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Will I have one Marshmallow or Two, which one are YOU?

Many of you may have heard of the famous Stanford University marshmallow experiment done in the late 1960’s and early 70’s by Walter Mischel on delayed gratification.

The gist of the experiment was that 3 to 5 year olds were left in a room with a Marshmallow for 15 minutes with no distractions.

They were all told that if they wait until the researcher came back into the room they would get two Marshmallows.

Only about a third waited.

The interesting part is the follow up research years later on all the kids that took part in the experiment.

Those that waited for two generally fared better in life.

 

Ok so how relevant is this to golf?

 

The expectation of instant gratification after a couple of hours coaching is rife in golf.

However the golf industry is to blame for this, we on the inside are to blame.

Golf coaches sell 30 minute lessons.

Golf Club Manufacturers promise you will hit it longer and straighter if you buy their product.

Any golf magazine you open offers a quick tip.

You tube…..don’t even get me started on that!

Golf on Television is filled with commentators filling space overanalysing the golf swings of the best players in the world. Then having quick segments on how they can help you with your slice.

 

All Instant Gratification!

 

However I get it from your point of view, you the golfer. You are confused on why you hit the shots you do. You want clarity.

In times of chaos many of us look for certainty.

Experimental psychologists have shown our quest for certainty ebbs and flows over time and for many is peaked in times of chaos.

So we the golfing industry, we are to blame.

We play on your insecurities and your search for certainty.

We sell you certainty

We have sold you a lie.

 

Instant Gratification.

 

We have sold you a lie that the Golf Industry is completely different from any other walk of life when it comes to long term plans/improvement.

The resulting effect of this environment can be heard from many a weekend warrior.

 

Such as:

Anyone ever heard this from a friend that has had a slice for as long as you have known them?

 

‘I’m going to go and get a golf lesson out and he/she is going to sort my slice out’

 

Let’s reframe this.

 

You have some money to invest.

‘I’m going to go and see my Financial Advisor for an hour and he is going to make me rich’

 

You hire a personal trainer

‘I’m going to go and see my personal trainer for an hour and he is going to sort my beer gut out’

 

You want a promotion and your boss asks you why you merit one

‘I did an hour course last night on….’

 

You get the gist.

 

If the 1 Marshmallow rings true for you what can you do?

 

Treat your golf game like a business, you are the CEO, however you have a board of directors.

When you are thinking about looking for certainty in times of chaos consult your board of directors for advice.

Someone you trust and can talk through the potential courses of actions you are about to take.

The board of directors could be close friends/wife/husband/golf coach etc.

So if you find yourself in a short period of poor form and are thinking about making major changes, such as a swing or equipment change consult your board and then make a business case for these changes.

Justify them.

 

It would be my pleasure to be a member of your board :-).

 

 

 

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100 shooter to 72 in 2 years.

A case study of Jamie Kidd

 

This case study is not a blow smoke up the proverbial of either Jamie or I…..

It is just an honest account of Jamie Kidd and I’s journey together and how Jamie has improved over that time. About 2 years ago Jamie Kidd came to me with his golf in pretty bad shape. Regularly shooting in the low 100’s and generally not enjoying his golf.

Jamie is in his early 30’s, 6ft 2inches with no history of injuries and played multi-sports when growing up. Jamie also has a full-time job.

Jamie came to me with a pretty horrendous slice, especially with the driver, and the quality of strike was pretty poor with all clubs.

First out we did some fairly simple technical interventions to turn the slice into a fade and help Jamie find the middle of the face more often. The first one was to get Jamie turning on the backswing, Jamie had no turn at all on the backswing. Result = downswing that moved much like a cut shot at table tennis or tennis and a ball flight to match!

At that start, Jamie came in every few weeks and we found, together with a simple swing cue that got him turning on the backswing. The cue was turn your back pocket towards the target. We refined this over several months.

To do this however we also had to change Jamie’s posture as the way he setup to the ball was more akin to someone relieving themselves at the toilet. Using analogies again the one that worked the best for Jamie was pretending he was holding something heavy over his toes (I gave Jamie a heavy bag of golf balls to hold). We tried all sorts of analogies such as standing like a goalkeeper (failed miserably as Jamie used to be a Goalkeeper) and this is what resonated the most.

For you Trackman lovers out there Jamie’s path went from about -15 left to about 3/4 left and has pretty much stayed the same since.

In the first few months the slice became more of a fade, Jamie also had homework to do at the range with foot spray and little games to play on gaining awareness of where he hit the ball on the face of the club and club face awareness/control games. I am keen for most players to do this whom I spend time with (gain awareness of strike and club face control), because ultimately it helps you to be able to teach yourself on the golf course, again which I am very keen on.

Once Jamie’s slice turned into something more manageable we spent a lot of time on the golf course together. Coaching Jamie all the various different shots that arise on the golf course and exploring course management and decision making. In the winter months, we just refined Jamie’s skills with various drills on distance control and shot shaping. All the while still using face spray to determine the strike.

What sort of effort has Jamie put in in this time?

Well over the Summer months (4/5 mths in Scotland). Jamie is playing a minimum of 4 times a week and probably closer to 5/6 times a week.

In the winter months, Jamie is at the range 4/5 times a week with about 100 balls per session. When Jamie is hitting balls he is not merely bashing balls, each session has a clear purpose, which we plan together. I would rather Jamie hit 20 balls with intent than 100 balls with no intent.

In between lessons Jamie and I are in regular contact with each other via text.

One of the great things about having a long-term coaching relationship with Jamie is to build a team around Jamie. I am a great believer in if you don’t have an area of expertise, work with someone who has.

I am lucky as I coach beside one of the best club-fitters in the world Scott Gourlay. Scott and I have worked closely together over the two years making sure that Jamie’s clubs suited him as he developed his game.

We have also had a session with a Bio-Mechanist Mark Bull in this period, just to check if Jamie was on the right track and not making any injurious movements. Has it all been a bed of roses?

Well no. Long-term development never is.

Jamie just came back from a 2 week holiday and shot 87.

The first lesson back after the holiday and after the 87, it was easy to see why. Jamie had just fallen back into old habits and was standing at the toilet again. Because we had spent a considerable amount of time with each other the old habit was easy to see and easy to resolve. Sometimes all it takes a familiar set of eyes to nudge you back on to the fairway!

Indeed Pete Cowen, Henrik Stenson’s coach was asked a few years ago on the 10 year anniversary of the two working together what exactly they were working on. To which Mr. Cowen replied, 'Pretty much the same things we were 10 years ago because we all have habits!’

So 3 weeks on from Jamie’s old habit rearing its ugly head, where are we? Jamie just shot his lowest round of 72, which included a hole in one. Jamie is now playing off a handicap of 7, is a regular for the Craigmillar Park gents team, taking a few scalps on the way already (3 handicappers).

As someone that has shared this journey with Jamie, all I can say is how impressed I am at his work rate and drive to get better. How much investment has Jamie put in in the last few years?

Jamie has had over 50 hrs worth of coaching in the last 2 years. With a split of on-course and off course coaching. Swaying now towards far more on-course work.

Jamie Kidd smaller

Here’s Jamie's side:

‘I started my lessons with Pete in June 2015 after spending too many years frustrating myself on the course.

As has already been explained I had a fairly bad slice that I didn't have any idea how to fix, it was really good to find a nice simple analogy with back pocket which would start to address this, every time I set up to a ball then on the course or the range I was reminding myself about the back pocket. As things progressed and we moved on to fixing other parts of my game these 'items to remember' kept coming and my game kept improving- I still think of the throwing a Frisbee action today and we did that one early!

These analogies have really helped and are a great way to remember what we had been working on. I take notes on every lesson we have as a reference, quite handy if things are going wrong to remind yourself.

I have put quite a lot of work in myself in-between lessons, sometimes going to the range on a rainy Tuesday in December when I'm not sure I have the energy, but it keeps the hand in and definitely, has helped, like Pete has mentioned I would always go with a purpose rather than just hitting balls into the distance.

Continuing to play through the winter I also think is a must, not much point in playing decent golf up until October then putting the clubs down until April. Finally whilst I have worked hard myself I've seen such a difference from Pete's lessons, each session I always come away with something positive or something to work on, the games/drills to take away from the lesson have been really helpful in particular.

Pete is always on hand for a quick text conversation in between lessons too and never quite gives you the answer direct, but helps you figure it out for yourself which is a great way to learn.’

Jamie Kidd

You can listen to Jamie and I chat about our journey on a podcast here:

http://golfinthelifeof.com/students-reflection-2-years-coaching/

So now you have heard Jamie’s story.

Hard work + commitment = lower scores.

Are you committed to shooting your lowest ever scores?

If so post below or get in touchwith the phrase to find out more about my winter packages:

I'm really dedicated to being the best I can be next year please put me down as one of your 20 and contact me to confirm.

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The worst golf lessons I have ever given!

I’m going to add a bit of Ying to my Yang.

I’m well aware that some of my previous content has been on the flattering side on the success stories.

So how about a piece on some of the failures?

I’m pretty sure this is the marketing 101 of what not to do.

Anyway here goes.

 

You were always on my mind

The first story that always sticks in my mind is in my first year coaching.

Laura was a relative beginner in her Mid forties and could hit some pretty decent shots that went a good distance.

We had two hours together and it was a beautiful June day.

So straight out to the golf course and we were having a great time exploring all the different shots that emerge on the golf course.

Laura was playing great.

About ¾’s of the way through the lesson I spotted something I didn’t particularly like in Laura’s movement.

Bearing in mind Laura was still hitting the ball great.

In my infinite wisdom I decided to take Laura off the golf course and into our Indoor Studio to work on Laura’s technique for the last ½ hour.

The ½ hour turned into an hour and by the end of the lesson Laura has a serious dose of the shanks!

What did I do?

I tried to change too much and give Laura too many swing thoughts.

I never seen Laura again and I don’t blame her.

 

Reflecting, Laura and I had already worked on a few different shot scenarios on the course.

Today, I’d have asked Laura to schedule another time when she feels ready and do some specific targeted swing work, rather than risk Laura becoming overwhelmed with too much information to sort through.

 

Tired and Weary.

Scott and I had already spent a fair bit of time together and we had been seeing great results in his ball striking and scores were lowering.

It was a Monday evening at 9pm my last lesson of 9 lessons that day.

Scott and I never left until closer to 11pm.

It was an absolute shocker of a lesson. Everything we tried didn’t work.

Eventually I held my hands up and told Scott I had had an absolutely shocker. I needed to go home and reflect the next day over a coffee when I was fresher (I had recorded some of the session). I gave Scott that lesson for free and the next one too (which he kindly refused to accept).

Reflecting, since we’ve worked together for a while, had I not been physically and mentally exhausted, I’d have realised nothing was broken, fixes need not be employed, and it was simply an off night for Scott.

I wen't chasing short term performance (Scott hitting the ball great in that session) to make me feel good about my own coaching/self instead of stepping back and looking at the bigger picture.

Scott's long term development.

From that week on wards I decided to put in more frequent and longer breaks during my day so that I was fresher for our sessions together.

Scott by the way is still coming and improving.

 

Data Led instead of  data informed

Again in my first year, probably even first few months coaching, it was a snowy, crisp winter day so I had setup up our New Trackman Simulator for my first lesson of the day in the indoor studio.

Andy was 12 handicapper that hit the ball pretty good. This was our 3rd or 4th lesson.

Basically what happened was that Andy came in and from the word go Andy was slicing the ball wildly on the simulator. I had never seen Andy slice the ball so badly before.

So I preceded to try and get Andy to stop slicing it getting him to try and hit wild hooks and play with how closed his clubface was.

Nothing worked!

So ½ hr into the lesson I looked at the settings on Trackman.

Shit! I had setup the machine completely wrong, the target was miles off!

When I set it up properly Andy was hitting the ball great with a little fade!

I confessed straight away to Andy!

 

Reflecting, of course knowing Andy's game the way I did, I should have noticed immediately something wasn’t making sense. I became too concerned with outcome and what the data was telling me which blinded me to what was really taking place.

My lesson learned here was that not to rely solely on technology.

When using technology now I don’t let the data lead my decisions on coaching interventions for you, I let the data inform them.

 

So I’m human, I make mistakes.

What I can promise you is I leave no stone unturned trying to help you lower your golf scores.

As a result I spend a lot of time and resources on my education, I am currently just about to finish of a Masters by Research interviewing European Tour players on their experiences playing on tour.

I am on Mark Bull’s coach education programme, Mark is one of the world’s lead biomechanists.

I am also very wary that there is no regulation in the coaching industry so my coaching in live sessions has been assessed by staff over the last few years at Edinburgh University and also by one of the world’s leading coaching scientists and practitioners Ian Renshaw from Queensland University in Australia.

The feedback was 'Have you ever thought of another career?' :-).

If I think of one I’ll let you know, in the meantime I’m here to help you reach your goals. Get in touch.

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Why 30 minute lessons don't work

On a daily basis, sometimes hourly basis I see golfers new to me that are confused and at their wits end with their golf game.

I see so many of you that are confused with all the information that is bombarded at them from magazines/you tube/Facebook/twitter/golf channels/well-meaning friends……

Or just confused trying lots of things on their own swing without any direction.

Does this sound like you?

Well if it does read on, because I’ll tell you a big secret…….

The secret is…..

It is all about RELATIONSHIPS.

It is all about the relationship between me and you, your coach.

You what, has Pete gone insane? I hear you say.

Is Pete about to run off with a cult, picking daisies for the rest of his life?

Bear with me.

It’s all about our Relationship.

Why?

Because the more I know about you, the more we can find something that clicks for you.

What do I mean by this?

Let me tell you a story from a recent lesson that is fresh in my mind.

Fraser is a 10 handicapper 55 year former Ski Instructor, which has been his prominent sport for over 40 years.

Guess what Fraser’s posture looked like?

You’ve guessed it. Like he was skiing!

Guess what Fraser’s golf swing looked like?

You’ve guessed it again!

His body, particularly his lower half and hips/pelvis moved like he was skiing. It moved from side to side effecting his ball striking.

So how did we go about changing this well learnt habit?

By learning more about Fraser.

By asking a ton of questions before Fraser had actually hit a golf ball in front of me. I found out that Fraser had and still does go to the gym and does free weights.

So to refine Fraser’s posture I gave him a golf shaft and asked him to hold it over his toes like he would in a squat.

This instantly cleaned up Fraser’s posture.

Next on this list was how Fraser moved his hips, after finding out that Fraser was a big Elvis fan.

I asked Fraser to move in the signature Elvis move without a golf club in his hand, however in his new posture. Instantly his right hip/pelvis moved back and up (what I was looking for).

So two fairly simple cues from the lesson that had Fraser striking the ball a lot better.
Fraser’s words were ‘I feel far more stable’.

So back to my title ‘Why 30 minute golf lessons don’t work’

Why they don’t work is because for me to deliver my message in a simple to understand format.

I need to understand you.

I need to have a relationship with you.

I need to find out what floats your boat, your movement history, your hobbies, your work, your family…

The more time I spend with you, and get to know you, the simpler and easier it is for me to help you.

In the example above Fraser and I spent 2hrs together and he didn’t hit balls until near the 40 minute mark. I didn’t offer any advice until the 60/70 minute mark.

And this one of the main reasons why magazines/you tube/Facebook/twitter/golf channels/well-meaning friends rarely work.

The information is generally pretty good however is this ever delivered in a format that rings true with you?

Or is relevant for you?

How much time do you waste trying these tips that a rarely relevant to what you need?

One thing I continually hear is I wish I had got professional help sooner.

Save yourself some time filtering through all this information and come in and see me.

Let me get to know you and your game and we'll speed up the process of you shooting lower scores & enjoying golf a little more.

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Hello Mr Magpie

Every Wednesday it is Daddy day care and I have the kids until 1pm until I go to work, dropping them off at nursery on the way.

Generally we play games and just horse about in the morning, last Wednesday morning was not dissimilar, a nice summer’s day so we spent most of the day in the garden on the trampoline.

Now recently we have been getting quite a few visitors to our garden as we have put up quite a bit of bird seed round the garden fences.

This has been catching the attention of quite a few magpies.

Anyway after a morning playing in the garden we wander into the kitchen to find a Magpie stuck in our kitchen.

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08 December 2017
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