Student Assessment Check List √ Previous golf experience √ Medical issues √ Body shape √ Motor coordination √ Flexibility √ Goal and objective Conducting a student assessment should be part of the first lesson and can be as simple as interviewing and observing the student. A lot of things can affect the way instructors teach and how the student learns. The more the instructor knows about a student gives the instructor the best chance to be successful with the instruction. It has been said many times that no two persons have like swings, and some of the reasons for that may be associated with items on the assessment checklist. Some items on the assessment checklist may interrelate, such as body style with coordination, flexibility, and coordination. Medical issues could certainly impact several of those areas, as well. It’s helpful if the instructor knows if the student possesses a positive or negative attitude, or if the student has goals to achieve with the lessons. The information gathered from the assessment can be a valuable tool for the instructor in developing the approach and methods used in conducting the lesson. The student assessment should be a must-be for lessons and is a good starting point. No more than 15 minutes is needed to conduct the assessment. Let the assessment flow using the checklist, and before you know it, it is complete. You may want to take notes to refer back to. Start the student assessment by obtaining the student’s golf experience. This will assist in determining the skill level of the student; it could be at the beginner, intermediate, or advanced levels. This background information, along with the other assessment criteria information, are used together to structure the lesson plan. Understanding the medical issues the student may have is high on the assessment list. Any medical issues would be unknown in most cases, unless they’re discussed together in the assessment. For example, the student could have limited range of motion in the shoulders and/or knees from injuries and surgeries. Being aware of the student’s medical issues will allow the instructor to design and adapt the lessons accordingly. One’s body shape has effects on body posture, which is an important aspect of the golf swing. Being overweight or underweight may cause changes in the human body’s shape as well as posture. This is why it’s important to evaluate this aspect, because the student’s body shape may or may not allow hip turn, desired spine angle in the swing setup, or a normal follow-through. However, instructors can develop and adapt golf swings for different body shapes, allowing students the opportunity to learn the game. Motor coordination is defined as the movement of parts together, the skillful and balanced movement of different parts – especially parts of the body – at the same time. There are some people that have shied away from golf because they think they are not coordinated. The common response is, “I can’t play golf; I’m not coordinated.” In some cases that may be true, but most people possess enough coordination and actually surprise themselves when they venture into lessons. This aspect can easily be assessed from observations from a few golf swings by the student. From this assessment, the instructor can reinforce to the student that the golf swing doesn’t have to be picture-perfect to play the game. This would a good time for an instructor’s demonstration of various unorthodox swing movements, while hitting the ball, to help prove that point. Touring pro Jim Furyk has done real well on tour with a swing that is somewhat unorthodox and matches no others. Instructors can use various drills to help develop the student’s balance and coordinated movements of the arms, hips and legs to get the club in a good backward swing position and forward follow-through. Every golfer wants to have a full golf swing. Flexibility allows a full range of motion within joints and muscles to execute the golf swing properly. Often, joint restrictions (i.e., tight muscles) in the lower back, hamstrings and shoulders cause the golfer to compensate within the golf swing. As with coordination, you can evaluate the student’s flexibility by having the student take a few easy swings with the golf club. Check the student’s rotary aspect of the swing and get feedback from the student as to where any stiffness may exist. As a result of the assessment, the instructor may suggest the student needs some golf stretching exercises to improve flexibility. The Internet is great resource where the student can get information on exercises to improve flexibility as it relates to the golf swing. Lastly, knowing what the student’s goal is will help the instructor design the lesson plans. The student’s goal may be to break 90 in one year, become a single-digit handicapper, or be able to play the game of golf. With goals there should be objectives discussed, such as improving chipping, making more putts, hitting the driver straighter and longer, etc. Having something to work for that is attainable is a win-win for the student and the instructor.
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