Best Practices for Teaching Professionals

By: Alan Ochiai

1-Know your craft


You have the responsibility to get results from your players. Observe other instructors, successful and otherwise, to see what you can learn and apply. Fluency in as many teaching approaches and facets of the game as possible can help you coach a diverse range of players. Don’t be afraid to look into and apply methods that differ from your own. In fact, make it a point to learn them because something you think you’d never use on the lesson tee can be exactly what you need tomorrow. Take lessons from other instructors and practice your own skills. Your ability to demonstrate is a powerful tool for visual learners and validates your credibility.


2-Study the great teachers and coaches


Include a wide spectrum of disciplines besides golf. Be flexible in your approach as each player has different skills, goals, and past experiences. Be sure to read and re-read classic instruction books. Keep learning the latest technologies. The ability to blend science and communication prepares you to select the simplest solutions.


3-Know your student


Understanding what your student can and will do to reach his or her goals is essential. The interview before the lesson is your way to find out your student’s experience, physical injuries or limitations, and even their learning style. Your student must feel a safe, supportive environment in order to learn and improve. Introducing concepts that are understandable and attainable to the individual in front of you is your goal. Do not assume your students know golf terminology or have any particular abilities. It’s amazing how often they don’t. Establish a plan for attaining those goals and agree on reasonable commitments of time and resources.


4-Be professional


Present yourself as a proper representative of the game and our profession. Dress professionally and conduct yourself with proper decorum. Punctuality is imperative. Honor all your time commitments by being prepared, present, and ready to always do your best. Return all inquiries for lessons promptly and in a professional manner, even if your schedule is full. If you can’t accommodate a request offer suitable alternatives.


5-Provide a consistent product


Have all your tools available and in good working condition for every lesson. Any amenities or special services that have been promised or implied early on must be provided. Offer only what you can give.


6-Honor the game


Be sure to impart your respect for the rules and values intrinsic in the game. Your role as coach extends past the physical techniques required to help a player move to the next level. The opportunity is yours to help develop character, courage, and a new steward of the game.