, which is one of the most common faults I see.

This is because the player is trying to hold on to the club in an attempt to hand onto it, something that is clear when you see wear marks on the heel of a golf glove.

You hear about a strong grip all the time, but this is often misinterpreted. It in face means that a player sets their hands round in an anti-clockwise position.

You might think a grip is just a grip, but there is a big different between the types on offer and the golfers they suit. For example if you play golf in Dubai and it is 120 degrees and your sweating profusely, you will need something that is completely different compared to what someone is playing with where it is always cold, and more of a tacky feel is needed.

Grip Pressure

If you ask most of the pros they would say that their grip pressure, our of 10, would be between a three and a five. If amateur golfers were honest, many would say they are around a nine and you can see the veins popping in people’s arms as they stand over the ball.

If you go back to the great Henry Cotton, the hands play a huge role in the swing. Although I believe that power comes from the body, this power ultimately comes down through the arms and hands, and then through the club. The hands also control the clubface, so if you aren’t gripping it correctly and your grips are the wrong size, you’re going to have a problem squaring the face up and releasing the clubhead.

Personal Feel

My great friend Nick Price has the same size hands as me, but has very skinny cord grips that feel awful to me; he couldn’t hit my clubs and I couldn’t hit his.

The reason he has those skinny grips is that over the years we have worked hard to set the club and because he has very solid wrists, they do not cock or set very easily. Having a thinner grip allows him to set the club easier. Players who are very wristy through the ball can control that hand action with thicker grips.

This is where a good teacher or fitter will help to advise on the type of grip they need. Feel is such a key thing to top players, and it can make such a difference.

I have worked with LPGA player, Lydia Ko, who previously played with a normal grip, which is stretched half an inch to make it thinner. She then made an equipment change and could tell immediately that the grips on the clubs hadn’t been stretched.

There is no answer for everybody, but once you have found your grip thickness it will help your game.

The grip is a very underestimated part of the club. Some manufactures will put cheap grips on great golf clubs and they will wear out quickly and compromise the quality and performance. Changing your grips at least once a year is vital. My first rule of thumb, a little tongue in cheek, is that if you can see your reflection in your grips it is definitely time for a change.

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To find out more about setting up your own regripping service with Golf Pride visit www.golfpride.com/about/wholesale-distributors and find your nearest distributor.

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Leadbetter’s Grip Fundamentals With Golf Pride
Moments of Mastery – How Coaches Can Build Belief http://www.pgae.com/ask/moments-of-mastery-how-coaches-can-build-belief/ Thu, 01 Jun 2017 13:30:34 +0000 Corey Lundberg & Matt Wilson of Curious Coaches http://www.pgae.com/?p=18933 In golf, there are the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. The ‘haves’ possess the required skills to excel on the course, along with the key: self-belief...]]>

In golf, there are the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.  Not only do the ‘haves’ possess the required skill set to excel on the course, they also have the secret ingredient that truly separates them from their less-successful counterparts: self-belief.

This topic came up as we were recently discussing the results of some of our competitive clients.  It seemed we kept coming back to this commonality in describing our students who were experiencing the most success.  Obviously, they perform well because they are all highly skilled, but the players that seem to have an unwavering belief in their abilities– keep achieving— sometimes even beyond the level that their current skills would predict.

We love the queued up clip below of the current World Number 1 communicating an amazing sense of belief in himself and his abilities.

“They had no chance.”

“Who’s playing for second place?”

This steadfast outlook on his ability to perform manifests itself in a few key characteristics:

  • a willingness to take on meaningful challenges
  • a propensity to exert maximum effort in training
  • a persistence in the face of setbacks

These traits allow the self believers to navigate the ups and downs of golf and better manage the stress inherent within competitive golf.  Psychologist and motivation expert, Albert Bandura, referred to this belief as Self Efficacy. Here is how he describes performers with high self efficacy:

Alternatively, we sometimes encounter highly skilled and technically proficient players who lack this Self Efficacy. They approach competition with anxiety rather than the exhilaration.  These are the players who, despite having robust skills, aren’t able to parlay them into maximum output. How often do you see a player approach their performance with trepidation and expectations that are not in alignment with what they are capable of? Why is that?

It may seem obvious, but so much effort is spent on refining skill and technique that it’s easy to omit this essential component to performance from our lesson plans.  And sometimes it’s worse than merely omitting— sometimes we prepare for an event in a way that inhibits self-efficacy and belief.  Spending too much time on technique in our interactions leading up to an event rarely fuels a belief in their skills ‘as-is’.  Instead, this approach may allow for a bit of doubt to creep in as the performer wonders what iteration of their mechanics will show up when it counts.  This is a really difficult roadblock to avoid, especially if performance wanes in the lead up to an event.

So how can we build belief?

One of the most difficult things to do, as coaches, is to persuade a performer to believe more in their abilities. And that’s because players need something more tangible– to see it, not just hear it. They need proof. While we certainly try to build it and protect it through how we communicate— ultimately that belief has to be earned.

In our experience, the best source of Self Belief is the memory of previous accomplishments. To that end, we work closely with players to build a success inventory – a storage box of instances that demonstrate to the player, that they are capable to excelling in a variety of situations.

Think of an athlete who struggles to perform.  If we know the person well, and know what they need to be successful, we can get pretty creative in creating situations where these accomplishments can be earned – and their memory bank can get filled.

Through reflection, we found a very common pattern – the occasions in which the people we work with reported the most confidence and performed best in events, closely matched the time in which we presented them with tasks aligned most closely with the ‘Build Efficacy’ quadrant of our Task Design Matrix.

These tasks – ‘Moments of Mastery’ – allowed the athletes to train in similar-to-play conditions under  achievable outcome demands.

In looking closer at the anatomy of a Moment of Mastery, our end goal is to craft a task that creates assurance for the athlete– once complete, they know their skill is on-point and ready.  We want them to be able to recognize a situation and refer back to the training they have completed and know, with great certainty, that their skill set is more than capable of producing the outcomes that they want – and need – in that circumstance.  This performance state serves as a stark contrast to the uncommitted, uncertain performer who just isn’t sure if they can pull a certain shot off.  If that’s the perceived belief, they SHOULD be nervous and anxious!

Although it sounds simple, there is an art to it.  Knowing how hard the task needs to be to get them engaged and exerting effort while also keeping the difficulty at a level that is likely to produce a successful performance is quite difficult, as it is often a moving target and a very thin line to walk.  However, it is the means by which this ‘swagger’ is earned, and it is something that expert coaches are able to do with practice and careful planning.

This is obviously made more difficult when the player attempts to create a Moment of Mastery with a technique that isn’t producing the desired results.  That’s when, as coaches, we have to scale difficulty and possibly even put certain aspects of technique in isolation, so the performer can mentally ‘check the box’ and move on.  While this ‘isolation’ technique may not align with how a player best learns in the long-term– it’s worth doing at times if we know it will have a positive effect on their perceived competence.  For an example of successful players training his way, visit the putting green of any tour event Mon-Tue and witness players going through their technique checks with any number of training aids in a noticeably superficial environment.

On these occasions, we prefer a stable, unrepresentative setting despite the stigma that often comes with these ‘blocked practice’ activities.  If, in that moment, it will help an athlete believe in themselves more, we won’t hesitate to go there.  Even if it’s a bit manufactured and unrepresentative– skill acquisition science be damned!

CREATING MOMENTS OF MASTERY

There are two things that we need to be aware of when designing Moments of Mastery.

  • The goal is to boost a player’s perception of their ability to be successful under the gun.
  • The boost comes from them being able witness their success in the first person, repeatedly.

With those action items in mind, we need to provide a task that has three distinct characteristics:

  • Low to moderate relative difficulty.
  • A like-golf environment.
  • Repetition.

These three aspects of the training task – difficulty, instability, and time on task – work together to create an environment that has the potential to inspire motivation and perception of one’s abilities as it offers the possibility for the performer to be successful, in similar-to-play situations, often. Provided the outcome standard that governs success is in alignment with their skill set, these tasks serve as a catalyst to the creation of confidence.  Here is an example:

PRACTICAL EXAMPLE

 

 

In this instance, the athlete received certainty that what he is training, he is able to recall when he needs it and that the outcomes are very good.  Again, it sounds very simple, but the more we can create these moments, the more moments of success they have in the memory bank to reference during competition.

In addition to providing opportunities to see success, we can further promote their sense of ‘I-Can-Do-It-ness’ by keeping track of their performance.  Logging skills assessments or statistics, can show tangible proof of progress against early versions of themselves.  What will happen to the athlete in the screencast after we point out a drill that at one time seemed very difficult, but now they complete with ease?  This is another great source for self-belief— it’s a great way to promote their sense of ‘I-Can-Do-It-ness.’

While we don’t claim to be sports psychologists– we realize that our interactions need to impact performance state in equal measure to skill.  Exploring the motivational and psychological underpinnings of how we coach and train should be a priority for all coaches.  Luckily there are experts in golf like Pia Nilsson, Lynn Marriott, Dr. Bhrett McCabe, and Dr. Rick Jensen who share their insights generously.

If you feel researching this topic could improve your coaching– our friend Cordie Walker is putting on the Unlocking Performance Virtual Summit.  Some of the brightest minds in golf, including the ones listed above, will be sharing their thoughts.  We would highly recommend checking it out!

Another great source is James Sieckmann’s new book, Your Putting Solution.  Not only does he cover the technical components of putting in comprehensive detail, but the second half of the book is essentially a master class in how to coach, build belief, and train more effectively.

And after you check out those great resources, we hope you’ll engage us in further investigating this topic in the comment section.  What activities do you use to create similar ‘Moments of Mastery’?  Describe a task that you use that seems to evoke a strong sense of ‘I can do it’ from your students.  We would love to compile a database that we can all learn from and use in our coaching.

 – COREY LUNDBERG & MATT WILSON

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Moments of Mastery – How Coaches Can Build Belief
[PODCAST] How Good Golfers Get Good with Graeme McDowall & Peter Arnott http://www.pgae.com/ask/podcast-how-good-golfers-get-good-with-graeme-mcdowall-peter-arnott/ Thu, 18 May 2017 08:01:33 +0000 Golf Science Lab http://www.pgae.com/?p=18837 How do we explain great players? And what can we discover when we ask questions like, “how do PGA tour players become PGA tour players”?]]>

How do we explain great players? And what can we discover when we ask questions like, “how do PGA tour players become PGA tour players”?

We’re sitting down with two guys, Graeme McDowall and Peter Arnott, who have some interesting concepts that might explain a lot of the “luck” and “mystery” surrounding great players.

Ecological psychology is really the study of how organisms act in their environment, how they adapt, and how they become functional in their environments.

One of the key concepts explains how we are able to directly perceive our environment and how we are able to scale movement solutions to that environment. This essentially reverses the paradigm – you’ve got to find the problem first, then come up with a solution.

With an ecological dynamics approach, you don’t give the organism any solutions. Instead, you just give it appropriate problems and let the organism (golfer) come up with the solution. Because we are all different in the sense that we are unique, we act with creativity and novelty.

For instance, you see all these guys in the PGA Tour with different movement patterns, but they are effectively doing the same thing and that is behaving functionally in the environment.  Each of them has come up a unique solution to a problem. The human system is very smart. It has evolved to adapt to the demands of his environment. These are empirical chase-able theories and facts that you put down that we can present a lot of literature to support these in motions

The human system is very smart. It has evolved to adapt to the demands of his environment. These are empirical chase-able theories and facts that you put down that we can present a lot of literature to support these in motions

We just need to provide it with an appropriate environment and an appropriate level of development and the whole organism will be capable of whacking whole things out and you’ll have such as self-organization.

Real World Example of Great Players Adapting to the Environment

One of the great examples of this is from Padraig Harrington when he talks about his junior golf development.

He talks about being a part of a group of players who used to play games for money every day and quite simply, if you couldn’t hole a putt for money, you had to leave the group. If you couldn’t develop that competency, if your skill couldn’t emerge to a high enough level you would have to leave the group because you couldn’t afford to be a part of this group.

Padraig talks about never ever being concerned with technique, but only that they knew how to get the ball in the hole.

We talk about this certain illusion of form following function.

When you look at the PGA tour you see a lot of different golf swings, grips, and techniques. Some of these are techniques you wouldn’t necessarily want to teach someone . What you are seeing there is people who have learned to do something that is a function.

Learn to get the ball in the hole, “This is the way I get the ball in the hole, my technique has just emerged”. It doesn’t necessarily resemble a particular standard.

It doesn’t always look optimal, but I am going to get this ball in the hole because those are the demands of the environment placed on me.

That’s what Harrington is describing here. He is saying that his environment growing up was such that if you couldn’t learn to hole putts for money, then you had to leave the group.

You see a skill being emergent; they didn’t really concentrate on the technique. They were just figuring out a way of getting that ball in the hole because of the constraints that were part of the environment.


About Graeme McDowall

Graeme has an MPhil in Sports Coaching from the University of Birmingham and is a full-time Golf and Sports Coaching lecturer at the SRUC in Scotland. He is also an associate lecturer and a PhD researcher at the University of Abertay Dundee.

His main area of research is skill acquisition in sport and as well as being a practitioner in this area with the high-performance golf programme at the SRUC, he has worked with coaches in rugby and football. Graeme is currently involved with some of the world’s leading experts in non-linear pedagogy, in a project aimed to bring coaches, academics and education professionals together to raise standards in player development.

Follow Graeme on Twitter Here

About Peter Arnott

Pete Arnott is the Teaching Professional at Craigmillar Park Golf Course. Pete is currently studying a MRes in skill acquisition and has worked with all levels of golfers, from novice to European Tour Players, using a constraints-led approach. Indeed, recently one of his star pupils, Nastja Banovec, won a very prestigious Professional Tournament (The Paul Lawrie Invitational) whilst still an Amateur.

Peter has also just recently returned from talking to over one hundred delegates from all sports at the English Institute of Sport on how he puts ‘science’ into practice and has been asked to talk at several high-profile institutions as a result. Basically Peter specialises in creating effective practice environments, which enable a greater transfer from practice to play.

Follow Peter on Twitter Here

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[PODCAST] How Good Golfers Get Good with Graeme McDowall & Peter Arnott
Every Shot Counts: Using the Revolutionary Strokes-Gained Statistics to Improve Golf Performance & Strategy http://www.pgae.com/ask/every-shot-counts-using-the-revolutionary-strokes-gained-statistics-to-improve-golf-performance-strategy/ Tue, 02 May 2017 11:21:17 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=18776 Dr Mark Broadie's innovative Strokes-Gained metric has led to a fundamental change in our understanding of how important the different areas of golf are...]]>

Statistics have always played a part in the analysis of golf and its golfers. They allow comparisons to be made between individuals with all their varied characteristics, abilities and experiences, enabling a golf coach to use those statistics to drive action.

The amount of information and number of statistics/metrics available to the Professional coach has never been greater – in fact, many argue that there is too much information out there that does not answer the questions people really want to know about.

This is something that Columbia Business School Carson Family Professor of Business and keen golfer, Mark Broadie, saw as being fundamental to his groundbreaking research in the past 10 years. Current statistics and metrics are good but lack the capability in many cases to relate other metrics. In response to this he developed a system that allows all the elements of the game to be compared to each other – Strokes Gained.

In his new book, ‘Every Shot Counts’, Broadie explores his Strokes-Gained metric that has entered the public consciousness through use of Strokes Gained – Putting on the PGA Tour, and the overall research that has led to a fundamental change in our understanding of how important the different areas of the game are.

IGPN: The Strokes Gained statistic is really a completely different way of assessing the performance of a player on the course – how did you come up with the concept for it?

MB: I started by asking ‘what separates an ‘80’ and a ’90’ golfer – where do these 10 strokes come from?’ Another question was how to grade a golfer in different areas; long game, short game, sand play, approach shots, driving – how could you compare all those things?

There are a lot of ways you could do this – such as how close do they put approach shots to the

“About two-thirds of a 10-stroke difference comes from shots outside of 100 yards and about one-third comes from shots inside 100 yards…that’s pretty robust across hugely different skill levels”

hole? If you have a large enough data set then you can see that this person’s average score might be 80 but they’re hitting their approach shots like a scratch golfer, or they may be hitting relatively poor approach shots like a ‘90’ golfer.

The problem is that these measures still don’t answer the question of where do the 10 strokes between and ‘80’ and a ‘90’ come from? In order to answer that question you need to be able to compare drives that are measured in yards/meters with something like greens in regulation which is either ‘yes you hit it’ or ‘no you missed.’ You have all these different ways to measure golf but they don’t answer the question about where that scoring difference comes from.

In order to do that you need to be able to measure say driving distance and driving accuracy on a scale that’s comparable to sand play or to putting, and it turns out how to do that is to measure everything in strokes – and that led to strokes gained.

The idea was that you could measure the quality of every shot from a drive to an approach shot, or a sand shot to a putt in this consistent unit of strokes gained – it allows you to measure all parts of the game together.

IGPN: And the PGA Tour have used the putting element of your research…

MB: I had written an article and then presented at the World Scientific Congress of Golf in 2008 with some early findings on this notion of strokes gained applied to the entire game. A couple of years later I was at a conference with a group from MIT [The Massachusetts Institute of Technology] and the PGA Tour was there just letting academics know that this is what their ‘ShotLink®’ data is and how it’s available to academics through their ‘ShotLink® Intelligence Programme’. So we presented our work there…[and] that sort of crystallised things at around the same time that the PGA Tour internally was saying ‘we need to come up with a better putting statistic because putts-per-round’s deficiencies were obvious to them.

What the PGA Tour implemented in 2011 was just the ’Strokes Gained – Putting’…I had been looking at short, medium and long putts [to] break it down into sub-categories, but the PGA Tour’s reaction was ‘no, no, the problem is we have too many stats’. They have putting from four-feet, five, six, seven, eight, etc. – so in a way they have too much and too little.

Part of the reason for this book is to let people know that this analysis applies to all parts of the game and that the PGA Tour’s aim has always been to roll out more strokes gained stats in the future. They are planning on rolling out ‘strokes gained – tee to green’ next.  On a TV broadcast or leaderboard at a tournament… you could have ‘total stokes gained’ broken down into tee to green play and putting. That would allow you to see on why somebody is leading or why somebody is only in 10th or 20th place.

Strokes Gained – Putting Example from the PGATour.com:

Putts gained(From given distance) = PGA Tour Average putts taken Actual putts taken to hole out

The statistic is computed by calculating the average number of putts a PGA TOUR player is expected to take from every distance, based on ShotLink® data from the previous season. The actual number of putts taken by a player is subtracted from this average value to determine strokes gained or lost. For example, the average number of putts used to hole out from 7 feet 10 inches is 1.5. If a player one-putts from this distance, he gains 0.5 strokes. If he two-putts, he loses 0.5 strokes. If he three-putts, he loses 1.5 strokes.

A player’s strokes gained or lost are then compared to the field. For example, if a player gained a total of three strokes over the course of a round and the field gained an average of one stroke, the player’s “Strokes Gained Against the Field” would be two.


IGPN: Your research revealed that when you look at all these areas together the relative impact of each area of the game was actually different to traditional thinking – the differences between ‘80’ or ‘90’ golfers, or even between good tour players and the best players, were more because of the long game…

MB: Roughly about two-thirds of a 10-stroke difference comes from shots outside of 100 yards and about one-third comes from shots inside 100 yards and that’s pretty robust across these hugely different skill levels.

There are definitely differences amongst individuals – I’m talking about a typical ‘80’ golfer versus a typical ‘90’ golfer, or a typical professional golfer versus typical top-10 professional.

IGPN: So the traditional emphasis on putting, or at least the general tendency towards ‘drive for show, putt for dough’, is not accurate – what sort of reaction have you had to that?

MB: I’ve heard more from the people that agree with the findings in the book – people are saying ‘finally, I’ve thought this all along’ – and probably a little less from the people that disagree.

I tried in the beginning of the book to figure out what are the strongest arguments that people have for the importance of putting – I tried to say why I thought the arguments fell short, but I’m certainly interested in trying to speak to anyone that has a different view.

A lot of people have pointed to Tiger Woods and have said that the main factor that explains his success is his putting. The reason that seems plausible is that he’s such a good putter – the data bears that out, but he’s also good at everything else, it’s just approach shots where he really dominates. He’s great at everything but really great at approach shots. It’s a surprise to a lot of people but not someone like Sean Foley, his coach.

“Tiger’s approach shots are where he really dominates, he’s great at everything but really great at approach shots.  It’s a surprise to a lot of people but not someone like Sean Foley”

The other thing I’ve found is that when you look at PGA Tour winners, the explanatory power of putting is higher.  Using 10 years of data, I find that putting contributes about 15% of the scoring advantage of the best Tour players compared to average Tour players.  If you look at tournament winners then putting contributes about 35% of the scoring advantage during their wins.

Part of the reason is that when you look at tournament winners, then there’s a different one every week, and whoever wins that week is someone who’s playing well above their norm.

That’s part of the reason that people tend to believe in the importance of putting – they see putts going in from all over the planet when they watch the highlight reels of someone winning a tournament but they don’t show the shots that get them there.

IGPN:  You spoke recently at an MIT Conference with Tiger Woods’ and Justin Rose’s coach, Sean Foley, about how he and other coaches can turn the data produced using strokes gained into actionable data and also on the statistical approach coaches should have – what do you think are the main ways a coach can use this type of information?

MB: It’s definitely easier for coaches whose pupils are PGA Tour golfers because of the ShotLink® data that’s available…the PGA Tour records all of the shots of all of the players at all PGA Tour events.  You can break down a golfer’s strengths and weaknesses fairly accurately [using strokes gained] and that allows a coach like Sean Foley to focus his instruction on what will give the biggest bang for the buck.

It would be ideal if amateurs went to their instructors with strokes gained reports, which detailed their trends, strengths and weaknesses.  It is possible for amateur golfers to collect data on their own shots, using lasers or yardage books, and then use the tables in the book to do the strokes gained analysis on their own.  We’re working on an app that I am hoping will be ready for beta-testing in two or three months that will make it even easier for individuals to do it themselves.

You want to make it as painless as possible for golfers to record their shot information – the PGA Tour pros have it great because someone else is doing it for them – but for amateur golfers data entry is the hurdle.  The good thing is it’s really not that painful for an amateur to record their own data  – I’ve been doing it for years and the app will make it even easier. In my database of amateur golf shots, it shows that putting contributes about the same to scoring differences as it does for the pros. But every golfer is unique, and having strokes gained report for individual golfers would be, I think, quite useful for coaches.

The book shows how you can go out to the practice green or short game area and test your skills by hitting a bunch of putts and shots.  There are tables in the book where you can compare yourself to pros and amateurs of various levels.  It’s fun and you can do it in a short period of time, an hour or so, though it has the disadvantage that it’s not in tournament play and it’s not in the changing conditions that you might get on the course.


In EVERY SHOT COUNTS: Using the Revolutionary Strokes-Gained Approach to Improve Your Golf Performance and Strategy (Gotham Books, March 10, 2014, Hardcover, eBook) Broadie explains the simple idea behind strokes gained and shows how it applies to all golf shots. He uses it to answer many questions of golf performance: What does it take to win a PGA Tour tournament? What is the secret behind Tiger Woods’ success? Which skills separate amateurs from pros? How much is twenty extra yards of driving distance worth?

EVERY SHOT COUNTS also uses this new data to analyze golf strategy: Lay up or go for it? Play an aggressive or conservative shot off the tee? Not a book about swing mechanics, EVERY SHOT COUNTS uses data and analytics to better understand golf performance and golf strategy. EVERY SHOT COUNTS reveals truths that will change the way golfers of all handicaps look at and play the game.

For more information visit www.everyshotcounts.com and to purchase your copy of EVERY SHOT COUNTS visit the Amazon Bookstore here http://eur.pe/PA76cZ (includes a short preview of the book).

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Every Shot Counts: Using the Revolutionary Strokes-Gained Statistics to Improve Golf Performance & Strategy
[PODCAST] David Leadbetter – Coaching Through the Generations http://www.pgae.com/ask/david-leadbetter-coaching-through-the-generations/ Tue, 02 May 2017 03:02:24 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=15332 David Leadbetter explains more about his thoughts on the modern game and his reflections on coaching from past experiences...]]>

David Leadbetter has been at the forefront of the golf coaching psyche for as long as we can probably remember. Or around the mid-80s depending on how old you are.

His work in carving out a place in history for England’s greatest golfer, Sir Nick Faldo, has helped him build a reputation around the world for being at the forefront of coaching some of the greatest players to play the modern game.

He could also arguably be credited with the development, if not creation, of the ‘tour coach’. A coach that isn’t just with a player for sporadic swing check-ups, but one that forms a key part of the athlete’s team and spends significant time with them both away and at tournaments.

At the 144th Open Championship at St Andrews, the PGAs of Europe caught up with David in his natural habitat – strolling the golfer-dense driving range of a major championship, checking in on his myriad of athletes’ competing that week. Where better to pick his brains about the past 30 years…

“Just the time flies by and you see a whole host of different players now and a new generation of young players…”

Leadbetter’s viewpoint has been one that is only shared with a handful of names in the coaching world – a behind-the-scenes look at what was once one of the sport’s best-kept secrets – the inner workings of a tour professional. A perspective that has enabled him to see the game evolve first hand:

“It’s gone by in a flash really…1990 was when obviously Nick Faldo won here and that was 25 year ago and obviously he had his little swansong here at St Andrews this week and it’s incredible really.

“Just the time flies by and you see a whole host of different players now and a new generation of young players. If you think just this week there’s five amateurs making the cut…it just shows the gap between the professionals and the amateurs is getting closer – we’ve got an amateur leading the tournament…it’s amazing really where the game’s come from and where…it’s going to go to.

“I guess it’s progress – you’ve got better athletes, better equipment – these players are looking like it’s a real job now, it’s a business – there’s always been somebody with a lot of talent to show up and play well and it was almost by happenstance that they were successful.

“But now it’s sort of a plan from a very young age where you know you’ve got junior academies all over the world, you’ve got players from a multitude of countries.”

“It’s really interesting to see how well trained these young players are and how focused they are…”

Leadbetter was very much a trailblazer and was not afraid of adopting new methods and technology in his work, regardless of how it might have looked to his contemporaries:

“It was rather the exception than the rule back in the day when players had coaches – I was sort of a phenomenon from the standpoint of I had a video camera and people were looking saying wow. Nick Faldo lead the way as far as creating better work habits shall we say and having a coach, looking at workouts and looking at nutrition, sports psychologists. Now you have teams of people around, like Jordan Spieth always refer to it as ‘we’ – ‘we are doing this and that’. A swing coach, sports psychologist, the fella that works with him on his physical training.

“Obviously when you’re talking about the amount of money that they’re playing for – Tiger Woods has been a big factor in this – it’s no wonder that you’re seeing people with talent that are pushed to the limit.

“It’s going to be interesting in years to come – one of the things that we’re seeing, especially in the women’s game, is how long careers last. There’s a lot more emphasis on how really putting the reps in at a young age – you’re seeing injuries with these young players that we haven’t seen in the past so that is a factor.

“Just look at Jordan Spieth who’s 21 and a whole host of young players stateside and also in Europe now and in the far east too, who are exceptional players at a much younger age through better coaching and all the rest of it. From things in the past it really is progress in many ways.

Article-Header-Images_David-Leadbetter_02

“It’s really interesting, looking at it from my perspective, to see how well trained these young players are and how focused they are. Golf is a game where there’s no team aspect, apart form the Ryder or Presidents Cups, but it really is a one-on-one situation and so there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on them to perform at the highest level.”

Whilst the elite and tour golfers have kept him busy for much of his career, Leadbetter is no stranger to teaching a range of golfers. He continues to coach all types of players himself, and, together with his small army of Leadbetter coaches and Academies, has many touch points with the sport across its many and varied ability levels.

This permeation across the sport and his inclusion of many PGA Professionals into his fold has again given him a perspective that few others can have really seen on the ground…

“I think the standard of coaches has definitely improved through the PGAs worldwide getting together with seminars and experts in their field talking to individuals.

“It’s interesting – we do live in an age of technology and all the aspects there are that we’re able to ascertain what’s going wrong with peoples’ swings. We can analyse to the nth degree – as I like to say in the old days when we didn’t have video cameras and it was just our eye and our instincts as teachers and coaches, it was just our opinion which was the main factor. These days we can actually prove how bad people are when we look at Trackman and we look at biomechanics and we can see all these numbers.

So the secret is still how to transmit that information to the average player in a simple fashion where they can out and play. Because we also have to remember that the issue here really is that although we have all this technology which in some ways makes things more complex, people have less time to play and practice than they ever have in the past so if anything you’ve actually got to get the message across in a more simpler fashion so people can have immediate improvement.

The old theories back in the day where you’ve got to work at it for six or nine months with a grip change and this and that and just be patient. But people aren’t patient these days they want it now and if they don’t get it from one source they’ll get it from another.

“I’m glad in many respects that I grew up in the era where we didn’t have the mod cons because you have to use your eyes, instincts and intuition to teach…”

“You can go on the Internet and there’s a million and one ways to fix things so that is a danger. I think it’s important from the teacher’s standpoint…I’m glad in many respects that I grew up in the era where we didn’t have the mod cons because you have to use your eyes, instincts and intuition to teach.

“Where I think a lot of young teachers unfortunately because of the advent of all this technology they tend to rely on that purely so that is a danger.

“But I think it’s nice to know that if you have this detailed knowledge as a teacher, to be able to put it across in a simpler fashion and having the knowledge of maybe not being a sports psychologist as such, but having a psychology approach where you can get people to clear their mind. Those are the things that need to be taught as well to players if they are going to fulfil their potential.

Leadbetter has also been known for his role in developing the golf coach into more of a commercial entity and could arguably be termed the first ‘branded’ golf coach having developed the Leadbetter brand around the globe with over 20 academies and selling millions of books and videos.

But he has also produced a number of theories or swing systems for golfers – most recently his ‘A Swing’ has been the focus of his attention and the development of this approach with his players.

“I’ve written a number of books through the years and instructional videos, and I thought about this for a long while and I really wanted to bring out something that was a little bit different and something that was hopefully a bit simpler.

So this book, ‘The A Swing’, which stands for ‘alternative’, is really an alternative way to swing the club from the standpoint of making a simpler backswing because that’s the area that I think most amateurs get confused by.

They spend so much time and energy trying to create a nice backswing they never really get into the issue of trying to make contact. If you think of cricket or tennis and everything’s about going forward, making contact, hitting the ball towards a target. And yet in golf it’s almost an after-thought – ‘oh yeah look, the ball went down the middle of the fairway.’

I wanted to bring this out and it’s a fairly simple approach and really it’s been out in the States for five weeks now and the feedback has been really good, from people at all levels from beginner to tour level. I’ve got 20 test students and it’s been a couple of years in the making shall we say.

“The essence of this ‘A Swing’ is really helping people to synchronise their body parts – essentially synchronising your arm swing with the body rotation because I think that’s where people really have an issue. If you got someone to do a mini pivot drill without a club, just fold their arms and put the club behind their shoulders or hips or one of the many variations of a pivot drill, you could get them to make a pretty reasonable movement in a very short space of time. But yet you put a club in their hand and that looks nothing like it – it’s almost as if the body is reacting to where the club is – so out of sync with the swing.

‘Synchronisation to me is a big word, regardless of whether you use the ‘A Swing’ or whatever you use. To me when players are really on song, and even amateurs, it’s as if the timing of the swing if you will, where the clubhead is relative to where the body is, you know they really match up well.

“I think Tiger Woods was a perfect example of being out of sync, especially when he gets on the first tee and the first tee shot is inevitably a push shot, and it’s a little bit nervous and the synchronisation is an issue.

“This book’s been well received as I say, there’s some simple drills, and the thing about it is it’s not really a method, I would like to call it an organic approach because it doesn’t have to be perfect – there is a model that you can work towards, but as we all know what you work towards and what you achieve can be two different things.”

That’s the great thing about this game, you continue learning…and if you’re not learning then you’re going backwards instead of forwards…”

“I could keep doing what I’ve done, which has been fine and some of the stuff I taught back in the nineties is still a factor in my philosophy shall we say. But if you remember the old mobile telephones, those big clunking things, compared now to the iPhone, there’s a big difference.

“It would be strange to say you haven’t gone forward or had any sort of progress in your philosophy or your outlook. So I would say essentially a lot of it is very much based on my original thoughts of the dog wagging the tail syndrome where I really believe the bigger parts, certainly you’ve got to understand how the hands and arms work, but your power, your balance comes very much from how your torso moves and so I haven’t really changed in that so I haven’t really had an epiphany and said ‘ok, whatever I’ve taught the last 40-odd years has been wrong’, because it’s a continual learning process.”

So with this experience and knowledge constantly building up, where does Leadbetter think coaching is going in the future…?

“I think that in many respects golf instruction needs a little bit of a shake-up, the instructional business shall we say.

“The thing I think we’re really got to be careful of in this day and age is that we don’t over complicate things for the masses. When talking with tour players, they can get into it to a certain extent so far as ground force pressure and how exactly what is taking place with the angle of attack and the track, the flush squareness of contact. But the average amateur really probably couldn’t give a hoot, it’s like ‘hey just show me how to hit the ball more consistently, I want to lose fewer balls, have more fun,’ and if we can do that to people there’s an excellent chance of people staying in the game and more people getting into the game.”

Click Here to Listen to the interview in Full (http://eur.pe/1VrKafJ)

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[PODCAST] David Leadbetter – Coaching Through the Generations
The Difference Between Winning & Losing with Jon Stabler & Dr. Deborah Graham http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-difference-between-winning-losing-with-jon-stabler-dr-deborah-graham/ Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:53:32 +0000 Golf Science Lab http://www.pgae.com/?p=18636 Golf Science Lab, Jon Stabler & Dr. Deborah Graham look at personality traits and what we can learn by separating those that win and those that don't...]]>

We’re going to take a look at personality traits and see what we can learn by seeing what separates the elite golfers (who can win) and those that don’t. Our guests have done the testing only directly with players on the LPGA, PGA, and Champions Tour players.

We keep treating people like a machine, and we don’t address the controller.

If you don’t have control of yourself, your thoughts and your level of arousal, you have no chance.

The 8 Trait Study

Dr. Deborah Graham set out to see if there was a difference between the frequent winners and the other LPGA tour players in terms of personality traits.

She had them take the Cattell 16PF personality test and then took data on each players’ career record. Creating groups of the ‘frequent winners’, and then she had a ‘near champion’ group, who had won once or twice but been on tour for a while, and a ‘non-champion’ group who’d been on tour a long time and never won.

Then using statistical analysis software she analyzed and compared the groups and compared them by personality traits. The analysis said that on eight of the personality traits, the ‘frequent winner’ group was different from the other two groups, and the level of statistical distinction was at the 95th percentile and above. On the 9th trait compared, the level of statistical distinction dropped down to the 60th percentile.

The difference between the champions and the other players is night and day. The champion group lines up on these traits and the other players do not. Those eight traits existed; Dr. Deborah discovered them.

A Case Study

(From Jon Stabler) Gary McCord had known us for quite a while, in fact he had us consult on Tin Cup. When he turned 49, he’d been commentating already for a while, he liked it, life was good but he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity the senior tour presented. He wanted to play, but he didn’t want to change his life. He didn’t want to give up the commentating, he didn’t want to go into a major effort to get ready and came to us for help.

A little back story on Gary, he played 376 PGA tour events in his PGA tour career, he made 242 cuts, no wins.

After we got the results back of his assessment, it became somewhat obvious where his challenges were. He only lined up on two of the eight champion traits. He was off the mark on the other six, but there were two of those, one in particular that was the most damaging.

He measured very high on the abstract scale. The frequent winners on tour do not. They only measure slightly above average on the abstract side of the scale. His biggest challenge is quieting his mind and making a decision he can commit to in a short amount of time.

The old cliché is ‘paralysis by analysis.’

On tour, if you are the first to hit, you have 40 seconds by the time you get to the ball. You can’t think about all the options. You have to come to a decision pretty quickly and play the shot. If you are over the ball and still thinking about what you are supposed to do and what you need to do and think about whether you have the right target or whether you have the right shot, or making adjustments because the wind just came up, there is no way you are going to hit the ball well.

Once he understood that, he was able to keep it simple, game plan the night before, so all the thinking is done when in a more relaxed state. Secondly, listen to your intuition. What we found is that people high in the abstracts scale have really good intuition or first impressions. Go with the first impression. Don’t over-think it. Thirdly, on the putting green, read the putts from behind and below the hole and then stop. Don’t second-guess it, don’t go to the other side of the hole, it will just give you too much information, you’ll get confused.

With that work and basic mental routine information, Gary was able to go out and win in the rookie year on the senior tour.

He won 2 out 17 events with the same guys he couldn’t beat on the regular tour.

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About Jon Stabler

Jon Stabler is co-founder of GolfPsych. Along with being a co-researcher and co-author in the personality study of golfers and the resulting book, “The Eight Traits of Champion Golfers”, Jon has developed and conducts our GolfPsych group schools and Instructor training programs. He has worked with numerous competitive juniors, pros and college teams including TCU, SMU, A&M and Baylor.

Jon invented the Mind Meter used in GolfPsych schools & programs. It enables GolfPsych clients to quickly learn to manage emotions and attain optimum tension levels for golf shots.

About Dr Deborah Graham

Dr. Deborah Graham is a licensed Counseling Psychologist specializing in golf performance. Working with professional and amateur golfers from around the world, her client list includes over 380 players on the PGA, LPGA and Champions Tours, 21 of which she helped guide to 31 major championships. She was recently chosen by Golf Digest to their first Top 10 Sport Psychologists in Golf list!

Beginning in 1981 with a study of LPGA players she determined the statistical differences between champion and average players on tour, collecting data with the assistance of LPGA hall of fame member, Carol Mann. The findings helped earn her doctorate and discovered 8 critical personality traits for success in golf. This study was duplicated on the PGA and SR. PGA tours with the assistance of her husband, Jon Stabler, again finding the 8 champion traits and forming the foundation of the GolfPsych mental game training system. These studies and their Tour experience resulted in their book, “The Eight Traits of Champion Golfers”, published by Simon and Schuster in 1999.

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The Difference Between Winning & Losing with Jon Stabler & Dr. Deborah Graham
Lessons That Matter – Junior Coaching & its Meaningful Impact on Young People http://www.pgae.com/ask/lessons-that-matter-junior-coaching-its-meaningful-impact-on-young-people/ Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:10:28 +0000 Corey Lundberg & Matt Wilson of Curious Coaches http://www.pgae.com/?p=18628 The Curious Coaches discuss whether it is a requisite or just a coincidence that those seemingly naturally happy coaches gravitate towards junior golf?]]>

As I meet more and more coaches, I have begun to notice a common denominator among a certain group – junior golf coaches.  All the best ones seem to be relentlessly cheerful while radiating their passion for growing the game and working with young athletes.  Why are they so positive and upbeat all the time?!

Mull it over for a second.  Think about the best junior golf coach that you know and test my theory.  I’m pretty confident it holds up.

Is it a requisite or just a coincidence that those seemingly naturally happy coaches gravitate towards junior golf?  Or perhaps it’s a result, a natural by-product of the positive work they do making a meaningful impact on the lives of young people.  These coaches do work that matters.

Everyday they connect with an impressionable student at a critical time of their development as people and golfers.  Subsequently, it seems that these expert junior coaches adopt an approach far different than what is common from their adult instructing counterparts.

Because the typical adult student seeks instruction with very specific directives concerning a fix or a flaw, the attention and efforts are focused there– say, fixing a slice.  But a junior golf coach is tasked with much more than fixing.

Their curriculum extends beyond ‘How to Golf’ and encompasses a far richer set of topics:

  • How to learn
  • How to deal with adversity
  • How to win
  • How to fail and it’s impact on the learning process
  • How to interact with others and it’s impact on performance, enjoyment, and learning
  • How to practice
  • How to play by the rules and value sportsmanship
  • How to play, not just on the course, but to deepen learning and increase enjoyment

The list goes on, an expert junior coach could expand upon that list for days.  And that’s not to say that some coaches don’t implement similar curriculum in all their lessons, its just that these types of lessons are especially expected in developing young golfers.

About half of my coaching time is spent with young athletes.  While I love coaching all golfers, my time with the juniors is certainly the most gratifying.  I feel like I’m making a difference and living up to every coach’s most paramount mission: enriching lives. So as I’ve pondered the fundamental differences in coaching these two groups, I have begun to ask myself a question — ‘If it’s so gratifying, why have I not been approaching EVERY golf lesson with the same mindset?!’

As soon as I leave the juniors and begin a lesson with an adult golfer, my mindset shifts drastically.  Instead of striving to serve as LIFE ENRICH-ER, I too often become ‘INFORMATION TRANSFERRER’.  Not quite the same ring to it.

Can a lesson in which the teacher acts exclusively as a transferrer of information ever really matter? The slice or the hook might disappear, but the precious opportunity to make an impact on another human may be lost.  If all we do is spout our vast knowledge of the golf swing and its various subtopics, is it possible to really make an impact?  Does your time spent coaching really matter?

Maybe the shift in mindset occurs because expectations from our adult students are so different.  Both coach and student have many years of indoctrination of what a lesson should look like.  But while the pupils may come with different life experience and expectations, what would a typical lesson look like if the ‘Junior Golf Mindset’ was applied?

What if the goal was always to enrich a life, not just fix a slice?

Here are a few concepts that allow a great junior coach to make a lasting impact on students.  To me, they represent cornerstones of what I see as an effective Junior Golf Mindset.  As you read through the various elements, ask yourself if you approach things the same way in every lesson or if it changes depending on the age of your student.

Connection. 

If you visit your favorite junior golf coach on the lesson tee, you might have to lower your eye level.  They know that getting down on the same level as the junior golfer is an effective way to connect and communicate.  While the adult golfer may not require the same kneel down manoeuvre, too many coaches fail to make an authentic connection.  Connection can be sacrificed for credibility.  With kids, your authority is assumed, it comes with the title.  So for some, with an adult it’s more important to be seen as the authority than to make the authentic connection that creates trust and acceptance within the learning environment.

Discovery and Empowerment.

Because nothing will bore a group of 10 year-olds quite like an hour-long lecture on ball flight laws, we are forced to get creative with young athletes.  Instead of telling them, we show them.  We have them experiment and explore.  Their shorter attention span forces us to allow students to experience new concepts, not just be told about them.  This experience lends itself to a deeper understanding that empowers them to self-coach.

Failures and judgement.

When a fragile young ego is on the lesson tee, we approach failure far different than we do with adults.  We frame failure as a positive part of the learning process.  They’re young; we expect them to mess up as they go.  Yet for adults, failures can sometime seem unacceptable.  Our interactions lack the same compassion that seems so much easier to exhibit for our younger students.  We don’t deal with failures as delicately, yet adults are just as affected by the judgement and disappointment accompanied by a perceived failure.  Too much emphasis is placed on immediate results without respecting or embracing the role of failure in the developmental process.

Fun and Games.

I end every one of our junior sessions with a game.  For the juniors, it’s a light and fun way to apply the lessons of the day.  But it’s also an essential step in bridging the gap between understanding and performance.  The benefits of implementing challenges and an opportunity for ‘play’ in all lessons are abundant: maximize the enjoyment factor, increase the likelihood that students transfer new skills to the course, and introduce effective practice habits.

Long Term Learning.

Obviously we approach juniors with a more long-term approach.  After all, we have more time, right?  The sky is the limit and skill and ability seems so malleable at that early phase of growth.  We focus on establishing a solid foundation of fundamentals from which our juniors can develop skills.  Emphasis is placed on educating the golfer about an effective learning process, not on urgent solutions that are often unsustainable for golfers who seek a quick fix.  What if we approached every student with the same sense of possibility and hope?

Simplification.

With a 6 year old, you don’t have many options when it comes to demonstrating a new motor skill.  Every concept has to be distilled down the most fundamental idea.  Instructions have to be succinct  but vivid.  The possibility of overwhelming students with a litany complex instruction and information disappears simply because it’s no longer an option.

Think back to that happy-go-lucky junior golf coach.  Maybe they’re so happy because they approach each lesson with the fascination and creativity that is inherent in working with young people.

After examining these ideas, it’s easy to see that those coaches are on to something.  While they leave it to the rest of us to argue and trivially debate the finer technical points of the golf swing, they go out and make a difference everyday.  And the very same mindset that allows them to enrich lives, makes them more effective coaches!

If the same attitude is applied to coaching students of all ages, more effective lessons are inevitable.  And it’s more fun to boot!  Instead of just spewing information, each day is approached with creativity and passion.

Every lesson would matter.

Maybe the concepts above are unique to my own experience.  I’m anxious to hear thoughts from others on the subject, I have a feeling that I’m not alone.  Please feel free to leave comments describing your own experience.  I look forward to exploring the topic more.

– COREY LUNDBERG & MATT WILSON

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Lessons That Matter – Junior Coaching & its Meaningful Impact on Young People
Isn’t Coaching the Same as Mentoring? http://www.pgae.com/ask/isnt-coaching-the-same-as-mentoring/ Wed, 05 Apr 2017 13:57:58 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=18603 "Downey’s Spectrum of Coaching Skills gives pause for thought as we consider whether one can be called a coach if learners are told what we would do..."]]>

Downey’s Spectrum of Coaching Skills gives pause for thought as we consider whether one can be called a coach if learners are told what we would do in their circumstances. The quick answer is that if you make a proposal then you are closer to mentoring or training.

Coaching is about using the appropriate questions to establish whether the learner can find their own solution to a need or problem. As Downey says, the most important distinction in the spectrum is between directive and non-directive coaching. It is dangerous to assume that when one is told something then one knows that something. This is too often not the case.

‘Occasionally, as part of a training programme to develop coaching skills, I take the participants onto the golf course. The purpose in this is to get them to deepen their non-directive coaching skills, the theory being that if they do not know the techniques involved in playing golf they cannot resort to instructions’.

Many golf coaches, professionals, teachers, trainers and facilitators, have come across similar situations; Downey puts it down to being ‘trapped in teaching’ and suggests that, ironically, we do not always consider that teaching might not have too much to do with learning.

The Nature and Role of Coaching

What is coaching?

  • The key which unlocks the potential to ultimate performance.
  • Facilitates SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-bound) learning to set achievable goals.
  • Encouragement of self belief and positive internal interactions in order to realise potential and achieve goals.
  • A two-way process where an individual’s performance is improved through reflection on the task and analysed through conversation and questioning with their coach. Both agree on a plan of action, set SMART objectives and then act to achieve their goal. The coach monitors progress at agreed intervals and gives decisive feedback.
  • A recognised style of leadership.

What does a learning Coach Do?

A learning Coach:

  • Provides support, guidance, coaching and mentoring to learners to help them plan their own learning
  • Creates student ownership – allows student to identify their own learning strategies
  • Maximises progress in a variety of areas of intelligence, including emotional intelligence
  • Identifies goals
  • Develops action plans
  • Monitors, reflects and records progress.

Twelve Principles of Coaching

To provide opportunities for others to learn about their own performance, their limitations and their solutions, it is crucial that the coach creates an environment for learning. People see benefits from coaching in a place where it is safe to disclose information and share ideas that, perhaps, have never been disclosed before. Trust must be built, therefore the following principles apply:

  1. Non-judgmental
  2. Non-critical
  3. Believe that students have all the answers within them
  4. Adjust ‘big goals’ into achievable steps
  5. Hold a genuine willingness to learn from their students
  6. Respect confidentiality
  7. Build and maintain self-esteem
  8. Be positive
  9. Challenge students to move outside their comfort zone and habits
  10. Believe that there are always solutions to issues
  11. Attentive to recognising and pointing out strengths
  12. Believe that self-knowledge improves performance

Change of Thinking

To excel as a learning coach we may need to fundamentally change our thinking. A learning coach needs to drop their own agenda to resolve other people’s problems and develop a more open-minded approach, resisting the temptation to guide individuals towards solutions. Coaching is about a principled, trustworthy and honest approach to support people in finding their own solutions…learning coaches can but rarely advise.

Learning coaches grow the belief in students that if they think an issue, problem or concern through, then they will know the next step in resolving the situation; all they need to do is to take action and follow it, which will lead to improvement.

Do you:

  • Complete other people’s sentences in your head before they have finished? Move on in your mind to the solution that you would choose for the person?
  • Use closed questions to direct people?
  • Use leading questions to guide others to a specific solution that you have identified? Almost instantly believe that you know the answer they need?
  • Make up your mind on one way to resolve a problem or enhance performance and push that idea?
  • Become annoyed if your solutions for others are rejected?
  • Find that your ideas are not implemented and then the same individual returns with other problems for you to resolve?
  • Secretly acknowledge that you do not have the answers to all the problems of others?

If any or all of the above apply to you, then coaching could be a way of relieving frustrations, dissipating annoyance and taking the pressure off yourself to come up with the answer. Coaching will allow you to promote independent thinking in others. A key skill required of a teacher!

The fundamental rule in non-directive coaching is that we do not step ahead of the student and plan the path to a solution for them. The coach must silence their inner agenda to solve the problem ahead of the student. When coaches give advice or guidance they remove from the student any understanding of the process. If the student does not understand the process, then they return again for advice. Coach them, and they get the answers and the process to use next time.

Learning Coaches are curious..

Learning Coaches ask questions..

Learning Coaches support students to learn about their situation fully. Learning Coaches are more than problem-solvers, they encourage others to understand their perspective and amend their behaviours to allow optimum performance.

“Alfred Korzybski in 1933 explained the concept that ‘the map is not the territory’. In other words, what we experience of a situation is not necessarily how our student experiences it and vice versa” (Thomas, 2005, p.15).

“Only the student fully appreciates the complexity of their current situation”.

Time for Reflection!…

When did you last experience something that seemed very different for another person?

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Isn’t Coaching the Same as Mentoring?
The R&A and the USGA Publish Research On Driving Distance in Golf http://www.pgae.com/news/the-ra-and-the-usga-publish-research-on-driving-distance-in-golf/ Thu, 16 Feb 2017 20:01:18 +0000 The R&A http://www.pgae.com/?p=18156 The R&A and the USGA have published their annual review of driving distance, a research document that reports important findings on driving distance in golf.]]>

The R&A and the USGA have published their annual review of driving distance, a research document that reports important findings on driving distance in golf.

Introduced last year, the review examines driving distance data from seven of the major professional golf tours, based on approximately 285,000 drives per year. Data from studies of male and female amateur golfers has also been included for the first time.

Key facts noted in the paper include:

  • Between 2003 and the end of the 2016 season, average driving distance on five of the seven tours has increased by approximately 1.2%, around 0.2 yards per year.
  • For the same time period, average driving distance on the other two tours studied decreased by approximately 1.5%.
  • Looking at all of the players who are ranked for distance on the PGA TOUR and PGA European Tour, the amount by which players are “long” or “short” has not changed – for instance, since 2003 the 10 shortest players in that group are about 6% shorter than average, while the 10 longest players in the group are about 7% longer than average. The statistics are not skewed toward either longer or shorter players.
  • The average launch conditions on the PGA TOUR – clubhead speed, launch angle, ball speed and ball backspin – have been relatively stable since 2007. The 90th-percentile clubhead speed coupled with the average launch angle and spin rate are very close to the conditions that The R&A and the USGA, golf’s governing bodies, use to test golf balls under the Overall Distance Standard.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “In the interests of good governance and transparency it is important that we continue to provide reliable data and facts about driving distance in golf.

“Driving distance remains a topic of discussion within the game and the review provides accurate data to help inform the debate.”

Mike Davis, Executive Director/CEO of the USGA, said, “We appreciate the collaboration we have received, industry-wide, to access and review this data to benefit the entire golf community, which can be used to both educate golfers and advance the game.”

The 2016 report can be viewed at www.RandA.org and www.usga.org or downloaded here 2016 Distance Report.pdf

The R&A and the USGA published the Joint Statement of Principles in May 2002, which confirmed their commitment to the fundamental notion that skill, not technology, should be the primary determinant of success in the game. The Joint Statement acknowledged the benefits of equipment technology for golf but noted that any further significant increases in hitting distances at the highest level were undesirable.

Since then, The R&A and the USGA have continued to monitor equipment technology’s effect on the game, and considered the effects of other factors, such as course set-up, athleticism and coaching. When appropriate, new Rules have been introduced after discussions with equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders, in accordance with the Equipment Rulemaking Procedures produced in 2011.

Click Here to Download the 2016 Distance Report [PDF]

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The R&A and the USGA Publish Research On Driving Distance in Golf
Looking In the Mirror – A Coach’s Catalyst for Change http://www.pgae.com/ask/looking-in-the-mirror-a-coachs-catalyst-for-change/ Thu, 16 Feb 2017 15:18:30 +0000 Corey Lundberg & Matt Wilson of Curious Coaches http://www.pgae.com/?p=18144 The team at Curious Coaches explain why self-reflection is an essential activity for coaches who are driven towards continuous learning and improvement...]]>

With the start of a new year it’s natural to use this fresh start as an action to take stock on our annual accomplishments and disappointments.  In the past, we’ve formulated a couple of ways that you can go about formalizing this annual evaluation process.  We see it as an essential activity for coaches who are driven towards continuous learning and improvement.  Looking back at our personal ‘annual reviews’, it’s fun to see how this process has sparked ideas and projects that ended up creating significant results for us.  While we’ve focused on this reflection process in a macro view of our coaching business and development, this year we want to share our thoughts and experiences related specifically to contemplating our coaching skills and how we can improve.

‘Are you getting by, or are you getting better?’  This is a question that we have heard a mentor pose to clients on several occasions.

It’s a seemingly simple question that is inherently complex and thus very difficult to answer.  Why? You have to answer it yourself through reflection. While it’s often uncomfortable to look at oneself from the perspective of the third person (nobody wants to see what they don’t want to), or to question and think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it– it’s an essential and enlightening process.  It brings us full circle and cuts to the essence of why we are all here: we don’t know what we don’t know– and we have a strong desire to change that.  We are infinitely curious.

Despite the fact that we haven’t been writing, we’ve still been learning – quite a bit, in fact.  How? Reflection.

Reflection is the primary means through which we grow and evolve. Our practice is informed by our experience, and we need to invest the time and energy to look at said experience with a critical eye.  A thorough examination of our choices and behaviors helps us identify and reinforce the actions that correlate to success, and therefore the things we should keep doing, as well as the actions or choices that led to the opposite result.  As coaches, it is our job to evolve.  Given that 2017 is upon us, we want to dig a little deeper into this topic, and provide you with an example of the result of some of our own reflection, so that the entire coaching community (ok, we digress–any readers that have endured the prolonged break) can hit the ground running in the new year.

Dr. Wade Gilbert, a professor of Kinesiology at Fresno State University (and regular guest lecturer in Matt’s Coaching Effectiveness class at UBC), is one of the world’s leading experts on coaching science.  Much of his research focuses on how coaches develop their expertise.  Through his years of research, he’s identified that informal learning is a primary means through which expert coaches grow and develop.  Much of that informal learning is triggered internally, by reflection.  All coaches think about their experience, but only the experts try to understand why and how they can improve on it.  In other words, experts are curious about their performance, and have a desire to do it better.

We know that having experience and learning from that experience are catalysts for growth.  So, what are the mechanics of the process? How do you process that experience and make adjustments to your behavior?  How do you integrate it into what you do? While, we’re still trying to answer those questions ourselves, we have been following these two practices to help us get improve: Reflective practice and critical reflection.  Yes, they sound similar (which they are), but they are inherently different.

REFLECTIVE PRACTICE V. CRITICAL REFLECTION

When we think about reflective practice and/or reflection, the image that comes to mind is a steady stream of thought on a car ride home.  These are the relatively short, internal conversations that we have with ourselves, daily, that don’t require significant effort.  They’re mental ‘notes’ that often focus on problems we encountered, or about things that went particularly well in a given instance.  Sometimes, these conversations lead us to discover a different way to go about addressing a situation.

Critical reflection, on the other hand, is much more significant.  These are the reflections that force you to take a step back and consider the beliefs that underpin your actions and behaviors. They often represent an internal inventory-taking of your coaching skills and beliefs, and facilitate a deeper dive into self-improvement, often involving interacting with third parties, and other members of your coaching network for answers.  These are critical, evolutionary moments that identify gaps and signal action towards closing them, ultimately leading to relatively permanent change in behavior.

Reflective Practice Critical Reflection
Constant process; daily Event-specific endeavor; not scheduled
Identifies smaller, specific problems Identifies the origin of problems
Develops minor solutions Develops major solutions
Reasoning of behavior Questioning of behavior
Surface learning Deeper learning
Very little behavior change More significant behavior change

The point we want to make is that over the last 6 months, we’ve been thrust into opportunities that have illuminated the shortcomings we have as coaches.  The fleeting thoughts about an occasion that didn’t go as planned are often more frustrating than productive.  Critical reflection elicits more intrigue than frustration, it actually moves the needle.  Through continued reflection – both in the daily and critical sense – we’ve given ourselves a chance to grow and improve.

ACTIONABLES

  • Keep a journal. Logging your days and jotting down your thoughts helps you become aware of any patterns that exist.  The notes serve as an informational foundation for critical analysis and eventually, change.
  • Budget time to be critical. Going deeper into your reflections to create understanding, and ultimately change, takes time and effort.  Ensure that you are setting aside time either monthly or quarterly, to be self-critical, such that you can get a plan in place to close any gaps that you perceive to be apparent.
  • Be vulnerable. Seeing yourself in action is a great way to understand your behavior.  You’ll become aware of a number of great things, as identify a few areas to improve.  Also, it is OK to not know.  Seek the opinions of others, as it’ll help close your knowledge gaps and make you aware of new solutions.  Yes, it is an uncomfortable process, but very much worth it.
  • Remain as objective as possible. It can be far too easy to grade your paper against unrealistic standards. This can be done with film (as you’ll see below), or through a trusted friend/advisor who is invested in your success.  360 degree reviews or anonymous surveys are also helpful tools that can inform you of blind sports in your practice.

AN EXAMPLE FROM MATT

One of my biggest challenges is staying sharp, mentally and physically, day in and day out.  I feel very strongly that my effectiveness, and behavior, is directly related to the amount of energy I have available.  Over the past few weeks, I felt ineffective, but couldn’t quite figure out why.  Physically, I felt fine. And mentally? I thought I was sharp.  Still, something was missing – I was getting by, not getting better.

In the offseason, we do a lot of instructing and a heavy emphasis is placed on refining techniques and building skills.  When doing a lot of ‘teaching’, I find it easy to get into a pattern that is very directive and very generous with the provision of feedback in an effort to guide the learner to the desired outcome as quickly as possible.  It is as if we work extra hard to reduce the amount of mental effort required on behalf of the learner such that we can make the learning process ‘easier’.  In attempting to accelerate and simplify the learning process by reducing the amount of cognitive energy invested by the learner, pre and post movement, we end up having the opposite effect; we severely limit their learning.  They end up relying on our guidance to make corrections rather than making adjustments based on their evaluation of both the intrinsic and extrinsic feedback they receive from the movement, relative to their kinesthetic concept of what they are trying to learn.

I felt ineffective because I had it backwards.  I became overly concerned with WHAT the athletes needed to do, and didn’t place enough energy into HOW those interventions were carried out.  As a result, what needed to happen (their learning), didn’t.

So, what did I do to make the corrections?

To start, I set different goals for the day.  The goals focused on the learning environment we created, as opposed to the specific content that was to be learned.  My aim was for the client to be more cognitively engaged than in sessions past.  My plan to achieve that goal was twofold.  First, I wanted to ensure that I was cultivating the athlete’s capacity to accurately detect error.  The goal was to provide them with the opportunity to contrast what they did vs. what they intended such that they could calibrate their sensory feedback accordingly.  Second, I aimed to optimize the provision of feedback, delaying it until after the athlete had the chance to evaluate their intrinsic feedback, as well as establishing a bandwidth, outside of which prescriptive feedback would be provided.

Next, I wore a GoPro and filmed the day to gauge how successful I was in executing my objectives.  I wanted to see what the environment was actually like.

Below is a video excerpt from a session where we worked with an athlete on developing their control over the speed of their putts.  As stated prior, my objective was to provide the client with a better learning environment; one that challenged them cognitively, technically, and physically.  I structured the activity with the end goal of expanding the capacity of the learner to accurately assess the result of their movement in the absence of feedback, and in improving their ability to detect, and correct, error.  I wanted to help them close the gap that existed between what they think happens, and what actually happens, when they act on a decision.  Check out a brief snippet of the video below to get a better idea for how I ended up delivering feedback in this session.

Was it perfect? No.  But it doesn’t have to be.  I learned more through this critical reflection than I had an any number of traditional educational activities.

What will you do to generate a similar experience?

We’ll give you some time to reflect…

– COREY LUNDBERG & MATT WILSON

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Looking In the Mirror – A Coach’s Catalyst for Change
Community of Practice Summit (COPS) 2017 – CPD http://www.pgae.com/ask/community-of-practice-summit-cops-2017-cpd/ Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:28:44 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=18140 PGA Professionals are invited to attend the 2017 Community of Practice Summit at North Hants Golf Club in the UK.]]>

PGA Professionals are invited to attend the 2017 Community of Practice Summit at North Hants Golf Club in the UK.

The sessions will be facilitated by PGA of GB&I Fellow Professional, Kevin Flynn and features a range of diverse speakers:

  • David Todhunter – 4D Motion Sports
  • Scott Fawcett – Playing Lesson
  • Terry Hashimoto – BODiTrak Sports
  • Graeme McDowall – Constraints Led Practice
  • Adrian Rietveld & Mark Thistleton – Club Fitting
  • Nigel Tilley – European Tour Physiotherapist

Date: 2 & 3 March 2017
Venue: North Hants Golf Club, UK
Cost: £195

For more information contact Kevin Flynn @ kevin1flynn@hotmail.com

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Community of Practice Summit (COPS) 2017 – CPD
Christmas Coach Calendar – PGA Professional Quote Posters http://www.pgae.com/news/christmas-coach-calendar-free-pga-professional-quote-posters/ Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:35:22 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=17526 On each day of Advent, the PGAs of Europe #ChristmasCoachCalendar reveals another Coach's words of wisdom and you can download each one as a poster.]]>

On each day of Advent, the PGAs of Europe #ChristmasCoachCalendar reveals another Coach’s words of wisdom, inspiration and experience – and you can download each one as a poster.

See below for each day’s PGA Professional and the links to download the posters.

 

Day 22 – Damian MacPherson

“Be open minded and make every effort to develop your knowledge and skills to then use in a work situation. I would summarize in 4 words: LEARN, USE, ADAPT and GROW.”

Damian MacPherson (PGA of Hungary)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hWCUZX

Day 21 – Paul Eales

“The first way to keep people in the sport is to let them play…”

Paul Eales (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hSL45j

Day 20 – Mike Walker

“The day you stop learning is the day it’s time to hang up your boots and do something else.”

Mike Walker (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hBtNPQ

Day 19 – Steven Orr

“The essence of what we do as coaches every day is to try and change habits – technical, mental routine-driven – it is essentially changing behaviour”

Steven Orr (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2h5agbF

Day 18 – Pete Cowen

“With everybody what you’re trying to do is constant improvement of the same thing…so they know that when they’re stood on the first tee under the most extreme pressure it works.”

Pete Cowen (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hGDs8r

Day 17 – Andrew Knott

“Don’t believe everything you read or hear from people who have only scratched the surface – nothing is ever quite what it seems at face value.”

Andrew Knott (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hTCpSU

Day 16 – Tony Bennett

“If you want some things to change, then you have to change some things.”

Tony Bennett (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hzIhQL

Day 15 – Michel Vanmeerbeek

“Handling pressure? Do what you’re good at! Don’t try silly strategies or shots you’re not really confortable with.”

Michel Vanmeerbeek (PGA of Belgium)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hsqW9A

Day 14 – Keith Williams

“I always advise players to enjoy the experience. Have fun…whatever the score it’s a privilege to play at any level!”

Keith Williams (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2gFm7Nr

Day 13 – Stefan Gort

“Say welcome to the funny or strange thoughts or impression in your mind, welcome them to your world and make it your friend. Don’t fight the thought; it will only become stronger. The more you accept new situations, the easier it is to deal with.”

Stefan Gort (PGA of Switzerland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hkZs5L

Day 12 – Stéphane Bachoz

“Golf is not only a sport but also a GAME, filled with values and virtues. This is what makes it accessible to everyone and not just to sportsmen.”

Stéphane Bachoz (PGA of France)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hkJpri

Day 11 – Ian Peek

“Coaches need to understand all of the barriers that may be in place when a plater undergoes transition from amateur to professional golf or junior to senior golf.”

Ian Peek (PGA of Germany)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2hBDFpM

Day 10 – Jim van Heuven van Staereling

“In golf clubs where juniors are successful, there is a leader. There is always someone who leads the programme and has owndership.”

Jim van Heuven van Staereling (PGA of Holland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2gqfxud

Day 09 – Paul Eales

“We must not restrict a student’s learning based on our beliefs.”

Paul Eales (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2gjPIvC

Day 08 – Annemieke de Goederen

“Golf is changing: less traditional, less strokeplay, less 18 holes. People want different things than they did 30 years ago…we need to find out what the golfer of today actually wants.”

Annemieke de Goederen (PGA of Holland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2gjOLSv

Day 07 – Sarah Bennett

“It is vital to have an understanding and up to date knowledge of technological advancements from a coaching perspective. But what’s really important is having the skill to utilise each one in the most effective and suitable way for each different client.”

Sarah Bennett (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2h5OfZF

Day 06 – Butch Harmon

“Always have a target in your practice – if you aim at nothing you’re going to hit it every time.”

Butch Harmon (PGA of America)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2g1VLA2

Day 05 – David Leadbetter

“That’s the great thing about this game, you continue learning…I think if you’re not learning then you’re going backwards.”

David Leadbetter (PGA of America)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2gTgpDZ

Day 04 – David Kearney

“The environment we create as coaches is vitally important for our students – are we going to tell people what to do or help them help themselves?”

David Kearney (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2gTXY2u

Day 03 – Ian Peek

“The key to having a successful transition is for the player and coach together to know where the barriers are…”

Ian Peek (PGA of Germany)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2h65sT3

Day 02 – Jim van Heuven van Staereling

“Junior coaching has to be fun – if there is no fun then just stop. The Learning should be hidden in the fun – they don’t know it. But you do.”

Jim van Heuven van Staereling (PGA of Holland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2h1C4NV

Day 01 – Steven Orr

“Whether you’re trying to change something huge or just one thing, if you start tiny you’ll see great results.”

Steven Orr (PGA of Great Britain & Ireland)

Click here to download the Poster for FREE – http://eur.pe/2fJZRS8

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Christmas Coach Calendar – PGA Professional Quote Posters
Let’s Change the Culture of Golf Improvement http://www.pgae.com/ask/lets-change-the-culture-of-golf-improvement/ Wed, 21 Dec 2016 18:05:33 +0000 Golf Science Lab http://www.pgae.com/?p=14954 The golf culture is perpetuated by QUICK, FAST, EASY - But learning doesn’t happen quickly. Dr Robert Bjork & Golf Science Lab explain more...]]>

The golf culture is perpetuated by QUICK, FAST, EASY…

The “get rich quick” attitude is more prevalent in golf than anywhere else. We all just want to buy a golf club and hit it 20 yards further today with no additional work.

We don’t admire the guy that slowly improves year after year and suddenly is the club champ after 15 years of improvements and not getting caught up with every swing tip and quick fix thrown at him.

Learning doesn’t happen quickly.

Skills that are retained and that hold up on the golf course aren’t learned in a 30 minutes range session.

Golf requires skills that are durable and flexible. Dr Robert Bjork talks more about this in an episode of the Golf Science Lab you can listen to below.

As a golfer you need skills that are durable enough to hold up under stress and pressure and flexible enough to adapt to any of the potential challenges you might face on the golf course. If you play golf you’re going to face pressure and the golf course isn’t going to be perfect. You’ll need the ability to hit it off dirt under a tree with a 5 iron.

Mistakes and errors are part of the learning process.

To build those core attributes it requires a healthy learning environment and the understanding that mistakes and errors are part of the learning process.

If you want to learn you have to push yourself. Your practice has to be difficult. And when things get difficult most likely there will be some mistakes. That’s OK though. Your performance during practice doesn’t indicate how much you’re learning.

Here’s an example…

How many times have you just been killing it on the range. But you step over to the golf course and everything is lost. And vice versa. How often have you just been awful on the range and then hit the ball really well on the the golf course.

We all can relate personally or know someone that has described this.

Here are 5 concepts every golfers needs to understand about getting better at golf.

#1 – Embrace the challenge.

#2 – Mistakes and errors are a healthy part of the learning process.

#3 – Long term steady growth is far more exciting than any “quick fix”.

#4 – Don’t chase “fix” after “fix” and stick with a plan.

#5 – Build skills that are flexible and durable.

Start to change your mindset when you approach practice and you’ll see skills that you actually retain on the golf course.

Embrace the long-term growth plan.

And don’t get distracted by the next “quick fix”.

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Let’s Change the Culture of Golf Improvement
In Defense of TrackMan: Motor Learning Advantages of Coaching With Technology http://www.pgae.com/ask/in-defense-of-trackman-motor-learning-advantages-of-coaching-with-technology/ Tue, 20 Dec 2016 16:19:20 +0000 Corey Lundberg & Matt Wilson of Curious Coaches http://www.pgae.com/?p=13868 Like most innovations that disrupt traditional conventions, TrackMan seems to take more than its fair share of heat...]]>

Like most innovations that disrupt traditional conventions, TrackMan seems to take more than its fair share of heat.  The most vocal of the skeptics seem to wear their unwillingness to embrace change like a badge of honor– chosen defenders of the status quo.

A recent tweet by a former Tour player insinuated that somehow this inanimate device was responsible for the decline of a certain iconic golfer.  This added fuel to the fire, stoking what’s become a rather redundant debate on the benefits of technology in golf instruction.  The apparently arithmaphobic detractors seem to point to ‘The Numbers’ as the most prominent wrong-doer in their indictment of Trackman.  Their central point being that measuring and then quantifying the intricate details of the swing will leave a golfer a confused, overly-technical mess.  All those numbers– robbing the game of ‘feel’ or artistry and replacing it with sterile, cold, hard measurements.

Yes– in the wrong hands or delivered carelessly, all those numbers can be bad.  But the same can be said for anything being administered by the inexperienced or misinformed!  This frequently cited reasoning is reductive and hardly a compelling reason to condemn the measurement device or its users.  It can actually be a massive aid in shifting the learning environment from command-based, prescriptive instruction to one that is performance-focused and more conducive to effective skill acquisition.

And that’s not to say that we’ve never been guilty of over reliance on ‘The Numbers’.  But we’ve also utilized them in a way that enriches the feel and artistry of players.  In fact, because our prime concern is usually to just enhance impact alignments instead of obsessing over positional ideals, we make less wholesale ‘swing changes’ than ever.

Ultimately, our job as coaches is to create confident and competent performers who thrive under difficult conditions.  All TrackMan does is provide information – our job is to take that information and use it to help people move from A to B.  More often than not, that information is incredibly useful in facilitating that process…if used appropriately.

We hope to help everyone see beyond the recent discussion and gain a better understanding of how it can be used to facilitate learning and improved performance.  Below are a few elements of the learning environment that coaches can enhance through thoughtful application of Trackman.

AUGMENTED FEEDBACK

The most important ingredient to the learning process is feedback– it’s largely responsible for bridging the gap between experience and understanding.

There are two primary types of feedback; intrinsic and augmented.  Intrinsic feedback are the sounds, feelings, etc. that the performer experiences as a result of hitting a golf ball.  Augmented feedback is anything related to their performance that they can’t directly experience.   Technology helps provide augmented feedback that helps players process the intrinsic feedback they receive during practice.  The golf swing is a unique motor program in that it’s often very difficult to detect movement errors from intrinsic feedback alone.  Trackman allows learners to more accurately evaluate results thus informing future trials.  It acts as an accelerant in bridging the gap between feel and real.  Yes, FEEL!  Trackman users can, in fact, become better FEEL players based on the feedback provided.

There is also an element of confidence and motivation to consider.  Research has shown that having accurate Knowledge of Results can motivate performers to persist longer at practice tasks.  They are able to see the tangible results of their efforts through the quantitative changes that can infuse learners with self-efficacy and the confidence to persevere.

The challenge for coaches and players is the amount and schedule of the feedback, not the feedback itself.  Numbers don’t hurt people – they’re inanimate concepts.  Rather, as our friend from Happy Gilmore in the accompanying image suggests, people hurt people.  Ensuring that athletes receive the right feedback at the right time keeps the learning process moving forward.  Too much feedback, too often– creates dependency, which often yields to the adage of ‘paralysis by analysis’.

When in a ‘Transfer Training’ mode with a student, we recommend that you no longer provide the quantitative feedback of Trackman, opting instead to withdraw Knowledge of Results and allowing the golfer to prepare within a more authentic performance context.

Providing different types of feedback, such as summary feedback, positive or negative bandwidth feedback, or athlete-led feedback can accelerate the learning process and reduce the likelihood that an athlete becomes dependent on ‘The Numbers’.

ACTIONABLE:

Rather than give feedback on every shot, try two different methods when giving feedback.  First, only give feedback when performance falls within a certain range.  The range could be negative (when performance falls outside of the range) or positive (when feedback falls within the range).  This helps decrease dependency and creates more of an independent learning process aided by feedback only when needed.  Secondly, when getting ready to give the feedback– engage the performer.  Ask them where they think their movement was in relation to the standards of performance that you both set.   This helps them calibrate internally and fosters a better sense of what they need to create the desired outcome.

Article-Header-Images_Curious-Coaches-Motor Learning Advantages of Coaching_02

IMPLICIT LEARNING

Implicit learning occurs when an athlete learns something in the absence of instruction.  Coaches should strive to help athletes learn as implicitly as possible, as skills learned in this fashion are proven to hold up better under pressure.  Often times, focusing on the effect of the desired movement or having an external focus of attention can help in this process.

Believe it or not, coaching with TrackMan can facilitate implicit learning.  One of the benefits of TrackMan is the ability to control what numbers are visible to the coach and player.  For example, one of the keys to playing great golf is managing curve, which, for argument’s sake, means controlling the face to path relationship and the impact point on the clubface.  To help people learn the old-fashioned way and ‘dig it out of the dirt’, simply spray the face with Dr. Scholl’s and put up only the launch direction and spin axis numbers.  Then ask them to accomplish the task of generating a positive launch direction and negative spin axis (draw), or negative launch direction and positive spin axis (fade).   This exercise creates many learning opportunities and provides a means by which a player can achieve repetition without repetition.  Providing a learning environment in this fashion helps the individual self-organize and begin to develop novel solutions to accomplish the task of curving the ball to the target and hitting it solid.

ACTIONABLE:

Get creative with what numbers you enable the student to see.  Spin axis and a bit of Dr. Scholl’s goes a very long way in helping an athlete understand their ball flight and how it is influenced by where they make contact on the face relative to the sweetspot.  Additionally, try attack angle and launch angle for someone who struggles with contact precision and trajectory control.  Ask them to keep the attack angle shallow while getting the ball to launch lower.  Attacking the problem externally paves the way towards the possibility of learning a movement implicitly or in the absence of directive instruction.

TRANSFER TRAINING

Golf is hard.  The sport demands that a player be able to excel under extremely stressful conditions, often. Players are continually challenged to vary the distance, shape, and trajectory of their shots on every hole they play.

One of the core challenges inherent in the player development process is creating an environment that engages the psychological processes and physiological stressors that the athlete experiences during the course of play. Being able to create conditions that require the performer to plan, execute, and review the shot, while making each shot significant and carry a consequence, is really helpful in facilitating transfer and closing the gap between practice and performance.

TrackMan makes bridging the gap between training and play easier.  Combine and Test Center enable coaches to develop games that test the athlete’s ability to use all their skills (technical, tactical, mental), to accomplish the task of moving the ball from A to as close to B as possible.  In the end, much like golf, they receive a score that let’s them know where they are and provides perceived significance to each ball.  As scores improve, players are also able to see how and when they are making progress.  This type of satisfying feedback motivates players by allowing them to see the direct impact of their efforts.

In essence, through games and transfer training applications, technology enables coaches to design tasks that are more representative – the added pressure, difficulty, and variability ensures that the task, environment, and first-person experience closer resembles that of the course.

ACTIONABLE:

Make your own skills tests and training protocols in test center.  These are great ways to start a session or to challenge a player that is demonstrating good performance from a more stable environment.  Test center allows you to leverage the task-design matrix by virtue of assigning meaning to each shot, as well as giving you the opportunity to randomize the order of the task (distance).  Ultimately, it helps you, the coach, strike a great balance between task difficulty and environmental stability – a must for helping people progress their skills and perform on the course!

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There are many professional fields that have advanced as a result of technological development.  Golf is no different.  As long as people try to reach higher levels of performance, tools will be developed to support those goals.  The important thing for coaches will be to look at the technologies objectively and devote the time and energy necessary to master them.  Hopefully, our discussions and ideas on the use of TrackMan to support the skill acquisition process sheds some light on how to do that and can help you be more effective.

–Corey Lundberg & Matt Wilson

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In Defense of TrackMan: Motor Learning Advantages of Coaching With Technology
3 Reasons Why Most Beginning Golfers Are Set up to Fail: Michael Hebron http://www.pgae.com/ask/3-reasons-why-most-beginning-golfers-are-set-up-to-fail/ Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:51:56 +0000 Golf Science Lab http://www.pgae.com/?p=17498 The Golf Science Lab and Michael Hebron explain how structured, deliberate, and effortful training and practice may affect beginners' development and enjoyment.]]>

The Golf Science Lab and Michael Hebron (PGA of America) explain how the traditional structured, deliberate, and effortful training and practice that beginners normally go through may in fact affect their overall development and enjoyment of golf…

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It is a given that enhancing sports performance requires a commitment to training and practice. But what should the nature of training and practice be during development?

The three stages of development are:

  • Early or sampling
  • Middle or specializing
  • Late or investment

Alfred North Whitehead called the three stages the romance stage, precision stage and generalization stage. Studies show any emphasis on structured, deliberate, effortful training and practice during the first or early stages of development is now associated with great costs.

In most cases deliberate practice is not associated with great levels of sports proficiency when compared with diversified, enjoyable, playful training.

In 2002, Cote and Hay researchers said:

1. During the early sampling years there should be low frequency of structured deliberate practice and lots of “play” activity.

2. During the specializing years there should be equal amounts of deliberate practice and deliberate “play “activities.

3. During the investment years there can be more deliberate practice than deliberate “play “when training (the skills have already been learned).

One other key component during the sampling years it is important to sample several different sporting activities, instead of specializing in one sport.

An athlete’s cognitive system (brain) during training is being re-organized to meet the needs of the tasks at hand. Researchers have now assessed what they believe to be the optimal amount of structured, deliberate practice and the optimal amounts of deliberate “play “activities that best support the three stages of development.

At each of these stages there are different amounts of time devoted to deliberate practice and deliberate “play.” An athletes involvement with other activities beyond their main sport will also influence their development.

This Developmental Model of Sports Performance (DMSP) is consistent with general theories of child development (Paget, 1962 Vigotsky, 1978) that support the building blocks for physical, cognitive and emotional development.

When it comes to sports participation there are three natural outcomes, people either become…

  1. Recreational participants
  2. Elite participants
  3. Those who drop out

It has been shown that which one of these three outcomes individuals will experience is influenced heavily by the type of activities and contexts they experience during their three stages of development: sampling, specializing and investment (Cote et all, 2003 Cote & Hay, 2002)

This model (SMDP) has allowed researchers to asses what appears to be the optimal amount of deliberate practice and deliberate “play “at each stage of development. Simple repetition is insufficient, training activities must increase to a complexity just beyond current developmental stages.

Negative Consequences of Early Specialization

Early specialization is associated with dropping out in sports, while staying involved is supported by early diversification.

“A lack of enjoyment was the most common reason for withdrawal from sports altogether…”

When elite Russian swimmers were studied it was found that 9 and 10 year olds who began specialized training spent less time on their national team then the athlete who waited to begin specialized training until 13 or 14. These 9 and 10 year olds who specialized early also ended their sports careers earlier than athletes who started to specialize later in life (Bompa 2000).

A single focus on tennis at an early age contributed to withdrawal from the sport (Lochr, 1996).

Parents of hockey players, both active players and ones that dropped out (ages 6-13), found the players who dropped out spent more time in deliberate, specialized practice and training “off ice” (low enjoyment), than the expert athletes who experienced more “play “(Hodges and Deakin, 1998).

A lack of enjoyment was the most common reason for withdrawal from sports altogether (Ewing and Seefeldt, 1996).

The Value of “Play” During Early Development

Respected research has demonstrated that a significant component of the early sport experience of current elite athletes was a wide spread involvement in a range of both organized sports and deliberate “play “activities.

Researchers Cote and Hay defined deliberate “play “as an activity designed to maximize inherent personal enjoyment. Deliberate “play” activities are normally regulated by flexible rules, adapted from standardized sports rules, and they are normally set up by the participants involved in the activity.

John Brandsford, editor of How People Learn pointed out that “play” activities should promote “interest” over focusing on trying to make play fun. When “play “is interesting, individuals stay interested during their unwanted outcomes.

When involved with deliberate “play” there is less concern with the outcome of behavior than with the enjoyment of the behavior.

Deliberate “play “behavior in sport can have immediate value in terms of motivation to stay involved in sports and it also has benefits related to the ability to process information in various sporting situations.

Motivation based on self regulation (Ryan and Deci, 2000) supports the idea that early “intrinsically ” motivating behaviors (deliberate play) have a positive effect on staying motivated, becoming more self determined and being committed in future sport participation.

From a skill acquisition perspective, deliberate “play “serves as a way for athletes to explore their physical capacities in various contexts. This was found to be true for elite hockey players who spent more time in deliberate play than deliberate practice activities before the age of 20.

These findings also hold true for elite and recreational baseball players (Gilbert et all, 2002). The elite players were involved in more deliberate “play “than recreational players from ages 6 to 12.

When investigating 17 Australian rules football players who were elite players, classified as expert decision makers and 15 elite players classified as non-expert decision makers, the results showed that expert decision makers have invested a significant greater time in varied deliberate “play “activities playing basketball, football, hockey, all within a space of two years (Berry & Apernethy, 2003).

Deliberate “play “in various contexts will ultimately provide a broad foundation of skills that will help to overcome the physical and cognitive challenges of various sports as well as their main sport (DeKnop, Engstrom, Skistad, 1996).

Schmidt and Wrisberg (2000) suggested that transferable elements could be categorized into movement skills, perceptual skills and conceptual thinking skills.

  • Movements – biomechanical and anatomical actions.
  • Perceptual – environmental information that individuals are interpreting emotionally.
  • Conceptual – strategies, guidelines, rules.
  • Sports skills demands include:
  • Physical demands such as power.
  • Movement demands such as precision and esthetics.
  • Cognitive demands such as perception memory, or strategic capabilities.

These demands are developed more efficiently through deliberate “play” than structured deliberate practice

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 – Highly respected throughout the international golf community, Michael consults on golf instruction to PGA America, Switzerland, Italy, France, Finland, Canada, Japan, Sweden, India, Australia, Chile, Costa Rica, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Czech Republic, Spain, and Denmark.
He has given instruction clinics at 30 PGA of America sections. Through his dedication Michael earned the honored status of becoming the 23rd PGA of America Master Professional. His book, See and Feel the Inside Move the Outside, was the first golf instruction book accepted as a PGA Master’s thesis.
Since then, he has written hundreds of articles for leading golf magazines and authored 4 other books and 3 DVDs. Golf Magazine and Golf Digest have consistently named Hebron as a member (since their first listings) of America’s Top 50 Instructors.
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3 Reasons Why Most Beginning Golfers Are Set up to Fail: Michael Hebron
[PODCAST] 3 Keys Any Golf Coach (Anywhere) Can use to Launch Coaching Programs http://www.pgae.com/ask/podcast-3-keys-any-golf-coach-anywhere-can-use-to-launch-coaching-programs/ Thu, 01 Dec 2016 11:40:51 +0000 Golf in the Life of http://www.pgae.com/?p=17459 Coach Will Robins is back to help you make realistic plans for your coaching programs in 2017 and shares his 3 keys to launching a successful coaching program]]>

Coach Will Robins is back to help you make some realistic plans for your coaching programs in 2017 and shares his 3 keys to launching your successful coaching program.


Subscribe iTunes | Android | RSS

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[Click here to find out more about Robins Golf]

Create a vision

Most coaches think of the customer first and come up with all the reasons that a new coaching program WON’T work instead of looking at what will drive you as a coach.

COACHES QUESTION: What would drive you to be passionate to come to work every day?

COACHES QUESTION: What do you not like doing? (write down 10 things you don’t want to do and then write down the 10 you do)

“Bring your passion to the forefront” Instead of dreading your day craft a business, work, and students that you actually enjoy working with.

Sell it before you build it

The minute you have your vision and passion, share your passion with your players and start to get feedback on what they’re interested in. The key here is to communicate don’t sell.

The biggest sales tool you have in your marketing arsenal is the INVITATION. By building relationships with students you have an opportunity to invite them into programs and opportunites that are the BEST fit for them.

Focus on getting results whatever the cost

How do you balance technique and getting people on the course? We talk about the difference between being a coach and a teacher.

Find who you are and stand up for what you believe.

Links / Resources:

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[PODCAST] 3 Keys Any Golf Coach (Anywhere) Can use to Launch Coaching Programs
[PODCAST] How to Help JR Golfers Manage Skill Regression w/ Stuart Morgan http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-to-help-jr-golfers-manage-skill-regression-w-stuart-morgan-podcast/ Thu, 27 Oct 2016 13:25:32 +0000 Golf Science Lab http://www.pgae.com/?p=17101 Golf Science Lab and Stuart Morgan assess the potential skill regression in juniors as they grow up and mature...]]>

We have an expert in player development with us in this episode, Stuart Morgan.  He manages one of the largest full time junior golf academies and has years of experience developing skills, and helping players perform their best.

Today’s guest, Stuart Morgan started out teaching on tour believing everything was about technique. The player he was working with ended up losing his card and leaving the game… That experience motivated Stuart to never let that happen again and begin a search to better understand performance.

One area he’s dived into is learning and player development and has become an expert at junior development, and now is the director of instruction at the IJGA academy.

Never dismiss technique. It’s still very important there is just a lot more to look at.

Skill Regression in Juniors

In juniors there is a nonlinear period of time when they’ll go through growth spurts and experience change in the brain and body. You can see the legs grow first, feet are bigger, and torso / arms are small.

This ultimately leads to a loss of coordination and potentially skill regression.

Sometimes it can be as obvious as drastic differences from one day to the next during this period.  One day they can be aimed perfectly and the next they’re completely different.  Juniors during this period just don’t have the same awareness and coordination.

There are also mental factors to watch for as juniors might be fatigued and lacking in motivation during this period.    Stuart shares how he helps golfers through his stage with a mental break.  You have to scale the over all environment for the player.  A suitable challenge point if a player regresses back keeps people in the game vs dropping out.

A coach needs to help educate the golfer and parent about this process!

This is a can’t miss converstion. Listen in below!

Links:

About Stuart Morgan

Stuart Morgan, a Mid Wales native, played golf at the professional level and has been a PGA member since 1998. He has been a full time development coach since 2001 when he was asked to work for David Leadbetter. During his time with Leadbetter, Morgan was mentored by the father of modern coaching and spent time assisting him at two PGA Championships and at Champions Gate. Morgan has also established a personal client base on Tour and spent years traveling to tournaments with elite players.

Heavily specialized in player development, Morgan has trained with Dave Alred and studied from professors such as Dr. Richard Bailey, Dr. Martin Toms, and Tour player and lecturer Graeme McDowell on how to maximize results in a training environment.

Morgan’s Player Development redefines overall athletic training and incorporates a focus and understanding of each individual golfer’s unique needs. His approaches allow IJGA to remain at the forefront of training philosophies and technology.

Using select training methods he has helped develop junior players as young as eight years old to become international standouts and even juniors who have gone on to turn professional.

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[PODCAST] How to Help JR Golfers Manage Skill Regression w/ Stuart Morgan
Lance Gill: What Golf Instructors Should Know About Fitness http://www.pgae.com/ask/lance-gill-what-golf-instructors-should-know-about-fitness/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 18:51:38 +0000 Golf in the Life of http://www.pgae.com/?p=15165 Lance Gill explains how we’ve placed the wrong expectations on fitness, with no ONE result from fitness.]]>

We’ve placed the wrong expectations on fitness. There is no ONE result from fitness. This is just one of the concepts Lance, Lead Instructor for TPI Level 1 and Level 2 Fitness Seminars shares during this conversation.

Myth #1 – Fitness pros are out to steal your client.

A client doesn’t have to choose golf instruction or fitness. In fact Lance uses the term “pit crew” quite a few times to suggest the idea of a team effort.

Myth #2 – It takes 6 weeks to make a change.

“I’ve never built the same program twice”

Myth #3 – We’re going to ruin your golfer.

It’s all about making a plan getting closer to goals. Not just bulking up. Golf fitness and beach fitness are TOTALLY different.

There is no ONE result from starting a fitness program.

One thing Lance asks of instructors is to become educated in his world. Meaning that by understanding the body you’ll be able to better understand the role and needs of fitness in a training program. Fitness professionals are learning about the golf swing shouldn’t instructors be doing the same?

The biggest issues with certifications and continuing education is how are you going to make your money back. Lance covers a FANTASTIC concept you can easily implement. Who you should market it to. How you should run it. And what you can expect. (this is about 15 minutes in).

If you’re a golf instructors Lance believe you should go get help for you and your game from a TPI professional.

We also got some great questions from the Young Teaching Professionals group on Facebook. (great group by the way hosted by past guest Andrew Rice)

Some of the questions we cover

  • Do students get longer when working out?
  • How effective is transfer training when hitting a golf ball well?
  • How often is injury and pain due to physical issues rather than technical?

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Lance Gil is the Co-Director of the Titleist Performance Institute Fitness Advisory Board and the Lead Instructor for TPI Level 1 and Level 2 Fitness Seminars globally. He has personally taught over 10,000 experts in the fields of; Golf Fitness, Golf Instruction, Medicine, Junior and Biomechanical proficiencies.

He is the President of LG Performance, a private Golf Performance based company specializing in the betterment of golfers (from tour professionals to junior development) in the areas of; Fitness, Screening, Biomechanics, Instruction, Mental, Nutritional, Programming, and Life Coaching. Find out more at www.lgperformance.com.

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Lance Gill: What Golf Instructors Should Know About Fitness
Balance in Golf & How You Can Improve It http://www.pgae.com/ask/balance-in-golf-how-you-can-improve-it/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 11:37:26 +0000 Riikka Hakkarainen http://www.pgae.com/?p=17012 "A long-time coach of mine truly believes that the great shots are made in the follow through - something that is often the last thing we thing we think about."]]>

A long-time coach of mine truly believes that the great shots (and golfers) are made in the follow through.

Think about it for a moment and it starts to make sense! We are so worried about the take away, the top of the backswing, not to mention downswing…

…So the follow through is often the last thing to worry about and often “just happens”!

But it all makes perfect sense: if you have any balance, flexibility, posture, core stability or strength issues while swinging a golf club  – you will end up compensating and often these patterns show loud and clear at your follow through.

Losing balance, funky-looking and often massive efforts from wrist, elbows or legs to force the club back into plane are the most common telltale signs.

Your facial expressions after the shot will also be worth a thousand words on how repetitive your swing is and how comfortable your body feels doing it. Have you ever smiled while hitting a shot or even at your follow through? It’s well worth trying, if it doesn’t work for you try something else – a “cool” or “neutral face”, as long as you don’t repetitively grind your teeth and look miserable!

Also next time you watch golf (ether live or on TV), pay attention how professional golfers look after they have hit the ball or a putt and it will tell you a lot about what is going on in his/her mind.

Your feet are amazing feel transmitters to your brain – they provide your body the essential information concerning where your body is in space.

Swinging with bare feet often gives you whole new sensation of balance and in fact you are able to feel more what’s going on within your body! When I played on Ladies European Tour I had a habit to do a monthly check up with my swing basics (aiming, ball positioning, etc.) and I often started the day swinging without golf shoes, as this gave me so much information on my weight distribution before the swing as well as the weight transfer during the golf swing. It only takes few minutes so it’s well worth a try!

You can improve the body’s ability to send sensory feedback by very simple trick of massaging the feet with tennis ball. Start standing and placing a tennis ball under your foot. Apply firm pressure (but not agony!) to the ball and try covering all areas of your foot for at least 2 minutes.

Massaging your foot also relaxes your Myofaschial Superficial Back line and therefore helps your overall flexibility.

Have fun swinging barefoot!

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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Balance in Golf & How You Can Improve It
Golf Performance – Sleep, Air Travel & Jet Lag http://www.pgae.com/ask/golf-performance-sleep-air-travel-jet-lag/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 07:22:15 +0000 European Tour Performance Institute http://www.pgae.com/?p=14999 From week to week, a huge number of variables place demands on touring golfers, their bodies and their performance...]]>

Professional Golf – The Many Variables that Can Affect Performance

Among the best golfers in the world playing on the European Tour, the standard and depth of quality is exceptionally high. For them, the difference between winning and coming second or making their tour card versus missing out can come down to the smallest of margins.

From week to week, a huge number of variables place demands on them, their bodies and their performance. These all need to be accounted for and fully understood. For most people (and particularly athletes) the body responds well to and likes routines, structure and balance. As a professional golfer travelling the world with the modern international schedule of golf, this can sometimes be very hard to achieve.

Over the next couple of articles we will be talking about the importance of sleep, diet, hydration and travel for the professional and recreational golfer alike. In this blog article we will be discussing sleep and air travel.

Sleep patterns among professional golfers can be hugely variable due to time zone changes, jet lag, very early or very late tee times, media requirements and travel delays to name a few. We know that sleep is a crucial factor in human physical and mental health and performance.

The recommended amount of sleep varies between people depending on age, sex and activity, but generally 8 hours a night is a guideline figure. It has been shown that sports people require more sleep than the general public and performance factors are increased with an extra hour of sleep a night on top of the average.

Sleep deprivation can have several effects on people and athletes/golfers performance including:

  • Hormone changes – reduced duration of sleep has been linked with increased levels of cortisol. This is also known as a stress hormone and has been linked with reduced healing, increased risk of injuries and reduced memory. It is also linked with reduced levels of the body’s natural growth hormone, which helps the body repair.
  • Reduced energy – sleep deprivation reduces your body’s ability to store glycogen. Although often seen as an energy source needed during endurance events, it is still a key component of the energy requirements in sports such as golf.
  • Reduced decision making and reflexes – evidence shows that sports people who don’t get enough sleep are worse at making split second decisions and are less accurate in their performance (these are also similar effects of dehydration which we will discuss in another piece)

As I write this article I am 35,000 ft in the air on a plane travelling 3 hrs 45 minutes to Morocco for the Trophee Hassan II, with the entire journey today taking 9 hours from door to door. Many of the golfers playing in this tournament have travelled much further and crossed many more time zones.

This is a common necessity for players and staff on the European Tour every week, with the 2014 schedule featuring 48 tournaments in 26 countries worldwide. Air travel has many effects on the body of which ‘jet lag’ is one.

Jet lag is linked with a de-synchronisation of circadian rhythms and its impact depends on a number of factors e.g. the duration and direction of the flight, crossing multiple time zones, repeated and regular journeys with little time for acclimatisation and individual differences between people.

Some simple tips for trying to combat the effects of time zone changes and jet lag are:-

  • If over 3 hrs time difference, try and arrive 24hrs prior to your first day practice/training.
  • If you want to sleep later in the morning when you arrive, close the curtains and black out the room as much as possible.
  • If you want to wake earlier, keep the curtains open when you go to bed, which will accustom you naturally to the morning light.
  • Change your watch to the new time zone before you get on the flight, and then start eating/sleeping to the new time zone immediately (if a time change of longer than 4-6 hours try and do this the day before you leave to start your bodies acclimatisation to the new time zone.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol/caffeine the day before, during the flight and the day after.- Maintain adequate levels of fluid intake (preferably 2-3L of water/day).
  • Wear compression socks during flights

The effects of prolonged periods of inactivity and long haul travel are well documented. As well as professional golfers, it is as important for the general population to ensure that they follow guidance and have regular breaks from sitting on a plane. They should carry out simple, regular exercises to promote blood flow and prevent the effects of prolonged inactivity and static postures on a flight.

In the fiercely competitive world of modern professional golf, it is vital that every aspect of a golfer’s preparation is optimised and good health is maintained as much as possible. The above tips can help to reduce the affects of air travel and maximize the benefits of sleep.

Nigel Tilley is a Consultant Physiotherapist on the European Tour Physio Unit and ETPI.

REFERENCES

Lemmer, B., Kern, R.I., Nold, G., & Lohrer, H. (2002). Jet lag inathletes after eastward and westward time-zone transition.Chronobiology International , 19, 743_764.

Waterhouse, J., Reilly, T., & Edwards, B. (2004). The stress oftravel. Journal of Sports Sciences , 22, 946_966.

Beaumont, M., Bate´jat, D., Pie´rard, C., Van Beers, P., Denis,J. B., Coste, O., et al. (2004). Caffeine or melatonin effects onsleep and sleepiness after rapid eastward transmeridian travel.Journal of Applied Physiology, 96, 50_58.

Drust, B., Waterhouse, J., Atkinson, G., Edwards, B., & Reilly, T.(2005). Circadian rhythms in sports performance: An update.Chronobiology International , 22, 21_44.

Reilly T., Atkinson G., Edwards B., Waterhouse J., Akerstedt T., Davenne D., Lemmer B. and Wirz-Justice A. (2007) Coping with Jet-lag: A position statement for the European College of Sports Science. European Journal of Sports Science, 7, 1, -7

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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Golf Performance – Sleep, Air Travel & Jet Lag
Inside The Ropes at The Ryder Cup… http://www.pgae.com/news/inside-the-ropes-at-the-ryder-cup/ Fri, 30 Sep 2016 19:07:47 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland http://www.pgae.com/?p=16769 A career as a PGA Professional can lead to many places and for Mike Walker it's led inside the ropes of the Ryder Cup...]]>

The Yorkshire, UK, coach, along with mentor and PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Master Professional Pete Cowen, is at Hazeltine National Golf Club working with six players.

During two practice rounds, Walker has been a familiar figure alongside the groups of Chris Wood, Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick, analysing and assessing and stepping in with input if needed.

Reflecting on his role at the 41st Ryder Cup, Walker admits much of the groundwork has been laid prior to arrival but he’s is on hand to fine-tune if required.

“It is a funny week, I saw Dan with Pete at the range last week, and that’s where you do the work really,” said Walker.

“Matt I had seen him in Italy the week before but he had come to America to practise. I saw Chris Wood as well and you kind of get it all off your chest then on what you’re doing.

“Really, when you are here, it is reiterating what you’ve worked on and dealing with anything that crops up – whether it is shots they hit on the course, how they feel or whatever it is. You might not be used that much but it’s just in case.”

They are also a sounding board – not just for the players but for European captain Darren Clarke and his vice captains too.

“I’ve been to one Ryder Cup, Pete’s been to 11 so they tap into that a bit, we speak to vice captains about how they are playing and feeling, also acting as a middleman between them. It’s quite diverse but the lion’s share is shots and how they are feeling and what’s happened if they’ve missed it in a certain direction.”

Doing your work under the eyes of thousands of spectators could potentially be pretty intimidating but Walker takes it all in his stride.

“You definitely get more accustomed to it, even just going to major championships, there is a novelty to it but like anything else you just get used to it, you’re less fazed, calmer and you have dealt with difficult situations in the past which helps you deal with them in the future. I’ve got some experience, not as much as Pete or David Leadbetter, but enough.”

Working with elite level performers brings its own set of challenges – not least because they are so good – but it’s a role that Walker relishes.

“It’s harder to see things because it is much more subtle, but a lot of principles cross over and you self-perpetuate. The more you do it, the more you get an eye for it, the more experience you have, the more you handle situations better.”

And like any person seeking to improve there is no resting on laurels. It’s very much a case of always learning and building the knowledge base.

“I don’t think you can afford not to,” added Walker. “We are lucky to be exposed to elite level players and the more you are exposed the more you learn, you almost gain a competitive advantage in a way. The day you stop learning is the day it’s time to hang up your boots and do something else.”

For any aspiring coaches, Walker has some sage advice.

“You have just go to love your topic. In my experience I’ve always been motivated when I’m interested. If you lose your interest that is dangerous, I’d say Pete (Cowen), like myself, is obsessed with golf and coaching and that’s the key.”

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Visit the Ryder Cup Coach Hub at: http://eur.pe/RyderCupPGAPros

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Inside The Ropes at The Ryder Cup…
Club Pro Enjoys Surreal Ryder Cup Moment – Paul Mitchell http://www.pgae.com/news/club-pro-enjoys-surreal-ryder-cup-moment-paul-mitchell/ Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:15:23 +0000 PGA of Great Britain & Ireland http://www.pgae.com/?p=16773 'Pretty surreal' was Paul Mitchell's initial thought on seeing his pupil and friend, Chris Wood, stride the fairways of Hazeltine at the Ryder Cup...]]>

‘Pretty surreal’ was Paul Mitchell’s initial thought on seeing Chris Wood stride the spectator-lined fairways of Hazeltine during the first official practice of the 41st Ryder Cup.

 

And no wonder. The Bristol and Clifton Golf Club head PGA Professional first coached Wood as a teenager so to see him scale the heights of one of sport’s greatest events is definitely something to cherish.

But if Mitchell did give it much thought, it was only fleeting because he had serious work to do – helping the 28 year old Wood get prepared for what will arguably be one of the more nervy first tee shots of his career to date on Friday.

Wood has broadened his coaching team and it also includes fellow PGA pros Mike Walker and putting specialist Phil Kenyon who were also patrolling the fairways and greens.

But while both have experienced Ryder Cups before in a coaching capacity, Hazeltine marks Mitchell’s first involvement in the biennial clash and focus is the buzz word of the day.

“I think it goes back to your professionalism as a club pro,” he said.

“You could easily get a bit side-tracked, and start looking at the other players but you are there with a particular player and your job is to look after them. And to be honest, you are so in your own bubble. It’s like when you are playing golf – you focus while you’re out there and it’s the same when you are coaching at an event like this.

“OK, now and then, you might think ‘bloody hell I’m talking to Rory’ when you are walking down the fairway but you are focused on your player and they’ve always got to come first.

“You want to make sure your player is in tip top condition, and everything you could have done is ready by Friday morning. That’s what I’m focusing on.”

Strategy off the tee is set to be key at Hazeltine and day one gave the players the opportunity to see what challenge the Minnesota course offers. Wood was playing with Rory MclIroy,  Sergio Garcia and Andy Sullivan.

“A lot of the time it is more about getting the tee strategy right,” added Mitchell. “The par four 15th was a perfect example. It’s a dogleg left. We’ve hit driver while everyone else has hit 3-wood and actually they’ve ended up with a really difficult second shot to the green. If you hit driver, it’s actually a bigger target once you get past the trees. It’s just working things out like that – devising your own strategy. I noticed that with the players today – they were all doing their own thing which is important.

“I think there are some key holes. There is a particularly difficult hole on the front nine (the seventh) which used to be on the back nine.

“It’s where you have water on the right, you drive over water, and have to hit driver really because it is into the wind. The second shot is to a really narrow green with water all around and today it was into a 15mph cold wind!

“That is a particularly difficult hole  and the par threes are long – 250 yards. But you realise when you come out here and see them hit three and four irons, you realise that they are at a different level with long irons. iI’d probably need to use my driver to reach!”

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Visit the Ryder Cup Coach Hub at: http://eur.pe/RyderCupPGAPros

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Club Pro Enjoys Surreal Ryder Cup Moment – Paul Mitchell
Effective Listening Skills & The PGA Professional (Part 1) http://www.pgae.com/ask/effective-listening-skills-the-pga-professional-part-1/ Fri, 16 Sep 2016 09:19:05 +0000 Dr. Brian Hemmings http://www.pgae.com/?p=10186 Dr Brian Hemmings outlines five common barriers to listening effectively when coaching...]]>

‘Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something’

Having had the privilege of working with many coaches over the past 15 years, I have noticed that the attributes of successful coaches have huge similarities with effective psychologists. The quote above, from the Greek philosopher Plato, could easily describe one of the most important personal qualities needed by coaches; that is great communication skills and, in particular, the ability to listen effectively.

Coaches are like psychologists in that they rely on similar sources of information to assess a golfer’s needs. Whilst observation may provide the coach with extensive movement/technical information and analysis, both can gain much from what players say about themselves and their game.  However, many coaches are unaware that listening effectively is a skill that can be developed.

I heard it said in my core training as a psychologist that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason – so we can listen at least 50% more than we speak.

Time constraints can make listening to players/clients more challenging, however often self-awareness can start to considerably improve listening skills.  Here, I outline five common barriers to listening effectively when coaching.  See how many you can see in yourself…

Identifying

You take everything a player tells you and refer back to your own experience, and launch into your story before they have a chance to finish theirs.  Everything you hear reminds you of something that you’ve done, felt, or achieved/not achieved.  In being so busy with your own stories, there’s no time to really hear or get to know the needs of the player.

Advising

Whilst coaching is about advice giving, we can all fall into ‘advice mode’ too quickly before gaining a full understanding of an issue.  Here the coach can become the great problem-solver, ready with help and suggestions, and you only have to hear a few sentences to begin searching for the right advice.

However, while you are searching, and then convincing the player to ‘try this’, you may be missing the most important information.  You didn’t hear the feelings, and you didn’t acknowledge the person’s real concerns. You may go down a technical route instead of noticing it’s mainly a physical or mental issue.

Mind Reading

Coaches are not mind readers; they rely on verbal, visual and statistical information.  The mind reader coach doesn’t pay much attention to what people say – in fact, she/he often distrusts it.  She/he is busy trying to work out what is really happening.  The mind reader pays more attention to non-verbal cues (e.g. body language) than to factual words, in an attempt to see through to the ‘truth’.  If you are a mind reader, you are also likely to make assumptions about people’s perceptions of you as a coach.  These notions arise from intuition, hunches and vague misgivings, but have little to do with what the person is actually saying to you.

Rehearsing

You don’t have time to listen if you are rehearsing what to say yourself.  Your whole attention is on the preparation of your next comment.  You have to look interested, but your mind is racing with your story, or a point you are eager to make.  Some people rehearse chains of responses “I’ll say that, then s/he’ll say…then I’ll say…”

Filtering

When you filter, you listen to some things and not to others.  You pay just enough attention to see if someone is angry, or unhappy, or if you are under fire.  Once satisfied that none of these things are present, you let your mind wander.  Another form of filtering is to simply avoid hearing certain things – in particular, anything unpleasant, critical, threatening or negative.  It’s as if the words were never said – you simply have no memory of them.

The power of good listening in effective player-coach relationships should not be underestimated, and the importance of listening intently is also a Biblical saying that dates back 2000 years – ‘Be quick to listen, and slow to speak’ (1 James v.11).

Have a think about the barriers I have outlined above and assess if they sometimes apply to you?  Do you sometimes have difficulty listening to your players? If you do, it is likely that your coaching relationships could improve greatly through targeting this simple, yet significant skill.  Effective listening is part of the cornerstone of great assessment, which leads to the best intervention with players.


This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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Effective Listening Skills & The PGA Professional (Part 1)
The Four Stages of Team Development http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-four-stages-of-team-development/ Fri, 09 Sep 2016 13:49:57 +0000 Coaching4Careers http://www.pgae.com/?p=16613 The initial stages of team development may feel like something of a white-knuckle ride of ups and downs...]]>

When you first start a new job becoming part of a team can be intimidating, but more often than not you’ll be joining a team that’s already performing quite well. However, in some lines of work new project teams are formed frequently, and that can be tricky because for a group of strangers to become a strong, united team, with a common goal there must be commitment from all members.

Sometimes it’s easier to commit to something if you understand the way it can evolve. The initial stages of team development may feel like something of a white-knuckle ride of ups and downs, but recognising those stages may help you to feel more relaxed about the more challenging times, particularly when you’re the newbie.

So here are the four stages of team development according to educational psychologist professor, Bruce Tuckman:

1. Forming

The initial “Forming” stage is when you first meet each other and you’re all rather polite, but positive, maybe excited and a little anxious about the task ahead.

2 Storming and 3. Norming

Then reality sets in and you may start to argue, with some people trying to assert their authority. This is called “Storming”. Everything may stabilise again as a hierarchy is established and accepted; the team starts socialising more and gets to know each other better. This is called “Norming.”

Just as you think you’re all settled and loving your new team some of you might start to feel stressed and overwhelmed by how much there is to do or feel uncomfortable with the approach being used so the team lapses back into a period of “Storming” again.

Gradually, though, working practices are established and through mutual respect, people being happy to ask for help and more constructive criticism being given, you all begin to develop a comfort with your tasks and a stronger commitment towards the goal. And you’re back… in the “Norming” stage.

“Storming” shakes things up a bit and prevents the complacency often associated with “Norming”, but too much “Storming” may indicate irreconcilable differences.

In most cases, however, this pattern of “Storming” instability and then “Norming” stability repeats several times as new tasks come up or new people join the team, and eventually the cycle dies out.

4. Performing

The final “Performing” stage comes when your team is supported by the structures and processes that have been set up, individuals can join or leave the team without affecting the “Performing” culture and your team’s hard work leads directly towards the shared vision of your goal.

So remember that when you hit a bumpy patch with your new team, there’s no need to worry – you’re probably just “Storming” in order to become a team that “Performs” effortlessly as a unit.

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This content appears courtesy of Abintegro, experts in career management, transition technology & e-learning for today’s modern, mobile and technology-savvy workforce – Find out more at www.abintegro.com

Credit: Bruce Tuckman; Abintegro.com

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The Four Stages of Team Development
Recommended Books on LEARNING From Past Contributors http://www.pgae.com/ask/recommended-books-on-learning-from-past-contributors/ Fri, 09 Sep 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Golf Science Lab http://www.pgae.com/?p=16588 Golf Science Lab went back through their past contributors and pulled together everyone’s books so you can pick up anything missing from your library...]]>

We went back through our past contributors and pulled together everyone’s books in one place so you can pick up anything that’s missing for your library.

This post’s books are from contributors to season 1 of the podcast and presenters from the Motor Learning Masterclass. Great for both golfers and coaches looking to expand their knowledge of how learning and skill development actually happens.

Dr. Mark Guadagnoli

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No matter what you have tried so far, there is a better way. There is a better way to practice so you lower your scores and have more fun. The better way means learning to go beyond your comfort zone on the range so you are in your comfort zone on the course.

The better way means combining the mental and physical aspects of golf to create habits of excellence. “Practice to Learn, Play to Win” uses the latest research in brain science to supercharge your golf. The better way to golf starts with great practice and ends with great scores.

Get your copy here >Practice to Learn, Play to Win

Adam Young

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This book is the most comprehensive guide to improving your Golf EVER!  A best-seller in the USA, UK, Canada, Germany and France, and featured on The Golf Channel, “The Practice Manual – The Ultimate Guide for Golfers” is creating a wave in the golf industry and changing the way we think about playing better golf. With golfers around the World hitting the driving ranges and not improving, it is time to do something different — it’s time to do something better. Using information from the latest in motor learning research, you will discover the key ingredients which make the ultimate practice plan. You will also find out where you have been going wrong all these years, and be able to quickly change for the better.

If you are a keen golfer who likes to practice, or if you are an aspiring Tour Pro or College player, this book is a necessity. For Golf Coaches around the World, this book will transform the way you teach golf forever.

Get your copy here > The Practice Manual: The Ultimate Guide for Golfers

Trent Wearner

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In order for you to successfully take your game to the course, you must bring the elements found on the course to your practices and that is exactly what this book (and this interactive website) does.

With its 230 pages and nearly 100 competitive practice games (all with color photos), items like score, a consequence, different lies, distractions, pressure and more are brought to the forefront so that you can practice in a manner that TRANSFERS to the course.

Get your copy here > Golf Scrimmages: Realistic Practice Games Under Pressure

Dr. Gabriele Wulf

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Attention and Motor Skill Learning explores how a person’s focus of attention affects motor performance and, in particular, the learning of motor skills. It synthesizes the knowledge coming from recent research examining the effects of attentional focus on motor performance and learning, and it provides practical implications for both instructional and rehabilitative settings.

It provides many practical examples and implications for teaching, learning, relearning, and performing motor skills. This book will help readers better understand the effects that attentional focus has on motor performance and learning as well as the mechanisms underlying these effects. While challenging traditional learning methods, this book presents the latest research and demonstrates how changing one’s focus of attention can speed the learning process and lead to more effective performance of motor skills.

Get your copy here > Attention and Motor Skill Learning

Dr. Tim Lee

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Motor Control in Everyday Actions presents 47 true stories that illustrate the phenomena of motor control, learning, perception, and attention in sport, physical activity, home, and work environments. At times humorous and sometimes sobering, this unique text provides an accessible application-to-research approach to spark critical thinking, class discussion, and new ideas for research.

The stories in Motor Control in Everyday Actions illustrate the diversity and complexity of research in perception and action and motor skill acquisition. More than interesting anecdotes, these stories offer concrete examples of how motor behavior, motor control, and perception and action errors affect the lives of both well-known and ordinary individuals in various situations and environments.

Get your copy here > Motor Control in Everyday Actions

Joe Bosco

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Any player from beginner to aspiring tour player can improve in a much more direct and enjoyable way using a time-tested and results-proven method backed by cutting-edge research in human learning and brain function. It’s a technique used by the Marine Corps, Harvard Business School and the NBA. Unlike the dozens of other instruction books that come out every year, Real Golf isn’t a collection of mechanical adjustments, tips and drills.

It is a complete guide to sorting, evaluating and successfully integrating the instruction players are already receiving from a teacher, magazine, book or a video. It is instruction on how to use instruction. Using the sophisticated, personalized self-scrimmage strategies detailed in the book, players can make dramatic scoring breakthroughs immediately, and see massive handicap improvement in eight to 10 weeks.

Get your copy here > Real Golf: Taking Your Best Game to the Course

Michael Hebron

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A must read for every serious golfer who wants a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of the golf swing. It’s one of the best books on the golf swing in publication and truly focuses on the motions and actions present in all sound golf swings. Explanations and the many illustrations are easy to understand. Hebron quotes Ben Hogan and Bobby Jones throughout the book. Originally his Masters thesis, now a classic in the industry. Third revision refines the book even more than prior editions.

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Hebron’s efficient approaches to golf help players invent their swings, putting strokes, and tempos.

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On the subject of learning golf comes a comprehensive study of how people learn the necessary motor skills plus a wealth of information on keeping the mind centered on the task at hand.

The quintessential manual for golf instructors, coaches and curious minds of any sport. This manual, filled with powerful photos and drawings, is a must for any serious golfer’s bookshelf. Each of the 3 sections is a manual in and of itself. Hebron shares a lifetime of extensive research on the sports mind and body, then relates the information to the golf swing. By understanding the roll of each moving and thinking part in a motor skill, readers are placed in a position to build a golf swing (or any motor skill) that is controlled, repeatable and permanently learned.

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In the 21st century it’s unacceptable for students not to make progress at a reasonable rate when instructors and students could benefit from what science has uncovered about learning. Modernizing Approaches to Learning discusses research related to the brain as the gateway to learning. When taking a brain-compatible approach to learning, we can learn faster and retain information and skills longer.

The author discusses findings from neuroscience, cognitive science, physiological and psychological research about the brain and learning. He offers practical, modern ways to move from damaging educational approaches toward emotionally safe, self-discovery and self-reliant approaches. Approaches that are geared to help are not as valuable as those geared for self-help. Modernized approaches join the art of teaching with the science of learning where research demonstrates that we learn naturally through trial and error adjustments.

See and Feel the Inside Move the Outside, Third Revsion

Play Golf to Learn Golf

Golf Swing Secrets… and Lies: Six Timeless Lessons

The Art and Zen of Learning Golf, Third Edition

See & Feel the Inside Move the Outside, Third Edition – Full Color

Building and Improving Your Golf Mind, Golf Body, Golf Swing

Matthew Kluck & Dennis Sweeney

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This is the central book of the series 101 Games for Golf that was featured by Martin Hall on the Golf Channel’s School of Golf. It is an essential golfing manual designed to help you to transfer the skills you get in a golf lesson to the golf course. It does this by showing you how to practice for improvement by playing simple games that range in difficulty from easy, for beginners, to difficult, for advanced players. Six companion games booklets are sold separately and describe the games in detail.

In addition to outlining the games, the book has chapters on setting game improvement goals, developing a pre-shot routine, choosing golf instruction that meets your needs, and managing your emotions on the course. Written by an applied industrial psychologist and a PGA Master Teaching Professional who has been recognized as a top teacher by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest, the book is a must for any golfer, from the novice to tournament player, who wants to maintain or improve his or her golf swing. PLEASE NOTE! The games are described in detail in the six companion game booklets. Each booklet has games for each key golf skill: putting, pitching, chipping, full swing, bunker shots, and on-course play.

Additional Supporting Books:

Putting Games – Flat Stick Magic! (Golf’s Missing Links)

Full Swing Games – Let It Fly! (Golf’s Missing Links)

Chipping Games – Lowering Your Score (Golf’s Missing Links)

Pitching Games – Up and Away! (Golf’s Missing Links)

Bunker Games – Up and Over (Golf’s Missing Links)

On the Course Games – Putting It All Together! (Golf’s Missing Links)

If you’re looking for more materials make sure to check out SEASON 1 of the Golf Science Lab podcast and the Motor Learning Masterclass

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Recommended Books on LEARNING From Past Contributors