Learning - Maximise Your Lesson Benefits

The first thing you need to know is that you need to have the correct conception of what a golf swing is in your mind in order for you to be able to play the game successfully. Your brain tells your body what to do, your body makes the golf club move and the golf club dictates to the ball how it will travel. Hence, whatever the result of the shot you have just hit, the underlying cause can be traced back to your brain.

When a beginner takes up the game, they usually already have an idea formed in their mind of how a golf swing operates and what they need to do to strike the ball. The idea in their mind, however, is often rough around the edges and more often than not incorrect. The golfer’s goal as they seek to develop must be to add more and more sophistication to their understanding of the motor skill they are trying to perform.

Here are a few key points I think everybody must reflect on regarding the lesson process

Before the lesson

Be aware of the fact you will need to work hard to improve. If like most people you don’t have the time or opportunity to play much golf be prepared to have to take baby steps and to consider your improvement as a long-term project. You are the person in command, Homer Kelley says that the instructor can inform and explain but it is the pupil’s job to absorb and apply.

In order to change your ball flight you will need to change the way in which you deliver the clubhead to the ball. This means you will need to change the way you think about the swing and means you will be creating a change in your habitual motion. Any change in your motion is going to create a change in feel. The trick is to think of this as something you expect to happen and as something new rather than as something odd and uncomfortable.

During the lesson

Don’t take your instructors word for it. Make sure what he is saying and asking of you makes sense in your mind and that you understand why you are trying to perform a certain move. It’s very hard to commit and follow through with something that you do not understand. Furthermore it is even harder to evaluate how you are progressing if you don’t truly understand what it is that you are working on. In this regard, a camera is an invaluable tool in tracking progress and changes that you make over time.

Understand that until the time when you break it down into the smallest minute details there really is only one golf swing. As a result do not be surprised when your instructor perhaps makes you work with an iron rather than with your driver. The instructor sees the same fault with both clubs but you are simply getting less reward for your efforts with the longer club.

After the lesson

Practice time is invaluable and it must take place on the golf course and on the range, working on all aspects of the game.
Think of those players who are better players than you as being more skilled, not more talented. Skill comes from a better understanding, obtaining reliable feedback and hard work.

Finally, and most important, enjoy the process and embrace both its ups and downs.

Recipe for Success

Some of you may be interested in these brief notes on what is required for you to reach the top and become an elite golfer:

1. Practice with purpose
2. Have the right training system and coach
3. Have a systematic approach that enables you to receive feedback on the things you do
4. A high level of motivation
5. Be given praise for your hard work
6. Have self belief and possibly even irrational optimism
7. Experience is important. Intuition and instincts are learned skills that stem from experience. They are what enable automaticity. Every wrong attempt that you can eliminate is a further step forward.

Carol Dweck, a Psychology professor at Stanford University states:
“The hand you’re dealt is just a starting point…although people may differ in every which way - in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests or temperaments - anyone can grow through application and experience… In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or everyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”

Susan Polgar, the first female chess Grandmaster states:
“I really believe that if you put your mind to it and you really want it, you can achieve it, whatever it is…the work part, the diligence part, is the most important…and I think that being trained properly anybody can achieve practically anything.”

Are you prepared and raring to go? I know I am!