For those of us over 40, YouTube means funny cat videos and crazy athletic stunts. For some instructors, You Tube is a way to market your business and reach out to students you never thought you would have the chance to help. Just as it pertains to other aspects of life, the Internet is a double-edged sword. For the well-connected instructor, YouTube can be a great learning tool, especially when it comes to technical subjects like ball flight, launch monitors, or how to use a training aid. If you have clients under 30, chances are they watch YouTube for help with their golf game. This begs the question: Is this media avenue helping or hurting the golf teaching professional? Most of the millennial generation grew up connecting with technology. Smartphones, the Golf Channel and interactive video platforms substituted for human interaction. For them, reaching out to the Internet for help with their slice is completely natural. Personally, if I don’t know how to fix something, I search for help on our YouTube friend. As we that teach the game know, feel is difficult to teach. Any sports coach or instructor will agree. This is even truer in golf. The key to learning a good swing or changing a swing is to feel what you are trying to do. For the best instructors, that means being interactive with your student, teaching the feel of the swing through engaging them physically. That could also mean devising a drill or exercise that teaches the feel you are trying to create for that particular individual, understanding that every golf swing is different and unique therefore the feel will be different for each and every golfer. So, how can they learn from their computer screen? There are definitely aspects of the game one can learn from watching demonstrations or listening to a well-informed instructor. Unfortunately, I see too many younger players trying to learn technique, or fix technique from YouTube videos. Learning the feel of a correct grip, understanding that the correct grip for each golfer could vary, is a great example of there not being a replacement for a an actual instructor placing the club in the hand. Working with the golfer to teach the feel of takeaway or transition is another example. We could think of hundreds of different reasons why replacing a person with a video is not a good way to learn the game. Of course, anything that brings attention or players to the game is good for golf. The Internet is a great platform to promote the game and for instructors to showcase their talent. The danger comes when the instructor promotes the Internet as a way to learn the game. When using the Internet, I would caution instructors to be careful not to promote their videos as the answer to the golfer’s problems. Use it in well-thought-out ways, but don’t promote it as the replacement for the one-on-one interaction that golfers need.
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