It wasn’t that long that I was completely over golf coaching. I had spent years and thousands of dollars getting my swing tweaked and prodded and messing about trying to work this game out. I reached the point when I realised the standard coaching hadn’t really helped me and if anything, hindered my development. I quit all formal coaching and chose to fly solo.

Since writing about learning and performance I’ve been lucky to run into some great people. There are lots of regulars who contribute to the weekly blog posts, leave feedback and tell me how they’re going. Each one of their (your) comments enhances the blog and my learning. For that I’m thankful. I’ve realised that I need to seek out others to aide my learning and make sure I keep on the right track. It’s a long and lonely road if you try and do everything by yourself.

Scott Barrow is another guy that has helped me more than he’ll know. He’s a genius when it comes to coaching and I’m lucky to have regular discussions about all things under the coaching/performance/learning banner. I’ve spoken about Scott before and he was a vital part of the Automatic Golf Seminar, but I’d like to share another encounter from this week.

We were chatting away about some random issues when he asked how the golf was going:

Me: Not bad. I have been playing OK but lost in the final of the Club Championships.

Scott: What happened?

Me: I got off to a bad start in the morning round, but then things clicked and I was playing great. I went from four down to 2up and was looking good. I felt in control and was so confident that I can remember saying to myself, “I can’t believe I’m playing so well”.

Scott: That’s where you went wrong.

Me: Whaddya mean?

Scott: Well, when you’re playing in the zone and performing well, all you’re doing is playing the game. You’re not getting too emotional about the good and the bad. You’re just playing and not thinking. What happened after you started thinking that?

Me: I stuffed up the 17th and 18th holes from nowhere. It was a bit of a disaster because prior to that I was playing great.

Scott: Exactly. The process of thinking about your performance will take you out of the zone and into conscious thinking. Great athletes can think about what is going on, but they snap back into gear right away. I bet you lost the flow and started getting emotional.

Me: Sure. I went to lunch frustrated and I tried to work out what I did wrong. I actually felt a little sick because all of the great work was undone.

Scott: It’s a process. You’ve got to be aware of it before you can make progress. So see this as a learning experience and you’ll be better next time you’re in that situation. You’ll snap out of the thinking mode more quickly, or even avoid it altogether.

Me: I will. I was sorta unaware of what happened so thanks for the heads up.

Scott: Remember, your focus while in the arena is to keep playing the game. I know you know that but we all need a constant reminder. After the event is the perfect time for reflection and celebrating what transpired. Not during.

Me: Thanks GURU!

The important part here is that this interaction wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t speak with Scott. I would have been worse off without this little impromptu coaching session and blind to some of what happened. The other point is that conversation is important. Because we were chatting casually on the phone I was relaxed and dropped the, “I can’t believe I’m playing so well” comment. It was only a small thing but Scott picked up on it right away and gave me something incredibly important – something I doubt I would have received with regular coaching.

Coaching is vital. As mentioned, it’s hard doing it by yourself and really good coaching transcends normal swing instruction and even thoughts about score. Improvement, enjoyment and learning is so much more than your technique and handicap.

Please add your comments/thoughts because they all help.

In the next few days (it could be a week or so) I’m going to share some exciting news on the golf coaching front – it’s a first for Australia and something that has been many years in the making. If you’ve tried all sorts of “normal” coaching but haven’t got the results you desire, then this will be of huge interest to you.

Resources: If you’d like to contact Scott and see what he can do for you then visit his website. He’s a great guy and really is a master coach. Check out his website here.