There are many reasons why golfers decide to take lessons. If you are new to the game, you may want to learn some fundamentals before developing bad habits. Sometimes, you may be in a slump and need a helping hand to get out of it. Or maybe your performance has plateaued, and you need a little nudge. Whatever your reason may be, booking a golf lesson is always a good decision.
Before your lesson, make a note of what you want to achieve from the session. No matter who you are or how well you play, you will only be able to process two or three teaching points. That means each teaching point is valuable. Unless you direct the lesson, you could walk away with swing corrections that don’t align with what you wanted to learn.
Be specific about what you want to achieve. For instance, before your lesson, you may tell your instructor, “I am a new golfer. I know I have lots to work on, but today, I want you to give me two concrete things that will help me build my swing fundamentals.” Or, “I can’t improve any further because I don’t hit the ball far enough. I want to work on increasing my distance.”
Showing up with the right mindset is key to developing a learning mindset. In this instance, I am referring to a phrase coined by educational psychologist Carol Dweck. Dweck demonstrated in her decades of research that how learners perceive a skill – in this case, golf ability – affects whether they will develop the habits required to improve.
If you show up at your lesson with the motivation to demonstrate to your instructor how good you are and how much you know about the golf swing, you will likely get defensive when given feedback. You will probably interpret one bad shot as “evidence” that you can’t make the corrections the instructor is suggesting. And you will likely revert to your old technique after the lesson because you don’t want the swing changes to make you feel uncomfortable.
On the other hand, if you show up for your lesson with a mindset that you are there because you want to learn, you will be more receptive to feedback. You will likely ask important questions when you don’t understand your instructor, and you will embrace the difficulty of making technical adjustments because you know that is how you will improve. Adopt a mindset of learning rather than a mindset of knowing.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you don’t understand a point your coach is making. Every question you ask is an opportunity to develop your knowledge about the golf swing. And the better knowledge you have about the golf swing, the easier it is to develop a mental representation of what you need to do to improve. As research tells us, a well-developed mental representation of the swing will help you incorporate changes more efficiently.
It’s crucial to remember that practice makes permanent. Embedding the coaching points into your golf game requires practice between lessons. Be sure to follow up on your lessons with regular practice to refine your technique and improve your golf game. Remember, consistent practice is key to becoming a better golfer.