1)Too Much Information is Available: The world is at our fingertips – literally. Our phones and tablets enable us to access information at a moments notice. While this can be beneficial it can also be very overwhelming. What information is accurate? What information applies to you? Having all of this information is confusing, may not apply to you and does not provide a full in depth understanding of the golf swing. Quite often when someone self coaches they are trying to fix a symptom of a problem without understanding what the root problem is. This is called cause and effect and without a full understanding of it, making changes on your own will make things likely worse and not better.
2) You Don’t Like Feeling Awkward: It doesn’t matter if the student is a 20 something handicapper or a single digit player; whenever we make changes together initially, they say the swing feels odd and awkward. My response is – stick with it and the awkwardness will resolve itself. We do not like to feel awkward in anything we do. In undertaking the path of self coaching, the awkwardness leads to indecision, which leads to lack of progress which leads to abandonment. Through the coaching process you are reinforced that awkwardness is normal and temporary. You are also empowered with the proper knowledge of what you are doing so there is no indecision or confusion that plagues self coaches.
3) You Want To See Instant Results: Let’s face it we live in an instant gratification world (See #1). If we want something we don’t have, we order it and its in our hands the next day. We post on social media and instantly get recognition with the “likes”. We are conditioned for instant satisfaction. This makes it much more challenging to see improvement in self coaching. We don’t see the results we want in the time we want and we abandon that idea and move on to the next. When working with a coach you are held accountable for what you do and provided a structured environment that allows you to get the proper feedback necessary to realize your growth – which leads to #4
4)Getting Proper Feedback Is Critical: Most self coaches evaluate their progress based on the outcome of the shot. While this is an element of feedback, it definitely is not the sole source of feedback especially when you are making changes. The challenge in self coaching however is that most are unaware of other elements of feedback that are available to be utilized in their development. In working with a coach you get feedback given to you, however you also gain the knowledge and feel of intrinsic feedback – feedback you feel. This intrinsic feedback accelerates the learning process and enables you to grow and take ownership of your swing.
5) Are the Changes Stylistic or Functional?: This is the biggest challenge for the self coaches which is why its saved for last. With all of the information that is available – see reason #1 – determining what to change and why is harder than ever. There are catch phrases in golf instruction like “Lag” or “Shallowing the Shaft”. While these elements do have some functionality to them, they are largely stylistic. Therein lies the challenge for the self coach, understanding if the changes they are embarking will functionally improve the way they hit the ball or if the changes they are attempting more of an aesthetic change. Having a coach will help you filter that information and determine without question what is needed for you to functionally improve your swing so you can play better and enjoy the game more