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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.

Not going to lie, not sure who soiled themselves first the magpie or me.

I ushered the kids out of the kitchen.

Then googled

‘How do you get a magpie out of your kitchen?’

So it transpires you close all avenues of freedom except one and give the magpie one exit with a clear light source.

I shut all doors and left the kitchen window open.

The magpie after a while tried to escape via the window, however the space was not big enough.

No joy.

Back to the drawing board.

I shut the window, opened the French doors and got the tarpaulin cover from the barbeque and covered the kitchen window with it, so that it only had one light source.

Easy peasy….

Well maybe not..

I also had two very curious kids Johan (4) & Juliet (3) dead set on seeing the magpie in the kitchen.

Every time the magpie got near the French doors, the kids scared him back into the kitchen!

Eventually we had to play a game, all go to the other side of the garden and see how long we could be quiet for!

10 minutes later Mr Magpie flew out the doors.

What relevance does this have to your golf?

Quite a lot actually.

If you could imagine you are the magpie when it comes to taking a golf lesson.

You are stuck in cycle of non-improvement, sometimes feeling like your golf is going backwards.

You are stuck in the kitchen with no light to guide you.

Well a good coach will show you the window or door to improvement, however sometimes the window won’t suit you.

So the coach will have to try and show you another door or window.

A good coach will show you the door and give you space to walk through it.

When I first started coaching I wouldn’t let the golfers breathe or give them space to find their own way after a small piece of advice or practice environment I had set up.

I would step in immediately with more advice or quickly change the rules of the game, consequently confusing the golfer.

Much like my eager kids scaring the magpie back into the kitchen.

I wouldn’t let them fly through the door on their own.

When I stepped back, offering occasional advice or feedback when I felt it may add something, the golfers I spent time with started improving a lot faster.


Because they owned the change. They flew through the door themselves sometimes with a little guidance, sometimes not.

They weren’t carried through the door or scared back into the kitchen.

So why this approach?

Well research suggest that if you figure things out for yourself you enjoy it more, you are more engaged in the learning process, you spend more time in that environment because you enjoy it.

Think of any games/sports that you have played before that you have been completely immersed in, how much guidance did you have?

Did you have a coach breathing down your neck?

Also the research suggests that if you figure it out for yourself then you are far less likely to choke (fail) under pressure because you do not have a complex set of rules to follow to find your door, because you figured it, in the main, by yourself.

A practical example.

Harry a young junior, new to the game, came for a lesson and said he scored an 11 and a 9 at two holes in a competition the previous day.

We went to the hole where he scored 11 and he relayed how he had got stuck behind a tree and hit the tree several times.

I asked Harry to play the same shot he played the day before.

Sure enough he hit the tree again.

Then I asked.

‘I want you to play this shot in 5 different ways? Any way you like, it just has to be a different approach each time.’

Harry played 5 different clubs and figured out that his 5 iron was the best to get under the tree and up the fairway.

Then we explored what else we could do with the 5 iron showing him a few other doors to fly through, then stepping back to the edge of the garden to let him fly.

magpie flying2

My advice, if you are looking for a coach, find one that will show you a few windows and doors to fly through whilst giving you the space to do it.

Because if she/he constantly carries you through the door you’ll struggle to fly on your own.


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