Good Player = Good Coach?

The fact that you clicked on this title, especially this tile with a question mark at the end, I’m guessing you think that I don’t really agree with this sentiment.
 
You would be right.
 
Damn.
 
First and foremost let’s understand that being a good player CAN BE very helpful in coaching. It goes without saying that it helps to demonstrate effectively and of course it’s helpful when teaching certain speciality shots that require a certain amount of skill. This is par for the course.
 
Where I think it is particularly helpful, though, is in building trust. Working with a coach who has proved they can walk the walk as well as talk the talk in the pressure cooker that is top level golf undoubtedly boosts the player’s trust in them. As you would know, or come to know, on this website or in THE GOLF COACH, I believe that trust is one of the key components to effective coaching. 
 
So, yes, being a good player can be extremely helpful when it comes to coaching.
 
However, think about all the other skills that come into top level coaching:
 
– Making people feel welcome
– Giving players ownership of what they’re doing
– Structuring a lesson
– Being able to communicate your message in an effective manner
 
And the list goes on and on. How many of those would be influenced by how good a player you were?
 
Very few. 
 
Actually, almost none. 
 
These are the nuts and bolts of top coaching. So, if there is almost no connection between playing at a top level and the key components of coaching, well, you begin to question the validity of whether you NEED to be/have been a top level player.
 
What’s more, in my experience, better players will tend to offer the coaching that they best responded to as a player. This isn’t their fault: they have been used to thinking only about their own performance and they have clear evidence that what they did worked.
 
However, my own personal belief is that there are many ways for players to improve as each individual should be treated just that: individually. The notion that there is only one path to improvement and that a good player, having trodden that path, is the best person to guide you is, in my opinion,  a misnomer. There are so many ways to get better at this game, depending on a whole variety of factors, that having a larger scope of understanding of the wide variety of golfers out there can be helpful.
 
So, if you’re not a good player (like me) then fear not, although helpful, being a better player is not an absolute prerequisite if you want to progress in coaching.
 
If you are a better player (definitely not like me) then embrace the fact that you are, harness it and use it whilst all the time keep your eyes and mind open to the myriad of ways for the job to get done.


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