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lind12

Tips for new high school head golf coach?

26 posts in this topic

I just got the position as head golf coach for the girls and guys team at a local high school. I got it kind of by default because no one else would step up and do it. I’m really excited to do it but I’m a little nervous because I’m a younger guy with very little instructional experience. Any tips or advice you guys have for me? Maybe some ideas for practice drills?

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Keep it fun for the kids, as for drills idk I always felt the best practice was playing on the course then just give a few pointers here and there.
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you said you have very little instructional experience , so I wouldn't be doing to much instructions.  I would try and find someone that is willing to help you with that part on the practice range and putting green.  Something for you would be to make sure they look good at address and alignment and help teach them course management.  As for drills, I wouldn't make them pound ball after ball.  Get a good practice routine that is fun and involves playing the course.  At the range have competitions were the person who its 5 balls closest to pin gets to pick a team to play against another team.  Have putting competitions instead of just them hitting putt after putt by themselves.  Then when you play practice rounds make things a little different maybe one day a week.  Like makes boys play the girls T so they work on short game more and then have girls play mens to work on long game.  Make everyone go out and play with only irons, etc.

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I've never coached, but here's some ideas that I'd think about doing if I were put in your posiition.

1. Read Dr Rotella's books and share information w/ the kids - sportsmanship, behavior on the course, etiquette. That age group kids are prone to explosive behavior when things don't go well.

2. Use video to tape and let them watch their swings including short game and putting. Compare it to video available of professionals to emulate (readily available).

3. Use instructional DVDs (there are many - Watson, Harmon, Leadbetter, Simon Holmes, PGA has a series) to teach the correct swing, short game, putting.

4. Use online swing video analysis to help kids work on on their swings ($19/session) if they can afford it (zachallengolf.com is a good start).

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My father was a high school golf coach for 25 years. Working at the golf course I deal with several high school golf coaches from local high schools. Most are total idiots one is a pretty good coach. Here is my $0.02.

1. Don't give instruction . That is what the local golf pro is for. And please do not read the current golf magazine article and regurgitate it to your players on the practice range. One of the high school coaches at my coarse does this. He can't break 100, and knows next to nothing about how to play competitively yet there he is on the range giving lessons to his kids. Its ridiculous, until you have a legitimate and deep understanding of the golf swing leave the instruction up to the professionals. If you want to get some instruction for your kids contact a local professional and work out a deal. Many pros are really good about this and will work with you. Have a team car wash or some other fund raiser to try and cover any cost.

2. Be organized . Know what you want your players to work on every day and divvy up practice time accordingly. Then make sure they do what they are supposed to do. Most of the coaches I see throw 8 buckets of balls on the range and then go sit and drink coffee in the restaurant. One coach at my course posts a practice schedule to the minute on what every player is supposed to work on for that practice. Some are told to go play, some are given practice plans. Its no accident his golf team vies for the state title every year. HERE is a good post by Erik about divvying up practice time effectively

3. Set expectations for behavior at the course . Personally I think this should include a dress code, but that's me. Make sure they use proper etiquette, play at a proper pace etc.

4. Know your strengths and limitations . No one is perfect and no one knows everything. Don't feel bad if you don't know the answer to something or cannot help a kid with a swing issue. Its better to leave a student alone to work through something than it is to give incorrect advice. Just do the best you can and be positive and supportive to your kids

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If you want to get some instruction for your kids contact a local professional and work out a deal. Many pros are really good about this and will work with you. Have a team car wash or some other fund raiser to try and cover any cost.

A few years after I left, the high school I went to made a deal with a local course and began hosting a fundraising scramble tournament over the summer. Lots of fun and it raised a ton of money.

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Don't let them turn into Snails on the course. Trust their games and be ready to go. There is NO reason to spend forever lining up a shot or a putt. Generally speaking, if they're on the team then they have a decent game- they shouldn't be thinking ANY thoughts about chin position, left pinky finger grip, pupil dilation, etc.... Have fun, smile and shake hands.
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Don't teach them how to play... teach them course management, help them stay positive. Learn about sports psychology. I read Mental Toughness: Training for Golf and MentalRules: for Golf and they have helped me a lot... use some of the techniques in books like that to help them stay confident.

If I was a local pro I'd be more than happy to help teach swing/short game technique to younger players, so contact everyone in the area that you can. An hour 1-2 times a week shouldn't be too hard to get them involved with the team.

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I was hired in much the same way. I played a lot in high school and was okay, usually in the mid 90's. Went to college and stopped playing but always had the bug to play. I was hired to teach at a small district and I became friends with the AD and that next summer the position was open and he asked me. I knew nothing about technique and couldn't play very well at all, still in the 90's. I had kids that could play circles around me. I began working hard on my game and looking more in-depth at the swing so I could begin learning more about the technique aspect. As others have mentioned, all I really worked on with them was the head game and course management. I gave them drills to help improve their putting and to better learn club yardages but outside of those things I really couldn't do much. About two years ago our course hired a golf pro and I became very good friends with him and I have really become quite good at teaching the fundamentals well. The pro has spent a lot of time with me and I help him quite a bit, throw in the ball flight laws and few other things and I know can start a beginner out. The best advice is be honest with the kids and research! If someone has a technique question and you have no clue try to find out the answer but don't try and BS it. Teach what you know! Even where I am today in my knowledge I still spend 90% of my time on the head game and simple drills with the kids.

Coaching golf has become a really big enjoyment for me and something I look forward to all year long! It has forced me to step my game up and I've told the kids some of my big goals for this year which I think is great to let the kids see you also working on your game. I really could go on and on but the biggest piece of advice is have fun with it and make sure the kids have fun with it. It's easy to lose that enjoyment and part of your goal is to build lifelong golfers that enjoy it along with understanding the rules and etiquette.

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To get them into "match" mode have them play mini matches in practice.  We always were paired up together in practice and played team games or straight up for little prizes (bottles of gatorade, sleeve of balls, ect) to the winners.  It kept it interesting and always kept you in compete mode.  You also learn you teammates games and how they deal with pressure.  This helped a lot, so if your playing partner in a team match was struggling you could help them out with pointing out there strengths.

Just keep it light and help out in the areas that you can.  Also scout your home course with your better players.  Teach them where to miss it and have them take putts from different spots on all the greens.  "Home field" is a huge plus in high school golf because your opponents may have little to no experience on your course.

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Tip....

Don't let the kids have their cell phones on the course.  Make them turn them into you before their round and they can pick them up after their round when they hand in their score card.

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My advice would be to teach the kids everything about rules, etiquette, sportsmanship, etc. I have filled in a few times for my schools golf coach over the years. It always amazes me how many of these kids dont know the simplest of rules, etiquette. Like some of the other posters have said, leave the coaching to pros. I will help the kids with obvious swing problems. The majority of your better golfers will probably have an instructor anyways.
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Originally Posted by NM Golf

My father was a high school golf coach for 25 years. Working at the golf course I deal with several high school golf coaches from local high schools. Most are total idiots one is a pretty good coach. Here is my $0.02.

1. Don't give instruction. That is what the local golf pro is for. And please do not read the current golf magazine article and regurgitate it to your players on the practice range. One of the high school coaches at my coarse does this. He can't break 100, and knows next to nothing about how to play competitively yet there he is on the range giving lessons to his kids. Its ridiculous, until you have a legitimate and deep understanding of the golf swing leave the instruction up to the professionals. If you want to get some instruction for your kids contact a local professional and work out a deal. Many pros are really good about this and will work with you. Have a team car wash or some other fund raiser to try and cover any cost.

2. Be organized. Know what you want your players to work on every day and divvy up practice time accordingly. Then make sure they do what they are supposed to do. Most of the coaches I see throw 8 buckets of balls on the range and then go sit and drink coffee in the restaurant. One coach at my course posts a practice schedule to the minute on what every player is supposed to work on for that practice. Some are told to go play, some are given practice plans. Its no accident his golf team vies for the state title every year. HERE is a good post by Erik about divvying up practice time effectively

3. Set expectations for behavior at the course. Personally I think this should include a dress code, but that's me. Make sure they use proper etiquette, play at a proper pace etc.

4. Know your strengths and limitations. No one is perfect and no one knows everything. Don't feel bad if you don't know the answer to something or cannot help a kid with a swing issue. Its better to leave a student alone to work through something than it is to give incorrect advice. Just do the best you can and be positive and supportive to your kids


This says it all............

Nice post!   I have nothing to add.

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Here's another tip: learn the rules, and get the kids to as well.
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I realize this is an older post, but it's one of the best ones I've read on the subject. Thank you.

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My father was a high school golf coach for 25 years. Working at the golf course I deal with several high school golf coaches from local high schools. Most are total idiots one is a pretty good coach. Here is my $0.02.

1. Don't give instruction. That is what the local golf pro is for. And please do not read the current golf magazine article and regurgitate it to your players on the practice range. One of the high school coaches at my coarse does this. He can't break 100, and knows next to nothing about how to play competitively yet there he is on the range giving lessons to his kids. Its ridiculous, until you have a legitimate and deep understanding of the golf swing leave the instruction up to the professionals. If you want to get some instruction for your kids contact a local professional and work out a deal. Many pros are really good about this and will work with you. Have a team car wash or some other fund raiser to try and cover any cost.

2. Be organized. Know what you want your players to work on every day and divvy up practice time accordingly. Then make sure they do what they are supposed to do. Most of the coaches I see throw 8 buckets of balls on the range and then go sit and drink coffee in the restaurant. One coach at my course posts a practice schedule to the minute on what every player is supposed to work on for that practice. Some are told to go play, some are given practice plans. Its no accident his golf team vies for the state title every year. HERE is a good post by Erik about divvying up practice time effectively

3. Set expectations for behavior at the course. Personally I think this should include a dress code, but that's me. Make sure they use proper etiquette, play at a proper pace etc.

4. Know your strengths and limitations. No one is perfect and no one knows everything. Don't feel bad if you don't know the answer to something or cannot help a kid with a swing issue. Its better to leave a student alone to work through something than it is to give incorrect advice. Just do the best you can and be positive and supportive to your kids

Uh, yeah, this one

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With two years under my belt now I would agree with you. A lot of this advice was very helpful. Thank you guys!

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My advice would be to teach the kids everything about rules, etiquette, sportsmanship, etc.

I have filled in a few times for my schools golf coach over the years. It always amazes me how many of these kids dont know the simplest of rules, etiquette. ...

I see different HS teams play at the courses in our area. Some are well-groomed socially, others have very poor manners. And the uniform code is a good thing. If the kids have a team shirt, this helps create camaraderie, and a social obligation not to misbehave with the team colors on.

As @NM Golf said, the swing instruction thing can be touchy. If all your kids get lessons elsewhere, your job is easy: Just do some "quality control" stuff, charting game flaws they can talk to their pro about.

For kids who are self-taught and can't afford lessons, if you could find a pro who could help with their games, this would be great. Here's where the fundraisers can come in handy.

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