How to Teach Technique

Iain Highfield
  • Author: Iain Highfield
  • Director
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Cartoon funny golf range

Our company name is Game Like Training (GLT) for a reason. It isn’t because we think that working on the mechanics of a golf swing is unimportant. It isn’t because we think athletes should not be in the gym, and it certainly isn’t because we just want to have fun and play games with our students. We are Game Like Training because we understand the roles that variability and challenge play in the learning process.

Here at GLT, we believe that Game Like Training closes the gap in golf between practice and performance. It accelerates the student’s ability to learn by recreating and simulating tournament pressures. The Game Like Training way is simply creating the very experiences that the brain can refer to during the final stretch of a competitive round - a time when external pressures can begin to make the grip tighter, the palms sweatier and the heart beat faster.

 

We believe that engaging in challenging games with varying levels will help athletes implicitly learn to deal with the perception of pressure; therefore, techniques will hold up better in a real under-pressure setting. Isn’t that the contradiction at the very heart of how so many coaches currently develop their students?

 

Our rationale for this takes us back to the plastic environment of the golf range. If we spend hours on the range raking and hitting balls off a flat lie with no target, we will become an expert at raking and hitting balls off a flat lie with no target. What we will never become is an expert in adapting our swing to the variability of tournament play; this is an essential quality that requires a more creative and contextual coaching environment.

 

We have concluded that any separation of the technical, physical and mental aspects of golf will be artificial and, therefore, ineffective.

 

How do we coach technique, you ask? Simple. We make it “Game Like.”

The current golf coaching model is 100% correct in its attempts to make players technically sound. The conflict arises in the way many coaches attempt to do this.

You can't groove a swing ready for competitive play solely through repetition. Repeating varying training tasks is a vital part of technical development as they encourage cognitive stress by forcing the brain to engage in the moment and recall previous repetitions. Players need to forget to remember, so when we are coaching technique or a swing change, the student’s session may look like this:

  • 2 minutes of correctional exercises
  • 3 x K vest reps with bio feedback – if auditory feedback not achieved, complete 10 push ups and reset
  • 3 x slow motion swings
  • 3 x K vest reps with bio feedback – if auditory feedback not achieved, complete 10 push ups and reset
  • 3 x 50% speed swing with ball
  • hit 1 full shot at a speed you are confident you can achieve desired mechanical change on video with track man – If not achieved, hill runs.
  • Make a basic up and down to restart circuit.
Can of leaking water

Players and coaches that have engaged with and understand the GLT way do teach “technique,” but do so in a challenging, variable and game like manor, as shown above. GLT coaches know that this will induce a deeper type of learning and lead to learned behaviors (improved swing mechanics) being retained by the athlete. These behaviors will eventually transfer into tournament play, as psychosocial processes have been evolved in conjunction with the new movement pattern.

 

Above is just one example, but we have used the GLT philosophy with many other training aids in differently formatted circuits. Please feel free to contact us for more details on this.

 

“That swing will never hold up under pressure,” said not one member of team GLT. Ever.

 

“Coach I’m off to hit 1000 balls to fix my swing,” said not one player who is trained the GLT way.

 

For more information on the technique of changing technique, drop us an e mail.