THE SECRET…. "I practice to get the feel" Jack Nicklaus Therein lies the secret. For the last few weeks I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with over 80 young golfers aged 7 - 13. As we have progressed in golf learning it is wonderful to see how these youngsters learn how to learn. One of the most meaningful questions I ask students (because of their answers) is “how did you do that?” Rather than offering a tip when a student is topping or swinging over the ball, I ask them to try to feel a swing that allows them to hit the bottom half of the ball. Often they do just that.
The instincts of the student are often more valuable than the information I might give them. Fred Shoemaker, author of "Extraordinary Golf" and "Extraordinary Putting" and one of the most enlightened golf coaches in the country has said “the genius is in the student.” Often golf instructors or parents do their best to nurture budding golfers with helpful tips, often filling the mind of the pupil with lots of ideas. The student grows faster if they discover and "own" the feel of the golf swing. Certainly, if a golfer is spinning around or falling over it may be helpful to introduce concepts of balance and the final destination of the swing, but few things are more valuable than letting the developing golfer explore and develop their own feel for the enjoyable motion of the golf swing. Spouses, dads and moms, let the developing golfer in your life be influenced more by their own exploration of the moment of the swing than your well intentioned "tips." You may be amazed at the genius that already resides in them! Incremental learning, the process of learning through experience, will accelerate the learning process and encourage confidence and self development in golf and life.
For a wonderful expression of this principle, read the 3rd chapter of Josh Waitzkin’s book "The Art of Learning." The movie, "Looking for Bobbie Fisher" was about Waitzkin and his book has a lot to say about learning. Happy Golfing to you all……