Another letter from the DOC… November 2008

Gone full circle. What a useful English expression! I could of course be wrong, but I think it is used in situations where you feel you have started from somewhere, tried a variety of new things and then found yourself back at doing roughly what you did in the first place. Last week I did a Continuous Professional Development day together with a group of coaches, all members of the PGA. It was a group of very interesting individuals all with different experiences of both coaching and playing, although some of those experiences were very similar. After some discussion, presentation and learning, one of the coaches made the vitalising comment; “It is like if golf coaching has gone full circle!”

We have come from the old school where the experienced professionals were lead by what the ball did and coached in order to get the ball to do what the ball needed to do. We have gone via all sorts of video and computer analysis systems of the perfect swing, back to realising that none of that was actually any good unless the ball did what it was supposed to do in the first place. The only difference is that if we only chose to use the information that is known from research we could combine it with the old knowledge and be so far ahead. It is amasing that so many golfers around the world don’t.

When I spoke to a PGA Tour player not too long ago about his practice, preparation and coaching it popped up again; “I have gone full circle”.

He was talking about how he had kept things so simple working with his dad through his junior and amateur years and how things then became incredibly complicated when he hooked up with one of the World’s most famous coaches. Guess where he has gone now, or at least where he was a while ago when he was really performing? Gone full circle comes to mind.

The last example of going full circle I found when watching Swedish TV and a programme about the school system. The current government has a Minister of Education that has spent his life in the military. Guess where he wants to take school? Back to where it was when he was there. He is talking about more frequent tests, introduction of grades earlier and more focus on the basic subjects. Fine! Nobody can argue about the importance of knowing how to read, write and count but I love it when he is challenged by a researcher in the studio who has spent his life in education and thinks that results would probably be a lot better if the money that is now being spent on building control mechanisms was instead spent on facilitating the children’s learning. He claims the best learning takes place when there is a balance between an intrinsic wish to learn and an extrinsic demand to produce results. That could actually be a quote from a golf World no 1 who on the subject of motivation said; “I love to win tournaments and to find out if I can hit a certain shot when I need it the most.”

What if we could go full circle with a bit more attention to the new findings that actually have been revealed since last time around? What if we could skip the circle all together and just make sure that we moved forward taking both old and new knowledge into account? Then perhaps the Supernannies that are now resurfacing thanks to TV could combine their ancient methods with some of Jesper Juul’s theories on the Intelligent Child. What a world it could be!

And as for golf – I have your number John Jacobs and that lunch we have pending had better find a date soon! And no offence to the other John, but I am talking about the legendary one.

Best regards,

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

– Mohandas Gandhi

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