As we approach the beginning of the new calendar year, I thought it would be a good time to share with everyone some "secrets" from my time out on tour this year. I'm sure for many of you these will not seem that surprising but I hope you will find it interesting.
1) Professional Golfers are just as neurotic as your club players. When I say this, I mean they are trying things, lots of things, to get better. Standing on the range at a tour event sounds nearly the same as standing on the range at your member-guest or any junior event. Some have headphones in, some are talking about cars and girls, some are telling stories and jokes and some are talking golf. That last group, is talking about grip changes, new clubs they are trying, swing thoughts and the like. It's the same stuff. I found it quite amusing listening to the stories and the golf talk and it made me very comfortable. The difference is in their talent and ability. These players are just better.
2) Time flies by. This one was a big surprise to me. Going to events and being part of practice rounds, pro ams and then tournament days gave me an insight into how little time players really have to spend with their family or "work" on their game. Include in this fitness time, interviews and other sponsor responsibilities and it's just amazing how quickly the time goes. Working in this environment has helped me greatly to discover new ways to maintain or gently nudge performance in the direction we want it to go without diminishing the state of their game currently.
3) Performance rules all. The large majority of my time working with tour level players has been at tour events. It has not been back home away from tournaments. This is a very different environment than most of us have back at the range/course where we do our coaching. There are things you just shouldn't do at a tournament site that you may attempt back home. This being said doesn't change the fact that our job is to improve performance regardless of the environment we have to work in. As I mentioned in number 2, many players simply don't have time to wait to go home for a few weeks and then work on something. They are working and traveling and some will want coaching in the environment they are dealing with. The best part is, as a coach, the aesthetics of things goes away quickly as they need to shoot lower(not look better). You really get to test yourself and your ability to think on the fly in this environment. Critical thinking and a deep understanding allow for very simple ideas to flow that create that evolution from where they are now to somewhere that produces lower scores. Figuring out ways to improve performance without "working" on things has been a great puzzle for me which I thoroughly enjoy and thankfully have done well with so far.
4) Opportunity comes for visibility. This one is less of a secret than a confirmation. What I mean by this is if you are out teaching on tour, there is a greater likelihood of players asking your opinions or thoughts than if you are not. Again, because of number 2 above, the amount of time players have to really investigate a coach is highly limited. So, just like at home, referrals play a huge role. Also, players are looking at other players. Players seem to have a general idea or history of where they stand relative to others and with which part of their games. If players see another player improving in an area they wish to improve on there's a good chance you may end up with some questions. From there, number 5 rules the day.
5) Performance improvement builds loyalty. This is where the rubber meets the road. Coaching on tour is inherently a short run gig. There are many reasons for this like time, the ebb and flow of golf, personality differences, etc. But, if you produce increased performance, you will have the best chance for sustained relationships on tour. I've mentioned this in other seminars but for me, I need to be me to produce my best. I used to have this idea that I needed to be someone else when working with high level players. That didn't work for me. If I was more me, I never had to worry about dropping my guard or saying the "wrong" thing because I was acting. I love knowledge and understanding. I mean I love it. Imparting ideas that increase performance is what it's all about. It's not about being right or wrong.
James and I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with some of the best golfers in the world. Our goal at Short Game Secrets is to help players and coaches in this area by informing you what the best players are actually doing. Then it's about helping players improve. In my case, putting is really varied in terms of how the best players are doing it. Trying to find a model for everyone is absolute folly. That being said, we know what has to happen for putts to go in. We know what the pieces of the puzzle are. Our videos are designed to help you understand those pieces and all the ways they can go together and ways they generally shouldn't. I hope you enjoyed this post and please take advantage of our anniversary sale. It includes our original 5 video(download) set and 2 bonus videos for the price of $99.99.
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