Updated: Jan 17, 2019
One of the areas I’m particularly proud of in my coaching is the achievement in long term development of elite players. Many of these players went from lower levels on to achieve great success on the European Tour. While all these journeys were slightly different there were definite common denominators.
More latterly those common denominators have developed for myself as a coaching system that really works! Not just with elite players but anyone who has the desire to improve!
Last year I labelled this system as
The 5 P’s of Winning Golf
Over the next weeks and months my blog will always relate to one or more of these areas. Of course individually all these nuggets may slightly help, but its my belief that the total sum of a well defined structure is the secret of sustained development.
So what are the 5 P’s of Winning Golf?
Without passion we are dead and quite simply shouldn’t start the journey at all! A healthy dose of passion gives us the intrinsic motivation to take action, ownership and make the sacrifices to succeed.
Those sacrifices may be time, money, relationships but I’ve yet to meet a successful golfer that hasn’t had to make changes to their life in order to succeed.
Of course passion is not just a box that is ticked, it's an ever changing fuel level that coaches and players constantly need to assess and top up!
‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’ - Sir Winston Churchill
Maybe the most important role of the coach is making sure the player is collecting and aware of the right information both playing and practicing and then reflecting correctly.
Time is not limitless so being able to make intelligent decisions that give us our fastest and largest improvement is the key to a successful plan.
This is the sexy part of golf coaching for the player, the actions, mostly technical changes or drills which are needed to progress! This is pretty much the whole of the content of every YouTube video, every poor golf lesson and every piece of advice passed on by amateur experts!
I’m not demeaning drills, swing changes etc etc they are of course vital, but they must fit into the whole plan otherwise they are no more than a "shot in the dark" that may work for some and not others. So it is key that the process has a direction,
in addition a good process must have intensity, focus and the correct style and variety of practice so that skill acquisition is maximised.
European Tour and Challenge Tour player Chris Hanson working on his process.
In my opinion this next stage is the most overlooked part of development in golf, often golfers are practicing in such a manner that only strokes their ego rather than preparing them for the rigours of competitive play! What I’m talking about are elements to practice and development that takes the player out of their comfort zone, just like we feel on the the golf course, so we can fail and then learn from our failures. There are many ways to build this into a development programme but largely we need to find tasks that are challenging, have some context to playing on the course, have variability of the type of shot and spacing between shots that symbolises the rhythm of the game.
Good performance doesn’t just happen, in fact if we only focus on the outcome i.e performance then generally we fall way short of our goals.
Playing better golf is the byproduct of the previous 4 P’s, in addition performance needs to have a healthy amount of preparation in and around the competitive arena. Course management strategies, pre-tournament preparation and of course mental skills during the round can all undo months of good work in development if no attention is paid to them.
Finally once we have a completed our performance, whether good or bad, we must reflect and return to the pr