Why less time at the course and lesson tee can equal greater results.
I’ve had (and still have) a lot of students comment or completely avoid my instruction because I give half hour sessions instead of 45 or hour lessons like most other instructors in our area and they think they are getting more with the additional time spent. Now, the students who do take lessons can attest, I WILL CRUSH YOU IN 30 MINUTES and most of the time, students will need breaks or “tap-out” before the session is over. Here are a few reasons that I give 30 minute lessons and also believe that they are BETTER FOR THE STUDENT, then hour long sessions.
Concise Information – Most student think they should cram as much information into a lesson as possible. I love listening to amateur golfers on the range spitting out swing tips left and right. “Set your wrists, turn your shoulders, keep your head down, lead with your hands, extend the club right, turn left, don’t sway” and that’s just the thoughts for one swing! The student hits 30 bad shots in a row, then in a moment of pure luck strikes one perfect. The teacher yells, “SEE! I TOLD YOU!” and takes credit for your shot. In reality, our body and mind can handle one, maybe two new motions at a time. If you flood it with information, we just get a muddy pit of junk that doesn’t make much sense and hurts our game more than helps. Short lessons allows the proper amount of time to focus on one mechanism of the swing and allow the student to stay focused.
Focus – Recent studies have shown us that adults can focus on a singular task for roughly 30-45 minutes without distraction, after that, our mind will wander off and start doing different things. How often have you started your practice session with a large bucket and one swing thought you were dedicated to working on and half way through, you had 3 completely new thoughts and still weren’t hitting it great? Half hour lessons allow me to recap the previous session, check progress and utilize 20 solid minutes working on one thing. The progress we can make when we stay focused on the process is incredible and excess time doesn’t allow for distraction.
High Intensity Reps – My goal in any lesson is to a.) get the student to understand the motion we are making and b.) get as many CORRECT REPITITIONS as possible. For those of you who are gym rats, you have probably heard of High Intensity Interval Training, where you do short, fast bursts, then rest. I teach a similar process, a ton of drills moving fast, then hitting balls with your normal swing. The goal, train your body to produce the motion without thought. Eventually, if you make the move enough times, your body will start to repeat it. I’ve found that 10-20 minutes of drills is about all most students can handle, and need.
True to the Plan – This one is more for me as an instructor. 30 Minutes requires me to create and stick to a plan. If I waiver, it wastes time and students hate that. At the start of each day, I review all of my students and what we need to accomplish in that session. I create a game plan for the day and execute.
More Bang for Your Buck – I wish that money was not part of the equation, but it is. I charge $250 for a series of 5 lessons, other instructors charge between $350 – $550 for a 45/60 minute session. Sure you get “more time” with the instructor, but what are you accomplishing? You either cram in a bunch of info (we’ve already discussed why this is bad) or the instructor is watching you practice. Now, while you might like the instructor watching you practice, here’s the deal… you will have to practice without the instructor at some point to improve, so why pay to have them watch? National Golf Foundation has found that most relevant information is given in the first 15 minutes of lessons, so why pay for all the extra fluff? Bottom line, if an instructor can’t asses faults, communicate a clear plan of action, and work through some struggles you may have in half an hour… you may want to consider a new instructor.
Now, everything above applies to your personal practice sessions as well. Less is more. Be precise, hit a medium bucket and focus rather than just pounding away mindlessly or worse, just trying things. Take time to set up your practice stations and time to clean your equipment afterwards and most importantly, have a plan and execute!
If you have any questions regarding the above info, JUST ASK! I love to talk about golf!
All one putts,