GOLF TEACHING PRO®
OF GOLF INSTRUCTION
Dr. Gerald Walford, Professor
USGTF Level III Member, Pippa Passes, KY
PART IV in a Six-Part Series
often means that the teacher has to adjust to the student.
VARIABLES THAT AFFECT LEARNING
Motor learning has given us learning variables. Modern teaching
requires that you use as many of these variables as possible. The
skill learning process is influenced by the following variables.
There are two categories of variables – internal (within the body)
and external (outside the body).
Leaning Variables: Memory, Attention, Motivation
External Learning Variables: Feedback,
INTERNAL INFORMATION VARIABLES
All experiences go to short term sensory store where it is held
for a second to decide if it is worth storing or to be let go (forgotten).
If the information is processed it is stored in short term memory.
Here the information can be lost in 60 seconds unless it is rehearsed
and passed into long term memory. When passed into long term memory
it can be recalled when needed.
golf we want our long term memory available when needed so we can
remember how to play the shot at hand. Past successful experiences
are used to prepare for the present situation. How we play sand
shots, uneven lies, etc. are all governed by our memory of past
experiences, good or bad.
Emotions play a part in our memory. Traumatic experiences create
an indelible picture in the mind, usually not forgotten. Bad shots
create traumatic experiences. If we get too emotional over a bad
shot, we create a strong negative picture or image in our mind.
This negative picture can creep into our mind for future shots.
we create a good shot our emotions are subdued because we expected
the shot to be a good shot. This reaction may not create the indelible
impression on the mind, so it may be lost in memory. Many psychologists
are now teaching their students to get emotional over good shots
to create that indelible picture in the mind. The mind stores this
image in memory for future use when needed.
stronger the emotion, the stronger the image in the mind. When we
get very emotional over a shot into the water then the next time
we face the water or a similar shot we may get a strong negative
reaction to the present shot. We may now have a loss of confidence.
When we hit a good shot, we often do not get emotional and we pass
it off as expected. Since we pass it off as nothing, the shot does
not make the indelible impression on the mind. Psychologists now
recommend getting emotional over the good shots to build good strong
successful experiences in the memory. This does not mean going through
an elaborate display of happiness. Just let it settle in the mind
strongly. Enjoy it.
Concentration, focus and attention are relatively the same thing.
It is the ability to focus on the relevant cues and eliminate the
irrelevant cues. This sounds easy but under pressure, and the greater
the pressure, the more the mind goes through attention shifts to
various cues. Problems occur when the mind shifts from relevant
cues to irrelevant cues. This is a continuing problem with golfers
when they are over the ball. Their mind is shifting from cue to
cue – good and bad cues. The mind is moving into a scatterbrain
approach for the shot. We all know the devastating results this
teaching does not encourage the student to stand over the ball too
long before striking the ball. Too long a delay and there is more
time for the mind to shift focus. Good golfers do not stand over
the ball too long because their mind is set, they know what to do
and they do it. They do not let the mind wander.
Brook’s Cue Utilization Theory states that as arousal or anxiety
increases, attention narrows. When our attention narrows we may
miss some relevant cues. This can happen when under pressure. The
golfer forgets a relevant cue like the wind and its direction.
You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink – old
saying but it applies to golf students. As the great teacher Percy
Boomer has stated, “There comes a time when the student must accept
responsibility for his/her learning.” There is intrinsic motivation
and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is when the student
is internally motivated with personal goals, fun, enjoyment and
satisfaction. Extrinsic motivation is through the use of rewards,
trophies, money, prizes, etc. Unfortunately, there is plenty of
research that shows rewards often result in short term motivation.
Internal motivation is the strongest style.
cannot take place without feedback. The two styles of feedback are
intrinsic feedback where the student gets feedback from their internal
senses like eyesight (visual), sound (auditory), feel (kinesthetic),
touch, smell etc. External feedback comes from instruction by the
coach or teammates, video, etc. Each of these styles have the following
types of feedback.
information feedback is provided after the response has been
completed. This is the most common type and must be given soon after
the response. Too late and then feedback is of little value.
feedback is given before the response. Care must be taken with
this as the performer may fall into too much information overload.
We all know this is detrimental.
information feedback is information given during the movement.
This is often a weak form of feedback as the student’s mind has
been set for the execution of the skill and cannot change the pattern.
The key to the use of feedback is timing and accuracy.
Practice is the most effective way to improve performance. Naturally
the practice must be correct. Practice and feedback go together.
Mental practice is also important in helping the learning process.
This is where we transfer another skill, or part of a skill, to
the skill we are trying to perform. Golf teachers often do this
with concepts like tossing a ball underhand to get the feel of the
body movement for the weight shift. Some use the baseball swing
for the golf swing. There are many transfers but be careful in teaching
a transfer of one skill to another. A bad skill transferred to the
new learning skill will not work. For example, a bad baseball swing
cannot be expected to transfer to make a good golf swing.
the variables that effect learning only enhances the teaching professional’s
concept of what we are trying to accomplish.
to Main Articles