Picture this, you go for a golf lesson because you’re struggling with your game. You explain to the pro you would like to become more consistent.
Your pro asks you to hit a few balls with your 7 iron, then tells you what you’re doing wrong. You might even have your swing captured on video and put on screen beside your favourite tour pro to show you what you “should” be doing. Sound familiar?
There are a couple of things missing from this scenario. You probably haven’t been asked what your INTENTION for the shot was or where your ATTENTION was. Without knowing the answer to these vital questions, assumptions will be made. Dangerous and unhelpful assumptions.
Questions are extremely powerful. Questions focus your mind, they focus your attention. Can you hear that noise in the background? You can now because I directed your attention to it.
Without knowing what your intention for the shot is, your pro or coach can only guess. Without knowing where your attention is, it is unlikely they will be able to help you.
Rather than ask what is wrong with your swing, ask what is wrong with your shots. If you ask 10 coaches what is wrong with your swing, you will receive a variety of different opinions. If you ask what is wrong with your shots, they will all tell you the ball travelled a little too far left, right, long or short. They will provide you with facts.
I don’t know about you but I would much rather deal with facts than opinions.
An opinion will be formed based on whatever preconceived ideas your coach has about what a “good” swing looks like. If your swing doesn’t fit into a particular pigeon hole, the likelihood is you will spend the best part of your lesson trying to “fix” your backswing, hip rotation, create more downswing lag or some other magic move.
While this might work with the odd shot on the range through repetition, transferring that on to the golf course will be tricky at best. Focus on creating golf shots rather than golf swings. If you don’t train your shotmaking skills on the range, don’t be surprised if you can’t play them on the course.
Think about what the golf course demands of you. The course, or more specifically, its designer, constantly asks you questions.
Can you figure out what the best option for this or any given shot is and can you execute that shot? That is the art of playing golf.
At no point does the course or its designer ask what your swing looks like or if you turned your hips faster through impact.
I am not saying that technique isn’t important. However, if you only pay attention to what you or a body part needs to do, you run the risk of becoming disconnected from the task at hand, which is creating a shot. Conversely, if you pay attention to the shot and allow the task to create the technique, your brain and body will become engaged and absorbed in that task and will in turn, figure out the best movement pattern to make that happen.
As a direct result, your technique will improve. Quite the opposite of what the culture of coaching might have you believe.
The shot creates the swing, not the other way round. Think about this the next time you go to the range or the golf course, I’d love to hear how you get on.