Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Do Coaches Talk to Much?

As a golf coach who is always interested in developing my understanding of the swing and coaching techniques I am always researching and developing new ways to do the things that I do during a golf coaching session. This curiosity is what led me to undertake my post graduate university studies and is what drives me to continue to learn and develop as a coach.
One thing that I have always believed as a coach is communication is extremely important part of the coaching process. There is no point having lots of knowledge about the golf swing and coaching if you can’t get that information across to your student. How we communicate in a golf lesson can make a lesson great or awful.

One of my faults as a coach when I first started giving lessons was giving too much information during a lesson. I would feel like I had to talk for the entire time to give my student “value for money”. This led to a lot of students becoming overwhelmed during my lessons and leaving more confused.

After spending time watching other coaches give lessons and reading more about communication I started to realise that a golfer can’t take on very much new information at any one time. I started to reduce the amount of new changes I gave to a student and I started to see their ball flight improve during the lesson. I would give two or three points only per lesson and I had a lot happier customers.

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time on the Ted website watching some amazing videos. If you haven’t checked out this site, I would encourage you to take a look by clicking here. On this site, I came across the video below. Take a few minutes and watch it.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Accountability

I posted in my last entry about starting my PhD and I have posted on my Facebook page and Twitter account about this same topic. The idea I had behind this was the fact that the more places I told people about my goal, they more likely I was to be accountable to myself in achieving this goal. It also got me thinking about accountability and how I could use it in my coaching and how my students could use it in their practice and their game.

As a coach, I have always prided myself on being accountable for my actions, doing what I said I was going to do and helping my students improve their skills in the best manner possible. That being said, there have been times that I have not followed through on promises and I am always trying to improve my skills in this area. As a coach, you should have systems in place that allow you to connect with your students regularly so show your commitment to them and to help them achieve success.

It is also important that your students are accountable for their own improvement and that they understand their role in their golf game. I have had students in the past that have blamed me completely for their lack of progress and not taken any responsibility for their own practice and improvement. Obviously, it is a team effort and both player and coach play a role in achieving the best possible outcomes.

So this leads to the question; how do we become more accountable?

From a coaching perspective, I think it is quite a simple task to be accountable to your students. The following points outline some strategies you can use as a coach.

  • Be available: Be available to talk with your students to reinforce the message you are trying to get across. The more often they hear you communicate the things you want them to do the more chance you have of having them do it.
  • Have systems: Setting up communication systems that send out emails, SMS's etc are a great way to show your students that you are there for them and want them to come back and improve.
  • Give 100%: I know this sounds obvious but it is important that you give each of your students the best possible lesson every time they step onto your coaching tee. "Going through the motions" during a lesson is unprofessional and will not help your students improve
These are just a few simple ideas for coaches and I would love to hear your ideas in the comments.

For golfers to be accountable they need to be aware of their role in the improvement process from the start. I think it is important that they are aware that they need to practice the skills taught during the lesson and provide feedback to the coach on what is working and what is not working in their game. If you make these points clear early in the coaching relationship you will have a better chance of success.

Here are a few ideas for golfers to help them be more accountable.
  • Keep a practice log: Recording how much and what type of practice you complete each week is a great way to monitor your training and make yourself more accountable. If you need to send your report to your coach or report on it during your next lesson you are much more likely to complete some proper practice between coaching sessions. You can find an example of a practice log I use with my students by clicking here.
  • Follow instructions: If your coach asks you to practice a drill a certain number of times a day or hit a certain number of balls before your next lesson, make sure you do it! Coaches prescribe practice for a reason and that reason is to help you improve.
  • Report in: Chat with your coach. Give them a call or send them an email letting them know how your training is going. I love hearing from my students and it helps keep us both motivated to improve.
These are just a few simple ideas and I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.

Until next time,

Brent

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Brent Davis Update

Seeing as it has been such a long time since I have posted on this blog I thought I would spend a little time updating you all on what is happening in my career since the last time I was active on this blog.
Basically, I have been working for the PGA of Australia in the Academy department working across all the education programs the PGA offers. I have been involved in the Trainee program, the ACE program (full Member continuing education) and the Community Instructor program which is a joint venture between the PGA of Australia and Golf Australia. I help develop content for these programs, present at face to face training schools for the Trainees, assist with compliance and administration on the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and maintain and administrate the PGA’s online learning platform. This has been a bit of a change to my normal working day as I spend a lot more time at a desk working on a computer these days!

I am also coaching on a part-time basis out of the PGA Centre for Learning and Performance based at the Sandhurst Golf Club in the South-Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. This is a state of the art facility with access to some of the latest coaching technology such as Trackman, SAM PuttLab, SAM BalanceLab and K-Vest. You can look at some pictures of the facility and read about the technology available by going to my website here.

As well as working in these two roles I will be attempting to expand on my tertiary qualifications by starting a PhD. This will be a little bit of an unusual pathway as my Masters was completed by coursework rather than research. This means that I have to enrol in a Masters research program and hopefully transfer to the PhD program at a later date. I am interested in researching the influence that playing ability in a sport has on the coaching ability in that sport and I think my study will take me down some interesting paths. I am also keen to research coach education as this will help me improve the programs within the PGA.

Social media is also a lot bigger since I last posted and you can follow/like my profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by clicking on the links.

Well, that about does it for my update and I am looking forward to posting more interesting content on a regular basis.

Until next time,

Brent

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I'm Back!......... For Real This Time.

You can see by the dates on my blog posts that I have not been posting regularly. This is due to a number of things, but mostly the fact that I have been lazy about posting.

As part of the new year and a few other changes to my career and life, you will see me posting on here a lot more often.

Take a read of my past posts about my time in Taiwan and China and keep and eye out for new posts coming the next day or two.

Until next time,

Brent


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back On Track

As you may have noticed I have been very slack in posting here in the last couple of years. This is just a quick post to let you know that I am back and will be posting on a much more regular basis from now on.

Keep your eyes open for new posts coming shortly.


Until next time,

Brent

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Quickest Way to Lower Scores


We all want to improve our golf scores but we are all very busy and don’t have a lot of time to practice so this month I want to let you know the fastest way to improve your scores. Practice your short game! Most of the shots we play are either chips, pitches, bunker shots or putts. The better you get at these types of shots, the lower your scores will become.

It is part of the game that many players don’t practice enough but it is much easier to find 30 minutes to drop into Burnley for some chipping and putting practice than it is to find time to hit balls at the driving range or play nine or eighteen holes on the course. We have a perfect little practice area for your use at Burnley and I don’t see nearly enough golfers using it to improve their short game.

You need to ensure you practice properly when you are practicing your short game. It is very easy to just drop all your practice balls in the one spot and hit the same chip, pitch, bunker shot or putt over and over again. This is not a very good way to improve your short game skills. When you are on the course, you only get one chance to hit each shot. If you mess it up, you have to go and play it from where it went. Hitting the same shot over and over in practice does not simulate on course play. You need to only take a few balls to the short game practice area and play lots of different shots and never play from the same place twice. This will make your practice more like playing on the course and improve your ability to play the shot under the pressure of being on the course.

A simple way to make your practice like your on course play is to build some pressure into your drills. Some simple ideas are to play closest to the hole with a friend (you can have a friendly wager), chip and putt out every shot until you get in the hole and keep score (you can then try and beat your score), try and chip 3 shots in a row closer then 3ft (punish yourself with sit ups if you fail) or complete a series of skill tests and try and improve your scores over time. You can find some great short game and putting skills tests under the newsletter archive tab of my website at www.brentdavisgolf.com. If you complete these tests and email me your scores (bdavis@pgamember.org.au) I will calculate your short game handicap so you can try and improve it.

Remember, the fastest way to lower scores is to have a good short game.

Until next time,

Brent

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Winter Golf Tips


Winter is well and truly here and if you are playing golf in Melbourne at the moment you are certainly facing the challenges of winter golf. Most courses at the moment are wet and the temperatures around the city have been chilly to say the least. These types of conditions pose certain types of challenges to golfers and golfers need to be able to adjust and adapt their golf game to ensure they still play good golf during the winter months. Below I will outline some basic strategies that you can use to help with the challenges of playing golf in the colder months.

         Staying warm and dry: This is arguably the most important piece of the winter golf puzzle. If you are not comfortable when you are playing the game you are going to struggle to score well. Making sure you are dry and warm and still able to swing freely is extremely important. I would suggest you invest in some high quality, golf specific, wet weather clothing. Wet weather golf clothing has the benefit of keeping you warm and dry as well as being light enough and with a large enough cut to not restrict your golf swing. Being rugged up like the picture may keep you warm but you will struggle to swing the club effectively. Investing in good quality, golf specific, winter clothes will help your game.

      The golf ball doesn’t go as far: Unfortunately, when the air is cold and the golf ball is cold, the golf ball does not fly as far as it would in warmer conditions. You need to take this into consideration when you are choosing your club on the course. The majority of golfers under club on the golf course normally and in the colder months, this problem is magnified. Make sure you choose enough club when approaching the green to get you to the flag at least. The ground is soft so the ball won’t roll as far as usual and the cold air reducing the carry on all shots. Make sure you get the ball to the hole.

      Grip and traction is important: Being able to keep your balance and hold on to the club securely while swinging is very important in winter golf. Make sure your golf spikes are new and clean when you are playing in the wet. Slipping while you are swinging makes it impossible to hit good golf shots so make sure you replace your spikes regularly and keep them clean with a tee during the round. Good quality, good condition and dry grips are also important for good golf. The grip is your only contact with the club so you need to make sure it is good quality contact. Replace and clean your grips often and make sure they are dry when you are playing. Having a dry towel is critical for wet weather golf so make sure you keep it dry under your umbrella or under the hood of your bag. It is also a good idea to carry a couple of spares in case one gets too wet.


These are some basic tips and ideas for playing your best golf during the winter months. If you have any specific questions or problems please feel free to comment and I will answer them as best I can.

Until next time,

Brent