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Published: February 18, 2014
Amateur golfers often find themselves playing the role of athlete, mental coach, swing coach, short game coach etc. when it comes to their golf games. That's a lot of hats to wear and if it feels a little overwhelming at times, it should.
There's a reason that many, if not most, of the top athletes in any sport, including golf, have a team of people around them to make them better. It is not the athlete's job to know every intricacy of his technique, that is what coaches are for. It is the athlete's job to develop his talent and technique through the guidance of his coach.
Along the way, he will certainly develop more in depth knowledge of proper technique and hopefully gain an understanding of that technique to the degree that is necessary for him to properly execute the movements. But that is where the line usually stops in most sports. But not in golf.
Golfers, as obsessive as we tend to be, tend to fall more into a role of a "self-coached" athlete rather than just being an athlete. Golfers tend to strive to know every single inch of the swing thinking that will make them a better athlete.
Sadly, the opposite is often true, they become "coaches" and at that point they are no longer dedicated athletes, which is how all golfers need to think of themselves. If you are serious about your golf game, stop trying to wear so many hats and stop trying to understand the golf swing like a mad scientist.
That's likely not the reason you got into the game in the first place. You got into because you loved PLAYING, and playing is what athletes do.
If you want to truly improve, find a coach that you completely believe in 100%. Trust him completely with the aspects of your game that he can help you with and turn all the responsibility of that aspect over to him.
If you find a full swing coach that you trust, feel relieved that you no longer have to worry about all the minute details of the golf swing. Let him do his job and you do yours - which is being an athlete.
When I first start working with a golfer, especially professionals, and they start asking a lot of questions about the swing that I know will only shift their focus away from being an athlete, I always say the same thing; "That is my job to deal with that, not yours, you focus on playing."
If your business card doesn't say "Professional Golf Instructor" on the front of it, it is time that you kindly fire yourself and find a replacement. If you don't have a coach in your area or can't find one that you gel with, use this site as an interactive guide.
Understand that this site is a "Coaching Site", if you will, not a "Let's get into every single last detail of the swing" site. There are plenty of useless sites out there for that. I say useless because as an athlete, they are not meant for you, they are meant for coaches, and even then they can still be useless.
Your new role as "athlete" allows you to free up your mind and your time by focusing on performing the drills and exercises in this site, not understanding them in such a way that you can teach them to someone else. Again, that would be the role of a coach.
For the next several months, return your focus to developing your talent and cultivating your skills as an athlete, not as a coach, if you want to improve your game.
If you want to improve your coaching ability, then by all means, break down the swing into the "nth" degree, but realize there's a reason that coaches sit on the sidelines and the athletes are out on the field. Which do you want to be?
If it's the athlete, then begin the mental shift to thinking like an athlete again. Remember what it felt like when you were younger. You were far less concerned about your right elbow being in and holding the ball in your fingertips when shooting a freethrow than you were about just simply getting the ball through the hoop.
That's what being an athlete is all about. It's not about having perfect technique, it's about making what you have work for you. Make a concious decision today. Which are you going to be? The coach on the sidelines or the athlete in the game?
You can't be both. And if you are convinced you can be, realize that you are compromising your ability to excel at either one. You will be a compromise, a bit like an all season radial tire - decently good at everything but excellent at nothing.