Improve Golf Swing Performance – Take a Positive Approach to Learning!

Teaching student golfers to improve golf swing performance is as much of an art as it is a science.

Each golf instructor uses a unique method of evaluating swing patterns and teaching swing mechanics.

Some instructors believe the best method of teaching their students to improve golf swing performance is by identifying and correcting swing faults. Other instructors, however, take a more positive approach. These instructors choose to focus the student’s attention on the good components of their golf swing; helping to build up the student’s ability and confidence in their game.

In the book, “On Learning Golf” author Percy Boomer discusses his approach to teaching golfers to improve golf swing performance.

Boomer writes;

“To turn for a moment from learning to teaching. Most of the teaching of golf is completely negative— and a purely negative thing can have no positive value. Why do I say that golf teaching is negative? Well we can all find faults in each other’s game, millions of them, and we all start off to teach golf by pointing out these faults and “curing” them. I did this for twenty-five years, but I have now discovered that the right way to get a pupil to hit the ball satisfactorily is to watch for any good natural qualities that may be there and to build up the swing around them.

We all hit a good ball sometimes. Maybe with the beginner this is an accident, but the good teacher will use such an accidental shot, photographing it in their mind and starting away to build up controls around the qualities which made it possible.

In this way the beginner can retain their natural capacity to hit the ball and will gain confidence in their ability to do it—and so go on enjoying their game and improving it. But if the teacher merely points out to them a dozen or more faults in their swing they will become perplexed, confused, and fed up. For that reason I never tell a pupil their faults (which is negative teaching). I notice the faults, of course, and suggest the necessary corrections (which is positive). So I never tell a pupil that they overswing and break their left arm, I explain width to them. That is to say I give them a positive conception and by working on it they actually cure their faults without even being aware that they had them.

Now there is another point about teaching which I would like to emphasize. You will find that in this work I have not tried to set down a set of controls in one way and leave it at that. I have tried to set the same things down and explain them in many different ways. So when you find me repeating myself do not think it is carelessness! All good teachers must repeat, but never in exactly the same words or with just the same connections. I want to give you a clear idea of the controls which will enable you to produce an effective swing, and I do not mind if I have to say the same thing in a dozen different ways so long as one of the twelve gets home with you. I hope you will not mind either, because you should be able to pick something new out of the other eleven also.
I learned golf by the long way—trial and error—and I want to lead you away from that to a method which is methodical and is effective whatever your age or your handicap may be. If you accept my method of learning you do not need a lot of practice on the course to improve; you can assimilate the principles in your armchair and put in useful practice on the hearth rug—where you need no club because you can feel your muscular movements without it. You must learn to feel the sensations through your intellect and then forget them intellectually and leave them to your muscular memory or control system.

How long does it take to “learn golf”? Well I am still learning after forty-five years of it! I have known pupils who hit the ball very well after only four lessons and others who have taken a year or more to do even moderately well, but time is apt to level things out a lot. Golf is a curious game in being easy of comprehension but (sometimes) very long in realization. There is much darkness in the early stages, and it is only after a few years at the game that we really come out into full daylight and can assess our own possibilities.

Early difficulties are often emphasized by age or physical make-up. While I was writing this I had just started two young ladies—one of sixteen who is still at college but weighs about one hundred and seventy pounds and another in the early twenties who weighs less than half that. Apart from the weight of their clubs the conditions will be the same for both, yet obviously their problems will work out very differently. And we have all got our physical individuality and peculiarities in the layout of bones and development of muscles. But I have found by long experience that these things usually level themselves out in the end—I have seen many gifted and precocious beginners fail simply because they would not put in the hard work which is essential before the elementary stage is passed, and only when the elementary stage is passed can golf genius come to the surface…

…So do not despair if you are trying to learn golf, or better golf, and getting no results. It may be that you have been trying to learn too many things (like juggling with too many balls) and when you have tried to add just one more, your whole game has broken down on you. We will simplify the things you have to learn by stringing them together into cycles of sensation because they are then easier to remember and easier to add to.

If you work in this way your golf will be progressive. You will still (being human) get bad patches, but each bad patch will tend to be less bad and each good patch will tend to be better, because you are building up your game“.

Improve golf swing performance by searching for instructors who employ a more positive and progressive approach to their teaching.

Keep Boomer’s advice in mind when scheduling your next training session.

Check back soon for more articles and posts to improve golf swing performance!

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