You may or may not be aware that I play golf.
Not all the time but it’s becoming a passion, a bug.
I want to get better and it’s one of the reasons that it’s replaced tennis as a key activity – I feel like I can improve, my tennis just hurts my body and my brain. I’ll never be as quick, and don’t feel as if I can regain the fitness I had.
Golf, however is something I feel I can improve on. I can see potential in my game and it’s easy to motivate myself because the goal of simply improving each time I play is simple to follow.
So, I decided to have some lessons. I’ve played for a few years, and I probably should have taken these lessons when I started. The thing is that I told myself:
“If I can hit a tennis ball travelling at 80 miles an hour I can hit a ball that isn’t moving – how hard can it be?”
Trust me, it’s harder than it looks!
One of the other challenges I had around taking lessons is that I’ve been a teacher/coach/educator all my life and I can be critical of others when it comes to coaching, especially sports.
I swallowed my attitude and arranged a lesson with the local pro at my local golf club. He must be in his late sixties and been coaching for 40 years. He’s worked with some tour players, but his passion is grassroots stuff, getting people playing the game.
I was impressed with him. He very quickly “got” that I needed to learn in a certain way (I’m very kinaesthetic) and that I need clear instructions, along with an understanding of why it should be done like that.
It was a revelation. Two quick tips and I’m hitting the ball ‘properly’. You know when something just feels right. It was like that.
Here’s what I really learned though apart from the golf. I learned that taking a step back and accepting I don’t know everything opened the door to the possibility of improvement.
It would have been easy to continue playing the way I was which was okay, by the way. Instead, having the lesson has shown me how much I don’t know even with my thousands of hours of teaching ball sports.
That’s the second thing. I’d forgotten one of the most important rules –
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Now I do, I want to know more.
The third thing is that I’d forgotten what is was like to be taught. It’s been so long since I was in a ‘classroom’ environment myself that it’s easy to forget how nervous you can feel being scrutinised. I’m glad to be reminded what its’ like to be on the other side of the desk!
So beFORE (sorry) you make assumptions about things, and your level of knowledge, perhaps getting an insight from someone else may well benefit you. I know it certainly helped me in a few ways.