Well Intended Over Teaching
We have all been guilty of well-intentioned overteaching at one time or another. Information overload can be a bearer of misery and heartache for teacher and student alike. Over-teaching will bring on poor performance as easily as bad information. So, be aware of your dosage of medicine for the “cure” you are giving your students.
In an effort to zealously help a student, a well-intentioned instructor can easily render a student incapable of advancement or progress. Here is where knowledge must be tempered with wisdom, a combination few really attain. In an effort to hastily move a student forward, a well-meaning instructor keeps feeding nuggets of golf knowledge to a student until they get a golfing “stomach ache” – unable to perform by being so stuffed with information. When you feel this happening, it is time to back off, slow down and perhaps back away. The student and you need a breath of fresh air. I learned this as a player many years ago.
After two years of hard practice and play in south Florida, I realized I didn’t have the “right stuff” to be a professional player, and left the south to return to my home in Chicago. I still loved golf and continued to play as an amateur in the Chicago area.
I eventually hooked up and played regularly with some single-digit handicap players. One day while playing with the boys, I decided to join in the basic daily skins game. On this day I was off to a particularly great start, three birdies after five holes. On about the sixth hole, while waiting to tee it up on a short par-3, one of the regulars asked me if I always had that “little loop” at the top of my backswing. I said WHAT? What loop? I immediately swung to view my backswing, looking for this newly discovered flaw. I soon had to hit and didn’t have anymore time to review my swing. I stepped up and shanked a 7-iron into the water. Wow, where did that come from? My mind was reeling from both a poor shot and my preoccupation with the top of my backswing. And my “well-meaning friend” and newfound coach was chuckling with a satisfied smirk on his face. I was so preoccupied with that thought of my backswing that I short-circuited my ability to perform. With just one thought! And at the time I already had a decent swing.
That day always served as a reminder to me. The fact that only one little thought could corrupt a decent swing, what would many thoughts do to those students at various stages of learning the swing? Cripple them for sure, and render them unable to perform at all.
How easy it is to forget such a simple concept. We too often get so blinded by our wonderful knowledge of the swing that we fail to realize how simple we must keep it for someone learning. Try juggling and talking on the telephone, if you want to experience a beginners lament.
So, when you find the “cure,” don’t overdose your students. Like a good doctor, be careful of the dosage, and stay away from well-intentioned overteaching! There’s also a lesson to be learned here on mental toughness in one’s abilities. Obviously, at the time I was not endowed with any! This is a process that every great player on tour has fought through in order to be successful. Tiger’s father used to inject negative thoughts to his son’s practice sessions in order to strengthen his resolve under pressure. One of Tiger’s strengths has always been the ability to perform well under pressure. This is yet another anecdote to share with your students.