At Johnny Foster Golf we work with a range of golfers, from promising juniors to tour players and I always find it so important to bring the two together, to let the juniors learn from the pro players and sometimes the other way around. I hope this article helps you see why.
People and Influence
My first five years of coaching and learning was a subtle revelation for me as a High Performance coach. At first hand I’ve witnessed the power and influence an athlete’s surroundings play on their progress. Initially, I was only marginally aware of how the most successful young players like Rory McIlroy would play practice rounds with Clarke and Westwood, but the more I began to immerse myself in elite sport, the more examples I saw of the best performers (and their coaches) skilfully engineering their environments to enhance their learning. And it’s a design feature I very much use to inspire and educate my students.
Just as European Tour players take time to share with Challenge Tour players, we often invite Tour players to to attend sessions where the younger generation can pick their brain, watch them hit shots and be inspired by their trophies.
There is a real value in this ‘sharing’. I see it at Tour events between past winners and the younger generation, I find it fascinating to watch the entirely non-technical element of coaching, the role of a previously successful player guide and ‘mentor’ another one at the beginning of his own journey.
I read once that a coach is an ‘environmentalist’. Initially, I had no clue what that meant. I thought a coach ‘fixed problems’ or ‘dispensed relevant information’, but I now know an important part of any coaching role is to design the conditions for the learning to happen and the talent to thrive.
I’ve watched it bloom before my very eyes with all the top juniors at Johnny Foster Golf. Of course, I understand the need for constant education and accumulated technical knowledge. But it has proven itself over the last few years how important the surroundings of any athlete are i.e. family, role models, training partners, where they live, schools etc.
Now, it’s always a judgement call, but I’m acquiring the wisdom slowly of what I can and can’t affect in regard to these external factors, but Chris and I always try our upmost to expose the students to those who are the best influences. That can be Tour pros, other coaches, psychologists, supportive parents, high performance experts and strength & conditioning experts….anyone who sets a good example and positively influences the situation.
So, if you’re a coach looking for some new ideas, consider bringing someone in to chat to your students, just to be around them and leave a lasting memory. The better the person, the bigger the impact. Or even, spend some time around other ambitious coaches.
I can honestly say a lot of my most valuable lessons haven’t come from CPDs or books, but in conversations with other more experienced teachers. And if you’re an aspiring player, take a look at the people who you spend most time with and ask yourself ‘how do they shape my life?’ Or look at your role models and ask ‘why do I look up to them?’ The answers may surprise you. Are you surrounding yourself with negative or positive values?
Thanks for reading…