Putting Together the Pieces of the Puzzle
More Info on Diagnosing Problems
Diagnosing Swing Flaws
If I told you the thing I like most about teaching golf, it probably wouldn't surprise you. Most people, even if they don't teach for a living know that the reason teachers like to instruct is for the rewarding feeling they get when they see their pupils achieve success. It's the satisfaction of knowing you helped another reach their goals.
To me, the next best thing is diagnostics. I find the golf swing and body fascinating. It's like this complex puzzle and without all the pieces fitting properly, it just doesn't work. Some refer to it as a chain where each link is only as good as the link before it. Many golf instructors have jokingly been called a "swing doctor". Much like a doctor has to interview their patients and dig deep into their psyche and physical being to solve their ailment, a good golf instructor will do the same. That is why all lessons should begin with a detailed interview soaking up the student's personality traits along with their physical fitness level and swing motion.
The Biggest Challenge is to Find the Root Cause
The biggest challenge for any novice instructor is to find the root cause. It's easy to see many of the causes, but the root cause is a bit more challenging. Sure it's easy to see that a closed club face at the top of the swing is making it more likely to have the face shut at impact resulting in a low hook, but why is the club face closed at the top? Is it the grip at address, the improper wrist hinge on the takeaway, or the collapsing rear arm? There are just so many things that can get off track in a golf swing and they can all cause multiple results. That's why it's interesting to me when a student texts and asks why I think they are slicing the ball. If I've worked with them for quite a while and know their habits, it's easy to guess what might be going wrong. Often my standard answer though, is that there are so many things that can cause a slice and without seeing them it's impossible to say for sure.
Is it the Chicken or the Egg?
Another interesting phenomenon is the "chicken and the egg effect". It's all about finding out which problem came first. For instance, if a player is losing their balance to their toes in the down swing and coming over the top of the swing plane, which is causing which? Is the loss of balance to their toes causing them to fall forward and swing over the top of the plane or outside in through impact to counter balance themselves and keep from falling? Or is the big over the top move and motion of throwing their arms and shoulders forward causing them to lose balance onto their toes? Being able to diagnose the root cause saves an awful lot of time and headaches. It's an art for sure, but once mastered, nothing is more fun than making all the pieces of the puzzle fit nicely together.
As with any trade, it does take years of practice and experimentation to master the art of golf instruction. For the individual student who has their own job and life to contend with, trying to figure out the complexity of the golf swing has always been a huge source of frustration. That's why MyGolfInstructor.com is here. To eliminate the frustration, make problem solving much easier and guide you to the root cause. MyGolfInstructor.com has all the tips, drills and tools you need to help diagnose the root cause of your swing problems.
Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.