Behind the scenes

A couple of days ago I spent some time with a very successful coach from another sport whose job is now to support a variety of different sports. It was no surprise that we came to talk about the process of reviewing performance and how we find out what to work on in order to improve this performance. Everytime I speak to anybody from another sport about this I get this feeling that we golfers just have not thought this through. It is not that we do not try. Lessons with coaches, scorecards and statistical analysis software are all valuable tools in finding the key to improvement. But when you see things like the combination of video and computer analysis (http://www.prozonesports.com/index.html) used in team sports and the kind of information that can come out of that you go – oh, maybe we are not that advanced after all.

One big issue in golf is how to capture performance. Stats in golf is often thought to be the ‘be all and end all’ when it comes to recording performance. Some methods certainly are a lot better than others but the problem for all of them is that they are only descriptive – they will only tell what happened and not why and under which conditions. That is what the video does in football.

When we video in golf we tend to do it of the golf swing, a tiny little part of the performance. What we should be spending a lot more time on is capturing the whole performance, i.e. I) what were the tactics (course management) like? II) what made you make the decisions you made? III) would you make the same decision again, and if not what would be a better one? IV) did you execute your decision in the way you wanted, and if not how would you change? V) were there any correct decisions that you could not execute, i.e. are there technical limitations that you could do with working on?

In all of these questions feedback is needed to improve. Where can we get the feedback? Well, if your coach is not there then the only way will have to be to get somebody to carry a video camera and follow every shot. And in today’s day and age – that is actually not that difficult!

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