Improve your coaching skills

There is multiple organizations that can assist you with improving your Coaching skills

The First Tee

Without caring mentors, positive youth development just doesn’t happen. At The First Tee, we take coaching seriously. We believe that a meaningful, quality relationship between coach and participant is vital to our program.

United States Golf Teachers Federation

The United States Golf Teachers Federation® trains and certifies golf teaching professionals. Established in 1989, it is the largest national organization of certified golf teaching professionals in the world. The USGTF educational theme is that of progressive learning. We incorporate three levels of certification for the golf teaching professional.

WGCA - World Golf Coaches Alliance

Training Coaches for the competitive golfers, “Every competitive golfer deserves a CERTIFIED Coach.”  The World Golf Coaches Alliance is the official coaches division of the United States Golf Teachers Federation.

Golf Coaches Certified Association

All great coaches have followed a clearly defined pathway to success. Come develop world-class coaching skills and differentiate yourself from the rest of the industry.


The Romance Stage of Learning and Developing

The Romance Stage of Learning and Developing

 By Michael Hebron

 Why do human beings want to take part in some activities and not others? Why do we improve at something’s and not others?

Why do we have the skill to improve several activities, but tend to only make progress with a few and often only reach our potential with one?

 By dividing learning into stages we can find some insights that address these questions. Benjamin Bloom called the stages of learning early, middle and late.

These stages parallel what the genius of Alfred North Whitehead referred to as the "romance stage", the "precision stage " and the "general stage " in 1929.

 Studies into human development point to how what happens during the early or romance stages of learning and development of a skill will influence how long individuals will continue to stay involved with an activity. Also how often then will take part in it. (read those sentences again)

 The early or romance stage must be recognize for what It is. It is the stage when the "possibilities " of creating a students continued engagement exists. This is the "get them hooked " stage not the tell them something needs fixing stage.

 This is the stage when passion and a love of something needs to be nurtured and not suppressed by telling people golf is a hard game to learn and play .Not so, there are blind golfers, one armed and one leg golfers who not only enjoy golf , but some even having scores in the 70s .

 The romantic stage is the awakening of interest stage and it must free of pointing out what is wrong, which causes intimidation and frustration. (An approach that should be used at every stage of learning) . If we want people to fall in love with an activity, they can't be told this or that needs fixing. Respected research shows that FIXING isn't learning, it's a negative approach to improving.

 Studies show without passion there will be little interest in playing any game. Without interest the basic needs of human behavior and development are not being met. This reality is often side stepped when it comes to instruction, especially in sports instruction.

 Studies show when the early or romance stage of development is filled with required structured training and lots of get it right instruction, the freedom and enjoyment that can foster interest and passion for an activity is being suppressed.

 After people "fall in like " with an activity only then should the Whiteheads " precision stage " be entered into with instruction information moving beyond basics. This is then followed by the "general stage" of applying basics in a variety of contexts.

 " I think I am going to like this game " may not be what students are saying after they have been told this or that needs fixing, or you must do it this way.

 Athletic skill development is a by product of self motivated play. This is the kind of " I want to-play this game " thinking that is found in pick up games in parks, school yards and in golf environments free of judgment criticisms and any attempts to fix.

 Unwanted outcomes should be seen as valuable feedback for future reference, not as results that need fixing. Unworkable outcomes of to far, to short, to fast , to slow , to high , or to low are actually used as insights for workable outcomes in learning developing environments . They are not seen as mistakes. They as valuable and required feedback for learning to do something different. The nature of learning finds Inconsistency as useable and valuable for learning.

 Introducing or repeating unworkable outcomes during training is one of the most powerful way to support skill development and long term learning. Counterintuitive yes, but true . The unwanted outcome can be the teacher, while the instructor is the coach.

 Over managed, required, structured instruction during the early or romance stage of development (or at any time ) can cause individuals young and old to become frustrated and intimidated, thereby missing an opportunity to develop interest and passion for an activity and love of a game.

 " That teacher sure sounds smart, I don't really know what he was trying to tell me, but he he sounded like they knew a lot .  "

How many golfers have had that impression of instruction? Information is often intellectually interesting, but educationally vacant.

 It is important to recognize that without a since of enjoyment , free of frustration during the early stages of development of any skill , there will be a lack of long-term interest. Without self confidence during the romantic stage,  "i can do this" , "I want to do this ") there will be little opportunity to enjoy a game during a journey of development .

 In learning developing environments no one is broken in need of fixing, they are on a journey of development. A 30 handicapper isn't broken, or doing anything wrong that needs fixing. They are learning to playfully develop and grow new skills with SMART ! SAFE ! PLAYFUL! approaches to learning . On the other hand, it has been shown that "Teaching -fixing to get it right " approaches to learning do not support long term learning .

 Smart - students minds are really talented.

 Safe - students always first environment

 Playful- powerful learning about yourself finds useful learning

 We are never training the skill, we are always training the emotional self in all of us.

 Suggestion: when students are allowed to, or learn to play for the pure sake of playing a game, they will develop a passion for that game, regardless of the score . Then they become willing to move on to the precision and general stages of developing, free of personal intimidation and frustrations.

 Studies show: When it comes to sports, the reasons people of all ages stop participating, or play less frequently include:

 • Drills are boring and studies show drills are of little value for new learning

• Emotional stress from excessive performance demands

• Negative coaching and feeling of failure

• Not enough free play without trying to get it right

 In closing, it seems imperative for individuals to become frequent participants in any activity including golf, that they must experience the stress free introduction stage that Whitehead referred to as the romance stage.


GIVE INCONSISTENCY IT'S DUE         By Michael Hebron  

Inconsistency when seen as a negative that can prevent golfers from performing up to their potential . Neuroscientists have demonstrated that inconsistency can be a useful element of  playing golf .  When Padraig  Harrington said "consistency is highly overrated , people who are consistent are mediocre ",he was spot on according to respected research into the brains connection to learning and performing .

Outstanding performances in golf tournaments are never consistent . They all had the inconsistency of wanted and unwanted outcomes , along with recovery shots . It is often said " this player is good , but to be great they need to be more consistent " , not so .
It seems  that players become great when they learn to accept the value of
inconsistency .  Striving for consistency and perfection has often done more harm then good .

Studies at Harvard (where I have taken classes ) show after individuals ( ie. Tiger , Phil , Rory )have an outstanding performance , the brain is designed to
have a  natural fallback in performance outcomes , then restart from a more advanced place then in the past.

Unwanted outcomes are not in need of fixing , they are aways a natural element of interacting with our environment .

The message  ,accept inconsistency .
Harvard's Dr. Fischer called them , " desirable developmental difficulties" that we can learn from .

UCLAs Dr, Robert Bjork (who I have spent time with ) and other scientists  have shown that inconsistency is a valuable and necessary requirement of reaching ones potential . It's  not failure . . ( Unless your Irish catholic  like me ) .

Trying to fix what was functional in the past is overlooking golf is a game of streaks and these unwanted outcomes should be accepted as part of playing a game .
The natural ups and downs of playing a game provides valuable information for trial and error adjustments . Studies show unwanted outcomes are more useful for learning then wanted outcomes by a margin of 3or4 to one . Learning -developing studies recommends introducing unwanted outcomes during training , this helps individuals understand and learn what works and what does not  for them .

The PGA and LPGA tours keep statistics on inconsistency . .Tour players only hit 60% of the fairways, make only 15% of their 10 to 15 ft putts and hit just 60% of the greens on good days .
Traditional thinking wants to fix unwanted outcomes  which  would not be a brain compatible approach to learning . It's  been demonstrated that acts of fixing do not support meaningful learning , buy having a positive picture of what you want to do and staying away from fixing ideas does support improvement .

The real value of inconsistency is being overlooked in a golf culture that promotes perfection over the experience of playing a game .

PGA call letters should stand for "Pleasurable Game for  All"  and not Perfect Golf Alignments.  

Inconsistency is one  of the things that is consistent about business ,  and inconsistency is used as positive feedback for future use in the business world .  Unfortunately sports coaching and schools often see inconsistency as a negative in need of fixing .No golfer , professional or amateur can predict what their score will be on the first tee , and the outcome of every swing they make will be a bit of a surprise .

Inconsistency and  not consistency is found  at every level of golf .

I tell students "Golfs not hard , it's just inconsistent and your unwanted outcomes are a valuable component of your progress ".

A golfer may say " That was easy " , after a game that went well , then after a game of unwanted outcomes the same golfer may say " I have to fix this or that "  . But there really is nothing to work on , we are human beings , not perfect performing machines , which is why we have inconsistent outcomes .  


Nothing is broken in need of fixing . We are not designed to miss puts or hit poor shots , but we do.

Suggestion : .  Let inconsistency be your friend , it is already your learning brains best friend . Perhaps this is a counterintuitive insight , but it is a useful one .

Go train in a proactive way that emphasizes the use of the golf club : where do you want the golf club shaft, head and face alined as they swing through impact for the shot you are playing . Then - and this is critical - accept all outcomes , wanted and unwanted , and avoid what respected research has shown are negative acts of trying to fix body motions .Just picture what to do with the club and the body will follow .

I have learned players who are accepting the value of inconsistency are more likely to reach their potential .

Giving up the habit of thinking about what one believed went wrong may be a leap
of faith , but studies show it is a step in the direction of brain compatible learning .