NO QUICK FIX: The Whole package
I teach skiing. I take golf lessons. I am older than dirt and have been in the industry for 50 years. A word to the younger set: As we of the older set get older, we don’t get grumpy. This may come as a shock to some who think, “Man, you-all are getting old and grumpy.”
Yes, we are getting old, as you will, but grumpy is not where we are at. We know we are running out of time, so we want to get on with things and have no patience for people who don’t deliver what they are supposed to deliver when they say they are going to deliver it. This can be as simple as placing an order for food in the clubhouse and watching others who arrived after you, getting served and you do not. It can also mean the consideration you give to the local golf pro’s advertisement: “Sign up now and in two easy lessons I will have you golfing in the 70s!” Being active in the sports-teaching field, you know this is not going to happen. You want to have a word with the golf teacher, but you resist spoiling your day and go hit balls.
One of my brothers-in-law (I have six sisters, so I have quite a few of these) was a chiropractor. I didn’t really appreciate his profession until he explained that he and others like him were not run-of-the-mill practitioners. Many in the profession have a number of rooms in their offices and seem to have four patients on the go at one time. Zip in, crack the back, zip out,
ask for payment. My brother-in-law would not treat a person’s symptoms in isolation. He took a completely holistic approach to his treatments and would not treat anyone without knowing how the person lived, how they ate, what kind of job they did, what kind of exercise they did, their sleeping habits, driving habits, medications – the whole package.
One of the skiing options at our local resort is crosscountry, or Nordic, skiing. We happen to live in an area of abundant snow, mild winter temperatures, and plenty of dry snow. Our trail system starts and finishes
at the doorstep of our homes or the resort hotels, and has over a hundred miles of perfectly groomed tracks. We have a number of programs for teaching folks. The least effective is the one- or two-hour private or class lesson. The most effective are a series of lessons over a longer period of time.
Skiers on a weeklong holiday can enjoy the supervised skiing that happens in a lesson, and they can be guided through a great outing. Will they improve their skiing a lot? Not likely. The local skiers who sign up for a lesson a week over a 10-week period have a much better chance of improving, and as they get some miles under their skis, they get better faster.
Here is where “The Whole Package” comes in, and I know this applies to golf and becoming a better golfer. To be a good Nordic skier, a person has to develop the skill of being able to balance on one gliding ski at a time. (Does stance and balance sound familiar?) Secondly, the Nordic skier has to have a strong upper body so that when they kick with their leg to propel themselves forward, they have to push with their arm/ pole on the opposite side to alance the strength of the kick. To see good Nordic skiers propelling themselves along a track in balance and moving at a good clip is a thing of beauty. To compare this to golf, it would be like watching a person take an easy swing, strike the ball well, and finish in a balanced position looking like they had put little to no effort into the swing.
Sadly, there is one thing missing from “The Whole Package.” In the case of Nordic skiers, most arrive at the resort with strong legs but weak arms. Daily life can give you relatively strong legs, but without exercise, the arms don’t get a workout. Expecting a skier to improve with one lesson, or even a few lessons in a week, won’t happen. The skier has to simply put in time and effort to become better fit to experience skiing better.
Golfers don’t have to propel themselves up hills and along ski tracks. However, they do have to make an athletic move or moves to hit a golf ball, and they have to be in balance. How many would improve if they were better fit? How many would improve quickly if they practiced between rounds or spent some time practicing and exercising instead of only playing?
Take it from the old lads and lassies. There is no quick fix, no magic move to improve a golf game overnight. Work on “The Whole Package” with your students. They will thank you for it.