‘If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.’
When players start to look ahead to a new season they are often conscious of renewing efforts to develop their games and achieve their goals. The difficulty is that players of all standards will often not be specific enough in any practice they do.
Maslow’s famous quote applied to golf implies that if players don’t develop different tools/shots in their game, their development is likely to stagnate as they are likely to always approach situations on the course in the same way. Of course this could also be applied to course management skills and decision-making on the course.
The same could equally be applied to golf coaches and teaching professionals (and psychologists). Broadening one’s knowledge and skill set enables us to consider more variables when trying to improve the performance or enjoyment of the golfers we work with. Therefore, it is important that any coach considers what specific coaching education they might need in order to progress their repertoire of skills, their coaching achievements, the players they work with, or to increase their income.
Therefore, take time to reflect what is in your coaching toolbox? Do you always reach the same conclusions with players and find yourself repeating the same instructions? Coaches in other sports are encouraged to engage in regular ‘reflective practice’ to self-assess their effectiveness. These questions might prompt where your ‘toolbox’ is limited.
Reflective Coaching Questions
- What happened in that coaching session?
- What were you thinking and feeling?
- What was good and bad about the session?
- What sense did you make of the player’s progress?
- What else could you have done?
- If the same situation arose again what would you do?
To return to developing a player’s toolbox, a suggestion might be trying a ‘shot of the month’ short-term goal-setting task to focus their coaching, efforts and practise over the coming months.
This simply requires you discuss with players the goals they have for the coming year, and what limitations they may have that could be improved on each month. This is not to say all other coaching work stops, but it is usually helpful to target one particular shot in a realistic timeframe. Identify the most important shots or skills, measure their current success in some way, and then agree the thrust of coaching, technical instruction and practice that month to improve that particular shot.
A simple re-test or re-measurement at the end of the month should hopefully show better execution/results and therefore more confidence going into the season.
|JanuaryChip from the Fringe(e.g. currently 50% finish within 4 feet)||FebruaryGreenside Bunker Play|
|MarchMid-Range Putting||April30-40 Yard Pitch Shot|