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

2-marshmallows

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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The worst golf lessons I have ever given!

quotes-The-worst-golf-less_20180105-102720_1

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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The best golf lesson we have ever had

quotes-The-best-golf-lesson

 

Arveen, a young lawyer, has just had the best golf lesson he has ever had.

Arveen and I over the last few months have been experiencing the honeymoon period. Everything we have done together has worked. Arveen has been hitting the ball longer, straighter & scores have lowered.

However after a two week holiday with no golf we have hit a speed bump.

Arveen has developed the shanks!

Arveen started the lesson shanking the ball and spent most of the hour shanking it (a particularly nasty golf shot that hits the hosel of the golf club and goes sideways right!).

 

Shank

 

To me golf is a game, with puzzles and we had a puzzle to solve in our hour together.

If you are not already aware I like you the golfer to be able to solve the puzzles by yourself.

So my first question in this session was:

Me - Where are you hitting it on the club face?

Arveen - No idea

I promptly hand Arveen Athletes foot powder, ask him to spray the face and then figure out where he is hitting it on the clubface.

After a few shots.

Arveen - Out the hosel.

Me - Ok how are you going to solve this problem?

So for duration of the lesson I let Arveen struggle to solve the problem in front of him.

I asked him 5 minutes in.

Me - Why I am I not telling you how to solve this problem

Arveen - I'm not sure

Me - If I tell you what to do if this happens say when you are playing golf will you have the skill set to solve this problem?

Arveen - Probably not no.

Me – Therefore we need to develop your skill set so you can?

Arveen – Absolutely

 

“In sterquiliniis invenitur”—in filth it will be found.

What you need most is always to be found where you least wish to look.

 

Occassionaly throughout the lesson I would probe Arveen with questions, such as:

  1. In the last three months what feels in your swing have worked for you and why?
  1. Let’s experiment. I want to you to play about with these swing feels…
  1. Exaggerate that feel. Ok where did you hit that one on the club face?

 

Near the end of the lesson Arveen figured out how to hit the middle of the club face again pretty much by himself. Arveen now has the beginnings of a skill set to coach himself.

Arveen then asked an interesting question at the end of the lesson.

Arveen - Is this normal?

Me – Is what normal?

Arveen – hitting the ball so poorly after a period of success. I feel like I have gone backwards.

Me – Ha ha, yes completely normal and everyone experiences regression when trying to improve, this is the best lesson we have ever had!

Arveen – Really….How come? (Looking rather perplexed)

Me – Think about your career as a Lawyer, have you learnt more from your successes or failures? I bet you have walked away from some day’s/weeks feeling like you are the worst lawyer in the world? Learn much from those days/weeks?

Arveen – Sure loads.

Me – Well today one was of those days. Improvement in performance is not a straight line up wards. It’s full of peaks and troughs. Today we hit a trough, and you figured out how to deal with that trough. Well done.

 nonlinear performance graphCourtesy of Oliver Morton

 

Here’s the dilemma, I could have told Arveen exactly what to do and his shank would have been cleared in 5 minutes.

If I had what would have Arveen learnt?

 

 

Here’s what Arveen had to say:

 ‘Even after a terrible performance for 90% of my lesson with Pete, in a strange way I feel more comfortable going onto the course after the lesson. Not on the basis that I will necessarily play well every time, but that I will be able to make the necessary adjustments on my own to help and get me round if it does all go wrong again. Indeed the first game after we had a lesson, I started the first few holes off poorly, however managed to sort my game out and played great for the rest of the round’

Arveen

 

Arveen

 

I'm interested to hear your thoughts, do you think I should of told Arveen what to do straight away?

If so why?

 

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Hello Mr Magpie

magpie-2

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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Jack of no golf courses, master of one.

jack-of-no-golf-courses

I have become an over specialist in golf.

This really hit home a few years ago, with the limited time I do get to play golf, most of it is a few holes here and there where I give golf lessons in Edinburgh, Craigmillar Park Golf Club.

A few years ago I had a few coaching clients that liked to play me for a few shekels (they owned their own respected companies, so essentially it was my services against theirs up for grabs), their better ball against my score.

Anyway the first outing they beat me on the last, ever the professional I finished the round and gave them a quick recap of their lesson. However inside I was not a happy bunny, giving my services away for free.

Come the next outing, well I was well up for it.

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Craigmillar Park Golf Club, 1 Observatory Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3HG

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