By Thomas T Wartelle

USGTF Master Teaching Professional

Washington, Louisiana

Teach Correct Warm-up Techniques

Fitness research has shown that proper warm-up technique does not start with stretching.  This goes against traditional thinking.  Stretching is the same as activating or using a muscle.  Just as in lifting a dumbbell, when stretching a muscle group the muscles must expand and then contract to complete the task.  Imagine walking into the gym and curling a 60-lb. dumbbell without warming up.

The correct technique is to warm up slowly before stretching.  This could include a slow jog, but more realistically for the golfer it means simply striking a few short shots with an easy swing.  The best way is to make short 20-30 yard pitch shots, then slowly working into three-quarter pitch shots.  After a few minutes, begin stretching out the muscles, focusing on the major muscle groups for golf.  Some important golf muscles groups:  back, shoulders, forearms and wrists, legs and hamstrings. Remember to never “bounce” when stretching, but to hold the position for a few seconds and return to the relaxed position. As golf is an athletic game, learning correct warm-up techniques will help your clients have a more enjoyable golfing experience.  It also decreases the risk of injury therefore promoting continued lessons requested from the client.

Positive Communication Make sure you introduce the skill in a clear and concise way.  Use language that the golfer can understand.  Try to be as brief as possible and create a positive learning environment. •  Get the golfer’s attention. •  Make sure that the golfer can see and hear everything about the skill that they need to. •  Give a reason for learning the skill.

Demonstrations Every picture is worth a thousand words.  Shapes you see affect shapes you make.  Show more and talk less.  Ask players to mentally rehearse the movement after they have seen the demonstration.  For your own credibility, it is important that you use demonstration.  If you cannot perform the skill, use the best available model, or even use a video.

The Golf Swing is not Static When someone hits a golf ball, the swing is a continuous motion.  Too often the motion is broken down into separate parts, resulting in a loss of the continuity. The golf swing is best taught by correcting a flaw with a key thought or feeling.  Find a simple solution that allows the student to continue the motion of a full swing.  Encourage drills or training aids that promote the complete swinging motion.  These thoughts or feelings are less likely to break down when put under pressure.

Principles of Practice Only perfect practice makes perfect. Keep practices sessions short and frequent when working on a new skill.  Use practice time efficiently.  Students should experience a reasonable amount of success at each practice session.  Make practice fun as well as challenging.

Attitude Towards Learning No matter what the standard of the player, a good instructor will make the student better. It is important that any learning situation should focus toward success. The attitude of the teaching professional and student should be characterized by two qualities: – An open mind to receive new ideas. – An enquiring mind to question new ideas.

Organization Learning is based upon memory, and students will recall more information when the material is organized.  Think of our memory system as a file cabinet.  The more organized the material is filed, the easier it is retrieved. Thus, instructors need to devise their lesson plans.   This allows the student to easily organize the material.  Remember that teaching is about creating environments that enable players to develop at their optimal rate.

Photo by John and Gill
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