12/11/2011 2:34 PM
Another speaker at the teaching conference in Dallas was Rick Jensen, a sport psychologist `who works with 50 top tour players, who have combined won 33 majors. His opening statement was a bombshell. Addressing many of the world’s finest teachers he started with `The business you all are in, golf instruction, is BROKEN’.
There was a moment of silence, with these top 100 instructors turning and looking at each other, not quite knowing how to take the comment.
Jensen went on, `You give someone a great lesson, analyzing perfectly what they need, and showing them ways to do it. Then you say goodbye, and might not see them for months. They come back no better, because they missed a step. That step is practice.’
He went on to blast the sport psychologists, basically saying that the greatest mental game in the world is useless if you can’t hit the shots. Some of his other comments:
· `95% of those who come to see me are not mental, they are just not prepared. Only 5% of my work is psychology based’
· The swing is only a part of the process of playing better. Learning to control the flight of the ball, good decision making, and self management are just as important.
· Where lessons don’t work, coaching does.
· If I were to offer you in this room $10,000 to improve a student by 4 shots, what would you do? Would you give that person a bunch of swing lessons, or would you teach them how to practice their short game?
· There are four steps to mastery: 1) Understanding cause and effect (your CPGA professional can help here), 2) Supervised Practice (under your professionals watchful eye. This can be in a group setting), 3) Transfer Training (example: count out ten balls at the end of a driving practice session. Pick a target fairway on the range. Challenge yourself to hit the fairway six times out of ten. This puts pressure on your practice session, simulating the real thing), 4) Playing the course.
It was a presentation that changed the way I structured my training, I sincerely hope this approach to teaching the game catches on, because the average handicap of golfers has not gone down in the past twenty years in North America.
For more information on Rick Jensen, check out www.drrickjensen.com, or get his book Easier Said Than Done.