By Norm Crerar USGTF Contributing Writer Vernon, British Columbia
I have been teaching skiing for 50-some years. I have been playing the bagpipes for 10 years and have just started teaching beginners. I take golf lessons. I speak English, of the Canadian variety, but have to admit that I become stumped and agitated with the language of teaching.
It was traditional to teach bagpipes through canntaireachd (pronounced can-ter-act). This is a Gallic word meaning “chanting.” Before music was written as it is today on paper, with lines and notes, the instructor would sing the notes using distinct sounds for the different notes, grace notes and embellishments. Master and pupils would spend hours sitting together singing tunes to each other. Nowadays, people learn with sheet music, and canntaireachd is still used by some gifted and experienced instructors to support the acquisition of lyrical flow.
When I started teaching skiing, the manual was6” by 8” by ¼” thick, and half was in French and half in English (Canada’s two official languages). The manuals of a few years ago were three-ring binders two inches thick and needed a set of wheels to haul them around. Happily, today you can log on to the instructor website and find the latest digital copy. The old thick manuals were updated every two or three years due to the simple fact of the time lag brought about by writing, editing, picture editing and then printing. Today, the digital copy can be changed very quickly, but this brings on the language of teaching, as the amount of material is never-ending and quite often the “subject-matter expert” (SME) is a Ph.D. who can’t use 10 words where he/she thinks 100will fit better. Skiing is simple: stance and balance, left turns and right turns!
Where we live, golf ends in October and doesn’t start again until the end of April. We have a lot of time to watch the Golf Channel, professional tournaments, and the constant barrage of free lessons that pop up on our computers. With the tournaments and lessons come the “subject-matter experts” and their confusing language! Why is it that the broadcasters from the European Tour, and there are usually two, speak quietly and from time to time, while the PGA broadcasts seem to have 20 people online and some-one is talking all the time?
Don’t they realize they are on television and we can see what is going on and not radio, where constant chatter is needed to fill the void? Constant analysis and over-analysis. “His stance was closed and he was 50 percent on his back foot, therefore changing the swing plane from single plane to double plane; he came over the top, the swing was outside-to-in, his grip was strong but swing was weak, his hip wasn’t cleared in time for his head to stay steady and all was caught on the Konica Minolta Biz Hub Swing Analyzer at 38,000 frames per second!”
I am trying to learn this language of “Golfinese.”Perhaps I will just start the day by putting a few balls into the hole on the practice green, then a few chips, a few pitches, then back up a bit and hit a few longer shots.
Stance and balance swing easy, put the ball in the hole. Who really needs an SME or a Konica Minolta Biz Hub Swing Analyzer anyway!