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Brian Hemmings: Better Coaching 4 – Identifying Barriers to Improvement in Your Pupils2 min read


Posted on: 1st Oct 2012

A series of monthly articles from Dr Brian Hemmings, a leading psychologist in golf for many years. During this time he has helped develop the mental skills of the best emerging English golfers including the likes of Ross Fisher, Richard Finch, Danny Willett, Tom Lewis, David Horsey and Chris Wood. Here Brian suggests ways in which coaches can better identify barriers to the pupils’ improvement.

One of the major challenges facing the PGA professional is to quickly identify changes needed in a player’s game, and to set a path of instruction to improve skill levels. Whilst much more is now known about preferences in learning styles and how information is delivered by the coach and received by a player, often there are more simple barriers to improvement within a player that need to be understood if the coach is to be successful.

Here are 5 of the most common barriers to improvement from a psychological perspective and the teaching approach which then needs to be taken:

  1. ‘I don’t know what to do’ = Information
  2. ‘I don’t know how to do it’ = Demonstration
  3. ‘I don’t know why I should do it’ = Education
  4. ‘I don’t know when to do it’ = Direction
  5. ‘I can’t do it’ = Persuasion

Guidance for the PGA professional:

Listen carefully to the words a pupil or player uses to explain their needs during coaching sessions to best direct you to your course of action. You will find players vary in their needs over time, and when working on different skills. Also if you feel a player is not making progress, take time to consider if you have delivered your coaching message in a variety of ways to aid learning and development.

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Dr. Brian Hemmings has been lead psychologist to England golf for over a decade. During this time he has helped develop the mental skills of the best emerging English golfers including the likes of Ross Fisher, Richard Finch, Danny Willett, Tom Lewis, David Horsey and Chris Wood. Brian is author of the book ‘Mental Toughness for Golf: The Minds of Winners’ and is also a regular presenter on the PGA CPD programme.

Brian has released a fully online Golf Psychology Coaching Certificate course that carries 100 PGA CPD points and has been completed with great reviews by PGA professionals. Go to www.golfpsychologycoaching.co.uk for full details.

The course is full of practical activities for the PGA professional to guide players through improving their mental game, and is endorsed by some of England’s best coaches. You can complete the course at home so you will have no travel costs or time away from your work. All you need is a player to work with and the time to complete the course activities. For a price reduction type in the promotional code 2012 to reduce the price from £295 to £219.