Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sharing by Great Coaches

Today's blog is simply some sharing of great coaching.  Check out this video and article for a sense of what great coaching is all about.

One thing I liked was what the very best in the world do and how most junior's and college player's expectations are out of line with what a good shot is from 150 yards.  A favorite line I hear from parents when a kid 3 putts is, "She needs to learn to hit it closer."  They value the skill of ball striking more than putting.  That valuation puts more pressure on the ball striking and alleviates the need for performance on the putting green.  The best juniors and collegiate players are usually great putters and good enough ball strikers.  I watched Nicole Morales paired with Casey Danielson at the Thunderbird last year.  It was a fun group to watch.  Nicole didn't hit the ball as well as Casey, but she didn't make mistakes.  However, she made a lot of yardage of putts.  She won! 

Another funny thing that Foley had to say was his main goal is to not hurt them (great players).  That was the advice that Dick Harmon gave me often.  Foley said it can happen in three weeks.  Imagine if a coach works the wrong direction for four years.  Proceed with caution and know your stuff is what I take away.

The second article is about Cameron McCormick's journey with Jordan Spieth.  Here is an excerpt about the same concept.

Golf Magazine:  Were you excited to uncover this talent or nervous about whether you were ready to teach such a talent?
Cameron McCormick:  "That's an insightful question. I was excited and had a little trepidation -- what if I go about changing his style and he doesn't hit it as well? I could destroy this ultra-talent. I went to Jerry Smith, the Brook Hollow head pro and my mentor, and explained the situation. His advice was, "Whatever you do, do it confidently and see it through in such a confident manner that you have no doubt that the athlete and the parent will have no doubt." With a very special player, it's a challenge. I needed the reassurance. After the lesson, I sent his dad an email and said I'd love to help him. I suggested we get together after his summer schedule and sent him some changes we'd go through to turn Jordan into a better ball-striker and a better putter. He was a poor putter back then, quite frankly.
Fast-forward to when Jordan was 16 and playing in the Byron Nelson. Even then he had the skills-the ball control, the putting and short game skills to win a PGA Tour event. The validation of that was how well he played, finishing 16th. He wasn't ready, psychologically or emotionally, to win, but he certainly was of the mindset that he could compete."

I also like that Cameron has helped Jordan be a self-sufficient player instead of a dependent player.  Allowing a player to have ownership is the mark of a good coach.

Golf Magazine:  What kind of maintenance does he need?
Cameron McCormick:  "I'm proud of the fact that he's developed into a very self-sufficient player. A player who has self-awareness -- what's my body feel like, what does the club feel like and what does the contact feel like-can create a change that allows him to play. Sometimes, he'll have his caddie shoot video on the range. Sometimes, he'll email me a video. I went to PGA Championship. He prepared great, took the week before off, but he didn't play well. He missed the cut and said, "I'm going to play Wyndham next week. Can I get some time?" I said, "Sure, but we're not going to the range, we're going to play." I said, "What I saw out there translated to performing on the course." We played 18 on Sunday of the PGA Championship and he shot 64 or 65 at Brook Hollow, had great ball control with only a small alignment tweak. The course is closed Monday, but I have the luxury of taking a few people out there. He shoots 29 on the front. I said, "Jordan, this is affirmation for you that things were in place and you didn't need much more than validation to set your mind free to play golf." And then he went to Wyndham and lost in a playoff to Patrick Reed.
I'll go to four or five PGA Tour events next year, and I see Jordan every week he comes home, but he doesn't require much of an overhaul."

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