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What I learned in January – Florida Trip

I haven’t written a blog post in quite a while which is something I will try and improve upon this year. My blog and site is one of my favourite ways to share information and give an overview of my vision/philosophy and the work that I do.

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I managed to squeeze in a game at Bayhill C.C. too 😉 Thank you John O’Leary

Watch players compete.

I had a great trip to Florida in January and I learned a lot, I’m going to share the highlights with you guys in this post. I started off my trip by Florida by going to watch Chloe Ryan compete in The Harder Hall tournament in Florida. I have been working with Chloe since September and it was the first opportunity I had to watch her compete. Chloe is a phenomenally hard worker and it was great to watch her put that effort into play in Harder hall.

It is an invaluable learning experience and I think every golf coach should try to get out and watch players compete whenever they can. It has always fascinated me that in no other sport I can think of do coaches work on the training ground yet never watch players in battle. If you would like your coach to watch you compete I have a complicated but effective strategy to make it happen….. Ask them!

Watching players compete on the golf course during competition reveals all sorts of valuable information such as body language, decision making and tempo to name but a few. All of which can be reviewed and if there are any areas you both agree could be improved upon a plan can be developed with specific examples in mind to improve performance.

Train like the best

During my trip I had the pleasure of working on putting performance with the Danish National Squads. This consisted of their elite amateurs and developing professional players from the LET and European tour. Over two days we used skills tests and data analysis to uncover their patterns and then put in place some training strategies to work and improve on the areas that had the biggest potential for improved performance.

Denmark has had a lot of success of late and after working with their coaches David and Thomas I’m not surprised. I was struck by the level of professionalism the guys conduct themselves with. Every aspect of performance is worked upon and no player takes their success for granted. They have a curiosity for learning and improving that will get them extremely close to fulfilling their respective potential. It’s how I imagine working with the best Olympic athletes will be, which is exactly what elite golfers have the potential to be now. I look forward to working with David, Thomas and the all  the guys in the future.

AimPoint Express read leaves no excuse for sloppy green reading

The most exciting development in late 2013 was the introduction of the AimPoint eXpress read. It takes very little time to acquire the skill, you don’t need a chart to make accurate reads (albeit the chart is still the most accurate method) and it is excellent for long, medium and short range putts. I was first introduced to the eXpress read at the AimPoint instructor’s conference in Spain in November and through experimentation and testing it has been refined to the version we used at The PGA Show clinics.

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PGA Tour Player Brian Gay rocking the express read en route to a 63

If you had any reservations about the difficulty in learning to read greens efficiently let me ease those fears right now. Just on Saturday last we taught a class of varying levels of golfers from a professional right up to 24 Handicap. Each player left after ONE hour with the skills needed to easily and quickly make accurate reads and not once get the break direction wrong. Keep and eye on the AimPoint section of my website for more details.

AimPoint Founder Mark Sweeney was as usual very generous during my stay and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for that along with Justin Blazer of The Marriott Academy.

Attention to details

My coaching hero John Wooden was renowned for his attention to detail but could keep things simple for his players. I try and emulate that philosophy in my own coaching where possible. So a big highlight of my trip was to help AimPoint founder Mark Sweeney and Quintic ball roll expert Paul Hurrion conduct research and compare data. I was the guinea pig for some of the research and the findings were extremely interesting. Both guys was were more than generous in sharing information and answering my questions.

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Mark Sweeney, Jamie Donalson and Paul Hurrion mid mindmeld

 

 

After some reflection I have drawn a number of conclusions on how I will use this information to help my players in the future. The biggest learning point drawn from the experience is the never ending journey to learn and improve how you attempt to help the people who trust you to be a part of their journey in their chosen sport.

SAM Certification

At the PGA Show I managed to complete my SAM Puttlab lebel 1 certification. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up but I was very pleased with the information I recieved. Christian explained how to use the parameters the SAM measures to better understand the patterns of the players we work with and using Tour data define certain degrees of tolerance that people can work with in. As always it’s my firm belief that any coaching tool or system must be adapted to the individual in front of you not the other way around.

Finally the biggest learning experience I will take away from my trip was the generosity of all the people I met during my time there. It confirms my belief that helping others and being a decent human being is one of the keys to a happy life. I was blown away by the lengths people went to, helping me in any number of ways and I look forward to repaying their generosity in the future.

In brief:

  • Train for where you want to be not where you are
  • Watch your players compete, if you’re a player ask your coach to come watch you compete. You will definitely benefit from the experience
  • If you want to hole more putts learn AimPoint  Express. Simples
  • Be a nice person, help others and you will have a pretty decent experience more often than not

I hope you enjoyed this post a fraction as much as I enjoyed gathering the information. If you have any questions or would like to get together to work on any of the ideas or concepts I’ve talked about above. Contact me on 00353876071088 or donal@donalscottgolf.com

All the best,

DS

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