Thursday, 30 December 2010

US Open Champion

This is what Graeme McDowell had to say in the past issue of Golfweek.

” I was struggling a little bit because I was starting to fall in love with trying to make my swing more technically correct on camera, with swinging the club nice instead of effectively. We’ve gotten very much back to playing golf. My full swing went from technical to playable. On the range, I try to play shots instead of trying to make a perfect swing.”


Frustration in Practice Sessions

Thursday, 25 November 2010

What are some coaches doing to our young talent?

I've just seen a Technical report from a National coach of a 13 year old elite golfer. The presentation of the report and the quality of the images was very impressive. So to were the opening comments of the coach saying how the boy had scored above average for his technical performance test and how good he was at finding the ball at impact and his ability to shape the ball both ways. So far so good.
He then went on frame by frame to demolish the boys golf swing, highlighting everything he thought this boy was doing WRONG, from his grip to the position of his feet.
If that wasn't bad enough the boy was emailed the report. How did that make him feel?
At this stage you have to question what the coach was trying to achieve here. Was it about him trying to impress with his knowledge of the "perfect swing" or just a clash of egos with the boys home coach?
Whatever. The outcome I'm sure was a disillusioned young talented golfer who now needs picking up again from this savaging.
Why do some coaches feel the need to tell you what you are doing wrong and not spending time on highlighting the plentiful things you are doing right?
There was no conclusion to this report informing this ELITE young golfer what he needed to do to improve. Maybe in the coaches eyes there was just too much to cover.
How sad when I was thinking our coaching in golf was getting better.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

More gems

"Approaches to learning should be moved beyond normative approaches. A primary goal of education is to improve the functional level of performance of students, so they can then produce skills on their own"

Kurt Fisher (Director of Harvard's Mind - Brain Connection to Education Institute)

Reasearch

"Teacher assisted environments that guide, motivate and support self discovery learning are more effective than teacher centered environments. Learning skill and education do NOT come from teachers"

The committee of Learning Research and Educational Practices (USA)

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Swings of the Ryder Cup

Wow! How about that for a sporting event? The 37th Ryder Cup matches at Celtic Manor won by Colin Montgomeries’ European players was fascinating in so many ways.
The challenges of the weather, the match play format, the different strategies of play, the size of the spectator galleries, I could go on.
One of the things that struck me more than before was just how different the swings of the 24 players looked and how easily identifiable the golfers were by their idiosyncratic golf swings.
Take for example World number 3 Phil Mickleson. Yes I know that’s easy because he is left handed and stands on the other side of the ball to right hander’s, but Bubba Watson who is also a “leftie” looks to do things in a completely different way to Phil.
How can this be? Both are leading exponents of the game yet hit the ball miles, but in an entirely different fashion. We know that top golfers have amazing skills and a huge variety of shots on and around the greens but surely they all hit the ball the same way.
Well for most part they do. Physics and the laws of a spinning ball govern us all so to hit a particular shot we all have to deliver the clubface to the ball in the same way to achieve the desired outcome.
I was privileged to work for Ryder Cup radio at Celtic Manor and had the fortune to be “inside the ropes” where I could get a close up view of what was going on. It is difficult not to get drawn into watching the power, the balance, the rhythm and style of these players, all twenty four looking unique in their own delivery of the club.
If however we watch closely at how the club swings and NOT what the body looks like we can then see and begin to understand the similarities of what these World-leading players do.
The common thread running through all these swings is the position of the clubface at impact. The golf ball does not lie. It will go where the clubface tells it. FACT!
So when you hit the ball to the right of your target where do you suppose the clubface is pointing at impact?
This is where your attention needs to be, on the clubface, as the most important fundamental is how and where the clubface is swinging.
Next time you are out playing explore, don’t just swing and hope for the best. Watch the flight of the ball as this is the feedback you need as to where the clubface was at collision point.

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Mayonnaise Jar

The Mayonnaise Jar

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle,
when 24 hours in a day is not enough,
remember the mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class

and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, wordlessly,
he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar
and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured
them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table

and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively
filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor, as the laughter subsided
,
'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things -- family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions.
Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else --The small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' He continued,
'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff,
You will never have room for the things that are important to you.

So..

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

'Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled.
'I'm glad you asked,'

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem,
there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'

Please share this with other "Golf Balls".

I just did.......



Friday, 18 June 2010

Nick Faldo or Jack Nicklaus

Belt Buckle or Club Head?! Stories or Reality – what’s important?

This is a transcript of a conversation between Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo discussing Tiger Woods during the first round of the 2010 Memorial Tournament on the Golf Channel.

Nick and Jack were in the commentary both watching Tiger’s first round, when Nick asks Jack how long it would take to “fix” Tiger’s swing?
(I didn’t know it was broken)

Jack: Tiger is such a good athlete it would take ten minutes.

Nick: I agree, if you just put him in the right plane position on the backswing ,the club, we all feel, pointing a little more on line at the top and you know, work out how to unwind it coming down, maintain your level, get your belt buckle through, cover the ball and learn how to release it.

Jack: Well in my opinion Nick, I believe the golf game is played, and everybody’s swing is different, I think the golf game is played with club head and you got to think in terms of what the clubhead does throughout the golf swing. And if you think in terms of the clubhead does you can make your body do what you want.

Nick: Yeah Exactly

Jack: And he’s not doing that right now he’s trying to do his body and make his clubhead follow.

Nick: If you understand the arc of the golf swing then put and let the body help get out the way

Jack: The amazing part of it is that he is going to shoot 68/69.

How many golfers would go to the range and try put into practice the words of the six time major winner Nick Faldo. Or would there be some out there discerning enough to take Jack’s words for it.

I’m not sure Nick understands how difficult he’s making the game sound.
Why do we need to know all this stuff?
Listen to Jack!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Time for a change

It is hard to believe that over 9000 books have been written on how to play golf. 9000 books dedicated to trying to unlock the secrets of this elusive game. And yet despite all this advice and knowledge golf remains the most frustratingly difficult game in the world.
Why is that?
Are you ready to challenge some of your long held beliefs?
During my fifteen years as a Tournament Professional, I like many others, fell into the trap of believing that someone else held the secret to my success. I failed to realise that success could not be found in finding the perfect swing that would not break down under pressure. That road lead to total frustration and feelings of wanting to do something better with my time. Does this sound familiar to you? Lessons and information taken in, hours spent practicing, yet still no improvement in performance. Well read on and change your golfing life forever!
The first step on the road to mastery is to trust yourself and understand what it is you are doing when you attempt to hit the ball. Where is your attention and awareness focused? Are you thinking too much about what is a simple task?
You need to move your game away from thinking, and move it towards feeling. You see FEEL is what we use to perform all the amazing motion skills we possess. You don’t think how to walk, you FEEL how to walk. You don’t think how hard to throw the piece of paper into the bin, you FEEL how hard to throw it. And if golf is to change then it must align itself accordingly, because more information is not the answer.
Any sport that sees naturally gifted people unintentionally slice for their entire golfing lives, or that has professionals with golf games that seem to regress in direct proportion with the more they learn about its mechanics, is definitely in need of change!
So how do we move away from thinking and towards feeling? Well, all feel begins with an
objective or task. “Throw the ball to daddy” is all that needs said to evoke an appropriate
technique and start the learning process in a child, and as the skill develops so does the feel.
The issue with golf “coaching” is that it tends to be technique rather than task led.
To help explain that a little more clearly lets look at how I was introduced to two sports. Squash and golf. See if you can spot the difference.
GOLF – This is pretty good representation of the type of instruction that I received when I
came to golf for the first time. How does it compare to yours?
1. I was told how to grip the club.
2. I was told how to stand, aim and position the ball.
3. I was told how to swing. This included lots of things such as, keeping your eye on the
ball and your head down. Your left arm straight and your swing slow. Then as I
progressed it become a bit more complicated and included stuff like turning my left
shoulder under my chin properly on the backswing, and that my hips had to start the
downswing etc. Unfortunately it didn’t stop there, and ultimately I moved on to swing
planes, wrist cock, wrist lag, width and weight transference, and it went on, and on, and
on. It was real fun. NOT!
4. Then every time I got coached I was told that I would get worse before I got better.
GREAT! Just what a young man wants to hear.
SQUASH – I was given the following help with squash from one of my friends.
1. I was handed a racket and a ball.
2. I was then told the rules and objective of the game. Which was basically that ball was only allowed to bounce once before you had to hit it, and my job was to try and direct it where my opponent couldn’t get it. The serve was explained, as were the lines and tin on the walls and floor.
3. I was then asked if I fancied a game!
Did you spot the difference?
You see golf was full of “how to” instructions, whereas squash was all about the game or
objective. In fact in squash there is no technical information whatsoever, and amazingly in golf there was no mention of the objective. The contrast is startling, and that just shouldn’t be. People constantly told me that golf was different (but it isn’t), but I accepted this belief and all the baggage that comes with it. Now it’s time to hand it back.
My introduction to golf encouraged me to think, whereas my introduction to squash
encouraged me to feel and once you learn the appropriate feel for golf you can never lose it.
Fact, the golf ball always does what it is told. We tell the golf ball what to do via the
clubface and how it’s applied to the ball. So what are you telling the clubface? Is your
attention where it should be, that is on the clubface? If not it needs to be. All golfers need to be aware of the reality of what happens at impact. The golf ball will tell you this.
Let me give you an example of this. While I was giving a golf clinic one lady hit a shot
heavy, taking a big divot and the ball barely moved. I asked her “What happened there?”
She replied that she had swung too fast and lifted her head up. A nice story but
unfortunately it was just a story and not reality. What did happen was she miss applied the club and caught the ground before the ball.
After bringing this to her attention I then challenged her to hit the ball without hitting the
ground. After a couple of practice swings feeling a different movement to her previous
attempt, she hit a shot toward her target without taking a big divot. She had changed her
technique due to the task I had given her, without any information of “How To” from me.
You will find that the task will always lead to your technique and NOT the other way around.
Exploring different ways of applying the club will lead to you discovering what is right for
you. Golf is fun once you rid yourself of all thoughts of rights and wrongs. Taking ownership of your own game will be a massive step on the road to having more FUN while playing.
Every great player in the world plays with feel as his major sense, now it’s time for you to
do the same. Good luck and happy INSTINCTIVE golfing.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

PERCEPTION

PERCEPTION. . .Something To Think About. . .
Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007.
The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later: The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again..

10 minutes:A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly

.45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.

The man collected a total of $32.1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.

He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised:
*In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
*Do we stop to appreciate it?
*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made. How many other things are we missing?





How many special persons pass us by and we do
not MAKE ANY EFFORT TO get to know them?

Technology


I was invited along to Bowker BMW in Blackburn to the launch of the new 5 series BMW. Well not so much to see the car as to attract customers in to have a putting lesson.
I borrowed a SAM PUTT LAB from my good friend Nick Middleton (Break 30 and Zen) and off I went. A number of things amazed me over the course of the weekend I was there. Firstly just how quickly people learn after being given accurate feedback as to what it is they are doing. EVERYONE who used the PUTT LAB were able to change the outcome of their next attempts by seeing and understanding what they had just done! Not one person had to be told WHAT TO DO. Once they understood that the ball travelled in the direction the putter face was pointing at impact they all were able to evoke a change and direct the next putt where they wished.
There were not two stroke alike that I measured,
ALL I may add where successful in holing putts from 12'.
The majority of those measured applied the putter face closed,while swinging the putter left. Never a good option. 95% change their next outcomes by applying the face more open to the same path to get the ball to the target. No intervention from me other to explain the importance of the face at impact.
The variety of swing paths was amazing particularly the number of downward motions!! There were also a number of players, lower handicaps, who delofted the putter at impact allied to a Sharp upward path.
The most annoying thing was the interference of parents thinking they were helping their children when the kids were putting. Telling them how to stand, how to hold the putter, how far to swing back, how they MUST keep their eye on the ball. Much tongue biting done on my part as I kindly asked the parents to let the children HAVE A GO and see what we ALL may learn.
Although I only used the basic training mode and the "sweetspot challenge" functions on SAM I found it to be a fantastic bit of kit to give quick and accurate feedback. I didn't use SAM as a tool to find out what the golfers were doing WRONG only to tell them what they were DOING.
Having spent time with Nick Middleton at Break 30 I saw the science of what it is we do when putting. Absolutely fascinating.

Monday, 15 March 2010

What now?

Well thats the end of the Lancashire Womens Coaching Programme for the winter. I'm not sure how much influence a County, Regional or National Coach can have in such a short amount of time spent in these sessions.

Groups of 12 to 24 golfers on a Sunday morning just about gives you time to say hello. It takes time with individuals just to find out how much they understand about what they are doing

For most the answers are lots of buzz words like too quick, layed off, across the line, trapped, spin out, head still, maintain posture, follow through etc you know the stuff. All nice stories but how much is reallity and what is actually critical in producing desired outcomes?

I asked the girls last Sunday, in groups, to play some skills challenges and write down at least 3 things they thought they needed to do, that was critical, to hit the shot required.

During the review the most common answer from all the challenges was CLUB FACE CONTROL.

Wow, after a five sessions of doubting that I was getting the message across the answer was clear that I had. Now the challenge is for them to take this on through the summer and to not get bogged down with misinformation about what they may be doing wrong.

Of course they will go back to their own coach or parents who will have their own ideas about what they should be doing, so the cycle of sabotage starts again and real learning stops.

The Lob net

North West AASE students at Formby Hall. The lob net skill game proved to be a big challenge. After intervention the students were able to flop 6 irons over when previously lob wedges proved a bridge too far.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Junior Coaching

Sunday will bring to a close the winter training programme for the Lancashire Womens Golf Association. What has been the most outstanding fact for me has been the lack of awareness as to the importance of what the golf club does in the golf shot.
I hear too often girls talking about the position of their feet, their alignment, grip,posture, leg action, hip turn,shoulder turn, follow through and so on.
Extremely frustrating as these girls believe all this will lead to better golf shots.
No one appears to have been giving the most important fact that the critical issue is what the club face does at impact.
The golf ball does not lie. It will go where its told. This information is passed on through the club face,FACT.
The rest is down to the individual to commit to exploring and discovering the most appropriate way for themselves to control the application of the club face.
Guidance is needed in this exploration of course,but its amazing what we all learn by not restricting young talent to templates of the "right" swing.
Too much inappropriate information is being given too soon to people starting to play.
We need to let learning take place.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Check out this video on World Class Teaching http://golfcoachingdevelopment.blogspot.com/2010/03/world-class-teaching.html Inspiring stuff!

Friday, 5 March 2010

AASE Formby Hall

The Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence for Golf
at
Formby Hall GC 7th March 2010


Itinerary


10-11am Introduction and welcome

11-12pm Long game challenge on driving range

12-12.45 Lunch

1300 –1400 Short game challenge

1400 –1500 9 hole par 3 challenge

1500-1600 Putting challenge

16.15 –1700 Review and close the day.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The truth about YOUR game.
No stories, just the plain honest truth.
with
European Tour winner Paul Eales
and
IGC founder Kendal McWade
at
Garstang Golf Club on Saturday 6th March 2010
School One: 9am until 12pm or School Two: 1pm until 4pm

Places for this fun learning experience are limited so call Paul NOW on 07801 477 348 or email paul.eales@talk21.com to guarantee your place.





“Instinctive Golf Coaching is committed to simplifying how the game is learned. We will help give you an understanding of what you do and what you need to explore to discover how to take ownership of your own game.” Kendal McWade

Friday, 5 February 2010

Bubba Watson video. Nice house!!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjbKPDWOOzg
Just heard that Tiger may return at Accenture Matchplay in Arizona the week after next. How good would that be to have our leading player back competing. A good week for him to, he's won there 3 times.
Match play is a great game if you are a little rusty. You can get away with more than in stroke play.

Come on Tiger!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Can you spot the major winner? Yes you're right the guy in the yellow. North Region PGA Champion 200? He He

Real skill

The most skillful Dutch golfer ever! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21zBT49Z5nM

How many hours of getting it wrong until you get this. Isn't that just learning? No fear here then.

A must watch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIqVvRh_cEY&feature=grec

Amazing learning. Oh to be young with an imagination thatknows no bounderies

Saturday, 30 January 2010

IGC short game challenge

Just one of the many Instinctive Golf Coaching skill challenges. Be careful they are addictive!

Lee Westwood Academy

Check out www.leewestwoodgolfacademy.co.uk

Nice one Lee. What an opportunity for those who may be arriving at ELITE status a little later than the "wonder kids"

Words of wisdom

"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." Ralph Waldo Emerson

The man who loves his job never works a day in his life." Confucius

My girlfriend always laughs during sex ---no matter what she's reading." Steve Jobs

Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway. ~ Stephen Colbert

Friday, 15 January 2010

Monday, 11 January 2010

Challenge Tour

2nd shot to par 5 12th at Wentworth during 4th round PGA Championship 1999. I've just seen the first 2 events announced for 2010 European Challenge Tour. Columbia and Kenya! What part of Europe? With this weather I'm off. I played my first Challenge Tour event in 1990 in Zimbabwae. Can't wait.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Secret to success

The secret to success? It's simple "Fall down 7 times get up 8 times! "- proverb
Tony Robbins

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Guess the ledgend


Former BBC Tennis and Golf Correspondent looking after a rookie expert summeriser at the World Matchplay a few years ago.
He, not me, is a ledgend in the Broadcasting World
Can you name him?
He did the interview with Cliff Richard on Centre Court at Wimbledon during a rain delay that led to all that singing!!!!!
Check this video out -- Instinctive Golf School http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsGsYtuI2mc

Monday, 4 January 2010

Skills Night!!!!!!

videoHow is it that when the coach arrives everything goes to pot? This shank obviously was my fault for being there!!!! Great fun with some learning every Tuesday night 6.30 at Garstang Golf Centre. We may even explore the deliberate SHANK.