Ingredients of a Successful Golf Coach
There is more than one definition of being successful at coaching golf. Certainly, one definition would be winning all of your matches as well as the championship you have been striving for. I have been at both ends of that. Sometimes, you don’t win nearly as many matches as you wanted, or even come close to the championship that you were striving for. Coaching competitive golfers is not always about winning and losing.
Another definition of successful would be making the players better people. Did you lead by example? Did they leave you better people than when they came to you? You can use golf for that, you know. If you are a high school golf coach, you know the season isn’t very long. It seems like it is over before you know it. However, it pays to spend some time getting to know your players at the first of the season.
Sometimes, there are rainy days. Don’t always tell them to go home because it is raining. How are you going to help them if you don’t know what their needs are? I am not talking about their swing mechanics, either, although you have to know about that, too.
You have to figure out what motivates that particular person. We all know you have to have confidence in yourself to play this game. Whatever you have to do to give them the confidence in what they are doing, you have to do it. It may be different for each one. For example, I had a girl on my team that was very hard on herself. I instilled in her that the nicer you are to yourself, the better you will play.
I got her a book for her graduation present as she was a senior. The name of the book was Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible, by Fred Shoemaker. The book is all about having fun when you play.
The more fun you have when you play, the better you will play. It is also about what an opportunity it is to be able to play “the greatest game ever played.” It is the only book I recommend to my students. She very much appreciated it! She played better the rest of the year after that.
There are many principles that you have to instill in them to become better players and also better people. The most important thing may be responsibility. If you can drill that in them, a lot of other things may fall into place. I am not talking about just keeping up with their equipment; I am talking about being responsible for practicing. The parents are not responsible for the player’s practice.
The coach is not responsible for the player’s practice. The player is responsible for his or her own practice. If you can instill the Nine Core Values of The First Tee Program in your players, they will definitely become better people and better players. That would be Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Courtesy, Confidence, Respect, Responsibility, Judgment, and Perseverance.