Playful Learning Part 2 – Teaching vs. Coaching

In the midst of another P.G.A. Merchandise show, I think for those who don’t participate just don’t know what they are missing. I enjoy seeing the new products and gadgets but that is not why I attend. I make the trip to Orlando to network with other professionals and friends in hopes to find a few nuggets or ideas that will help me guide my students when I get back. My students can’t wait for me to get back because I always have some great information and stories to tell that will enhance their golf games. Information is not just going to jump in your lap. It is not going to knock you down and crawl all over you. You must be a seeker and sometimes it takes courage to learn something new because we are all afraid of being wrong. For all you zen lovers, “You must be an empty cup”. I have attended the top 100 Golf Magazine party with my boss for the last 7 years and I always set a goal to meet a new teacher that I admire and be prepared to ask an intelligent question when you get that opportunity, because it could be a small window. This takes courage (and maybe a few glasses of wine,shh!). Your networking moment may happen when you least expect it. Here is a story: Last year an editor friend of mine asked if I would stop by the Cricket of Arms” pub for a pint because he wanted me to meet his good friend, Craig Shankland. For those of you who don’t know Craig, he is a legend in the teaching and playing game. Top 50 teacher and just a great guy.  In the first five minutes he could tell how passionate about coaching that I was and he was gracious enough to share valuable information about his teaching and great stories about his good friend, Moe Norman which was priceless. We talked for about 2 hours over a few pints of Guiness and it  was awesome. I shared with him my goals and this was the two pieces of advice that I received:

1) Keep writing as much as possible because that is what keeps your ideas fresh and your brain thinking and growing.

2)Pay attention: MAKE YOUR PLAYERS MULTI-DIMENTIONAL (He is very old school and teaches many LPGA players). He said that you have to be able to adjust to every lie and can’t fall in love with just one swing plane. He doesn’t use video very much and takes his students out on the course for the majority of the lessons to greater prepare for all of the different shots that make up a round of golf.  (The Ultimate In Coaching)

The time I spent with Mr. Shankland was the highlight of my trip for sure so keep your eyes open for opportunities for learning and growing. I will be forever greatful for the time that he spent with a nobody teacher like me. I hope that someday I can be that person sharing all that I have learned to a young, hungry professional.

To succeed as coaches we must be versitile and know when to teach and when to coach.

Here are some quotes from Tiger Woods. Maybe he needs to reread these to get back to the days when he was free to self-discover.

“My lie dictates the shot I will play”

“I always listen to my body”

“Some days when I warm up I am hitting the ball low, other days I am hitting the ball high. some days the ball is drawing, other days it is fading. i just play what i am doing that day”

“Today when I practice I like to play games-in fact I like to practice more than play on the course. I still try lots of different things, just like I did with my Pop”

“We always practiced together seeing who could make the most 5 foot putts”

“As a child the club and the ball became my playmate”

“Ultimately golf is a journey-full of learning and discovery”

“On normal shots, I swing 75% of my power, on longer shots I swing at 90%. If I go all out, I do not make solid contact-which is most important.”

“There are no shortcuts- golf requires patience and perseverance, with a yearning for learning. Accepting the fact that it is a game of ups and downs and learning every time you play”

“when I play-it is almost as if I get out-of-the-way and just let it happen. I let it happen, I do not make it happen.”

“I won 12 times in the year 2000, including 3 majors and I only remember hitting one shot I would call perfect. It was the 3 wood on #14 in the third round of the British Open at St. Andrews. AS with every shot I attempt, I visualize that ball flight and the shot turned ou exactly s I had planned. Moments like that stay fresh in my mind, providing a positive image for future reference.”

“I will always be respectful and gracious to opponents-but I want to win, to beat you by a lot, to beat you bad.

I look forward to hearing about your P.G.A. Show learning moments. What are you waiting for……GO FOR IT!

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See you on the lesson tee,


4 Comments on “Playful Learning Part 2 – Teaching vs. Coaching”

  1. Jason,

    Great post.

    Good for a nice shot in the arm of enthusiasm. Lots of that going around lately and I just love that.

    Looking forward to the show and meeting so many brilliant pro’s like yourself.



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