Watching the telecast of the PGA Tour event each week it may seem obvious that golf is an individual sport. Yes, each player has a caddy to carry their clubs, give yardages and help keep the player focused, but ultimately the player is alone is executing the shot. But there is so much more to it than that.
You may not realize it but golf at the highest level, is a team game. There are many people involved in the process of helping a player perform at the highest level. Now the recreational or competitive amateur golfer may not need a manager or a full time caddy for them to achieve their goals, but there are few key people that should be part of your team if you want to play your best golf.
1. CoachThe player is at the center of the team, and the Coach and player set the goals, but the coach is the driver of the process. The one who implements the plan to ensure set goals are reached. The coach can deliver a wide variety of critical components to the process including swing technician, motivator, mental coach, club fitter and team coordinator.
The best players in the world work regularly with their coaches not because they don’t know how to play, but because there are things that happen in the golf swing that they simply can not see. Players are also not experts at cause and effect in the golf swing. As good as they are they can get off track with their swing mechanics just as easily as you.
Several years ago I heard a great analogy about the player coach relationship. If you have ever watched a Formula 1 car race, the driver is the at the center of his team, but when the car pulls into the pits you don’t see the driver jump out of the car and start working on the engine. He has a team that looks after that side of the things so he can focus on driving the car and winning races.
Golf is the same. The player should play the game and trust their coach to make sure the plan is working in the desired direction.
2. Health ProfessionalThe player is at the center of the process, the coach drives the process while the health professional ensures the player has the physical ability to move the club as efficiently as possible. Going back to the Formula 1 analogy, the health professional is an integral part of the pit crew. They make sure the car is running smoothly, that there are no imbalances in the system that could cause a lack of performance in the future.
The health professional is responsible for ensuring the golfer’s body is balanced, that there are no deficiencies in strength and flexibility that will limit performance or even worse, cause future injury. They are critical in helping a player swing the club as fast and accurately as possible, for you can not build sound technique on a poorly equipped body. Consistently controlling ball flight will be extremely difficult and maximizing distance will be severely compromised if the body can not move efficiently.
The trained health professional provides regular physical screenings of the player to check for deficiencies as well as to track progress. They then provide interventions in the form of exercises or massage to balance out the player’s body and allow them to perform at their best and stay injury free.
3. Other SpecialistsYou could add more people to your team including a specialist sports psychologist and a nutritionist, but if you are serious about improving your golf game and playing your best, then you should start with at least the Coach and Health Professional.
I hope you enjoyed this post. As always comments are welcome and encouraged.
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