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Poor Instruction Is Very Common. Why?


Jack Watson
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12 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:
48 minutes ago, NCGolfer said:

My thoughts are in line with others here.  To me, there are two large components to golf instruction.  First is the ability of the instructor to analyze the swing and understand how to go about improving it (yeah, i know this is a big one.)  The second is the ability to effectively communicate with the student.

 

3 hours ago, Vinsk said:

Golf is hard.

There are a lot of valid posts, but these two kind of go together and sum it up for me.^^^

+1

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All of the above and it's a two way street. It's hard to find good help. It's hard to get good, maintain discipline, find the time to practice on all aspects of the game. Good luck lining up both in two people. My pet peeve, more and more people are videoing their swings but you still nary see a camera on the range these days, let alone anyone bringing a tripod. The disconnect between feel and real is mitigated by video and people are... not... taking... advantage...

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4 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

Quite a few of the golfers I play with have taken local instruction and by far the majority agree they were not helped.  For example one guy quit the game after developing a horrible slice and saw 2 pros multiple times and couldn't get a handle on it.  One pro even had him back for free and still failed.

Why is it that there's so much ineffective instruction out there?

The golf swing is  extremely complex - lots of moving parts in 3 dimensions. I've read explanations on here about how to change a swing and have no idea what is being said.

I've had a few instructors and they usually seem OK at the basics: stance, grip, basic motion etc.

But say I'm doing some unique things wrong. The instructor probably sees it but has a difficult time describing it, and even more so explaining to me how to fix it.

 

 

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A good instructor scripts his, or her, lingo to the perceived ability of the student.  If that is ephemeral...so is talent.  There is no one way to impart wisdom and wisdom is specific to an individuals willingness to accept it.  What is sauce, for the goose, is not necessarily sauce for the gander.  That some instructors adopt a "one size fits all" approach says less about instructors than it does the business of instruction.  It is easier to be less specific; but it is more helpful, for the individual, to hang their ass out a bit.  That goes for both.

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6 hours ago, uitar9 said:

My wife and I were introduced to a local instructor, by a friend of a friend.

We took 6 lessons each from him (the wife took a few more). He asked us what our goals were. What we thought we needed to work on. and then he gave us instruction on stance, ball position, grip. He the worked backwards, takeaway, hips , legs, arms. Just broke it down in little steps.

He then sent us home, with home work, practicing the things he showed us.

We both practiced and are both still golfing. We think, at least passable.

The key for us was that he asked us about our goals and how we best learned.

I've been in the company of other instructors who just tell people what to do, then tell them they are doing it wrong.

I don't know shite from canola on the subject, but perhaps students need to find instructors who teach in a manner in which they learn, then practice, otherwise they don't.

He was a real gentleman-He was 5 years free of colon cancer when we met him, but it came back. He passed last winter. 47 years old, RIP Grant, you touched many lives.

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  • iacas changed the title to Poor instruction is very common. Why?
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7 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

I don't think it's lack of understanding.

I do.

7 hours ago, Piz said:

There are more poor students than there are poor instructors.  

I disagree. There are very, very few "poor" students so long as we're not defining "poor" as "refuses to practice." Because if we're defining it that loosely, then that's like 95%. :-)

But if we're defining "poor students" as "can't do what the instructor asks, doesn't understand what the instructor is saying to them, etc." then that's the fault of the instructor 99% of the time. A good instructor should be able to get through to almost anyone.

So I guess I'll define whether the student is "good" or "bad" by how they behave during the lesson. They've paid for it, so most are attentive and trying their hardest.

7 hours ago, Patch said:

Sometimes the instructor can be quite good, but the student is not smart enough to understand what's being instructed. The student walks away thinking the instructor is at fault.

That instructor is not "quite good."

7 hours ago, Patch said:

Now I do agree there are golf charlatans out there scamming their students, but not all instructors labled "bad" are bad instructors. Some students are just bad students. Some student can't comprehend good golf instruction. 

Again, those instructors aren't good. The point of communication is to be understood and, you know, convey the idea. If you're failing to do that, you're not giving a good lesson.

I could tell you the anatomical terms for everything in your golf swing, and mix in some Golfing Machine language when anatomical terms don't suffice, and physics or geometrical terms when I need to use those. Doesn't mean I'm giving a good lesson because you don't understand. Doesn't mean a ten-year-old would be a bad student because they didn't understand what I was talking about.

6 hours ago, JetFan1983 said:

Yea. If two students have the same exact swing flaw, student A may need a ten word explanation, and student B may need a 500 word explanation. I think a good instructor can at some point recognize this after getting to know them a bit.

Yes.

6 hours ago, JetFan1983 said:

I agree there are a lot of bad students out there, but only because regular golfers severely outnumber golf instructors in population size. But I also think that most people who we could classify as bad students tend to not seek out instruction much at all. It's the unfortunate good students who actually try to do what the bad instructor tells them to do that really suffer. And think this happens to a lot of people. 

Again if we're calling "bad students" those who don't practice, then there are a lot of them.

But yeah, all too often, the "bad" instructor:

  • gives the student 14 things to think about during a lesson*.
  • gives the student bullshit/incorrect information.
  • gives the student a feel that may or may not work at all.
  • tells the student that it's in their head/works on their "mental game" when it's a mechanical issue.
  • just has the student keep hitting a 7-iron and when they finally hit one good, say "there you go!"
  • gives the student no drills, no homework, nothing to take with them.
  • doesn't film students. Sorry, but your eyes are not good enough to pick up on everything.
  • I could type more, but this is getting depressing.

http://bit.ly/bmlesson - Download that (if you try to watch it in your browser, it won't play the full lesson. Count how many different instructions the guy gets. At one point, Brian seizes on what I think is the "right" piece, but then he quickly moves on to things #6, #7, #8… through about #19 or #21. I forget what the count was eventually, but… horrible lesson. Horrible.

6 hours ago, mvmac said:

Biggest reason IMO is because there isn't much incentive to being a good instructor. It's tough to make a six figure income and you have to work a lot of hours. Typically most golfers think a golf lesson should be $40, are looking for a quick fix and they don't value the information the instructor provides. Golfers don't put the time and effort it takes to improve their game.

Yeah.

6 hours ago, mvmac said:

Being a good instructor is also a lot of work. Not only do you have to put in time educating yourself but you have to market yourself and be available to answer calls/texts/email when you're not teaching. It's tough to create passive income streams teaching golf.

Yeah. You need a real passion for the game.

6 hours ago, mvmac said:

I agree with what @JetFan1983 posted about golf getting the wash outs and leftovers.

It's true.

6 hours ago, mvmac said:

Having said all that, I believe there are more quality instructors than there have ever been and there is more motivation to become a competent instructor. It's no coincidence that most (if not all) the good instructors I know are great people. They genuinely want to help their students and spend a decent amount of their free time honing their craft.

I also agree with that.

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Fair enough.  I did not mean to suggest that instruction is poor; only that the student bears some responsibility for the outcome.  If 8 of 10 people who think golf, or guitar, or anything else that requires a modicum of effort to become proficient at, wind up frustrated and disillusioned, the quality of instruction cannot be solely to blame.  A good student learns something each lesson.  Sometimes that means find another teacher.

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4 minutes ago, Piz said:

I did not mean to suggest that instruction is poor; only that the student bears some responsibility for the outcome.  If 8 of 10 people who think golf, or guitar, or anything else that requires a modicum of effort to become proficient at, wind up frustrated and disillusioned, the quality of instruction cannot be solely to blame.  A good student learns something each lesson.  Sometimes that means find another teacher.

Some.

But I think you're over-stating it.

And this kind of thinking kills me, because then you have students blaming themselves, when the vast majority of the time the problem was with the instructor.

People - golfers - need to hold instructors to higher standards.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

http://bit.ly/bmlesson - Download that (if you try to watch it in your browser, it won't play the full lesson. Count how many different instructions the guy gets. At one point, Brian seizes on what I think is the "right" piece, but then he quickly moves on to things #6, #7, #8… through about #19 or #21. I forget what the count was eventually, but… horrible lesson. Horrible.

I'm amazed how he starts the video... "No water, no lunch, it's not looking very pretty folks..."

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

http://bit.ly/bmlesson - Download that (if you try to watch it in your browser, it won't play the full lesson. Count how many different instructions the guy gets. At one point, Brian seizes on what I think is the "right" piece, but then he quickly moves on to things #6, #7, #8… through about #19 or #21. I forget what the count was eventually, but… horrible lesson. Horrible.

I had to stop watching it. Poor guy probably just lost. Such a shame, great example of an awful lesson though.

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I think the problem is not enough time for the instructions. Go to a lesson for an hour, pick up a few things, try them on the range for a week while old habits slip in or you develop new flaws as you correct old ones, then go see the pro again next week for an hour and repeat. 

but now with swing apps like swing profile where you can stay in contact with your pro (if they are willing to do so) to give daily feedback after your daily range session lessons can become even more productive. They can identify if you are implementing the technique they taught last week or catch new bad habits as they develop. 

But going to one lesson and expecting a miracle would be like going to one piano lesson and not understanding why you can't play awesome after being at home practicing for a couple of weeks. 

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What are your thoughts on indoor lessons from places like Golf Galaxy? They seem to have technology, but is the indoor experience lacking somehow. I've not taken indoor lessons, but am considering doing so. Primarily because of the access to video and other swing analysis tech. 

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9 hours ago, dennyjones said:

I'm amazed how he starts the video... "No water, no lunch, it's not looking very pretty folks..."

I know one instructor (not mine) that give you ONE THING to work on. He is one of the most popular around.

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Another reason is that it is really hard to tell, as an average Joe golfer, who is a good instructor and who isn't. I used to go to an instructor around here, and I improved from about an 18 to a 12 in 3 years. But then I got on evovlr and went from a 12 to a 5 in that same time (which is a lot harder to do). Looking back, I should have known my old instructor wasn't great. However, I was improving - slowly - but improving, and I never really thought that I could get into the mid single digits. So why I would I find somebody else?

I think that's pretty common among people who are somewhat athletic. Just by having decent hand-eye coordination, for example, you can cobble together enough of a swing to play some decent golf. So you might improve just by practicing and picking up a few band-aids from your pro. And you don't realize you could get really good really quick with a better instructor.

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As far a revenue streams go, there are certain avenues that I think golf instructors are missing, and I think are necessary.  

I don't know if this goes against an instructors "code" or whatnot, but I really think that good instructors should be actively in the club fitting/sales side of the industry.  

when I went to a club fitter this year, and a good fitter at that, I still walked away thinking that I would rather have had a good instructor do that work for me.   I mean, a good fitter will fit your clubs (length, lie angle, shaft) to your current swing.  excellent.   but, swings change.  especially for people that are actively working to improve their game.   A good club fitter may fit your lie angle to your current posture.  But, if you have a good instructor doing the fitting, the instructor may say, "first we have to fix your posture, then we need to fit the lie angle to your new posture."  

instead of, say, charging a student $600 for 6 lessons over the course of a summer, while the same student also pays $100 for a fitting and $1200 for a new set of irons..   I think it would be both extremely beneficial to the student and a bit more lucrative for the instructor to offer something like 6 lessons, at which time the instructor is constantly taking notes on fit, and then at the end of the 6 lessons, a custom fit set of irons, all for like $2000.   The student would walk away with a better swing and a set of clubs fit to that better swing.   win-win for everyone.  (or, 5 lessons, then the new set of irons, and a 6th lesson to make sure everything fits right)

 

 

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15 hours ago, iacas said:

I disagree. There are very, very few "poor" students so long as we're not defining "poor" as "refuses to practice." Because if we're defining it that loosely, then that's like 95%. :-)

So I guess I'll define whether the student is "good" or "bad" by how they behave during the lesson. They've paid for it, so most are attentive and trying their hardest.

I can see why, as an instructor, you would base your judgment of the students on their behavior during the lesson, however, I think as an outside observer, I would absolutely include "refuses to practice" in my definition of a poor student.

For those who weren't at a lesson, then all we have to go by are results.  So, for me, if I'm not taking the clinic alongside my dad and father-in-law (and I also pretend that I didn't know you or Mike either) then all I know is that they sucked before the clinic and they sucked afterwards.

If they weren't honest with themselves, then they might say that the lesson didn't give them anything and give people the impression that the instructor(s) weren't any good.

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I think a large part of golf instruction is centered around beginners and getting them started playing the game.  That is where the biggest gains can be made and the biggest bang for your buck so to speak.  It's more difficult to turn an average golfer into a good or great golfer.  I think it more of a matter of old dogs and new tricks. 

I've wanted to improve my short game for years and have taken lessons which were more suited to beginners. I went to a golf school in San Diego a couple years in a row and it was again more suited for beginners.  Yes, I can get out of a bunker 90+% of the time... but how do I improve my sand saves... How can I adjust the shot or hit different type bunker shots.  This seems out of the realm of most instructors.  I know there are instructors out there who specialize in better players but the cost is prohibitive.  That is why I like the concept of having a golf coach versus a golf instructor.  I need someone to help me analyze my game, find the holes and come up with a plan to fill them in.  That takes time, commitment and building a relationship and its a reason why I enjoy being a member of a country club.  I can be hitting balls at the range and the pro will be there and we'll talk about my game and he'll watch a few of my swings and give me something to work on... and I never have the feeling I need to schedule a lesson.  Then when my wife or daughters need to get lessons to be able to hit the ball in the air... he's who I schedule them with.  I've been struggling in the short game area and he will drive up and help me for a bit... I think he said something about "not being able to watch someone drowning without lending a hand".  Just my 2 cents. 

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  • iacas changed the title to Poor Instruction Is Very Common. Why?
Note: This thread is 1498 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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