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When do you ‘throw in the towel’ on an instructor


Goober
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I suppose the simple answer is when you are not seeing benefit from their help.  Instruction for golf or anything really is a two way street.  Not every student is for every instructor and vice-versa.  I used to instruct flyrod casting and found some people just unwilling to make suggested changes.  Those with ingrained bad habits were typically the most challenging.  I suspect the same goes for golfers. 

One should be real clear with an instructor what they are trying to accomplish.  If you struggle with a particular aspect of your game (say FIR's) then focus solely on that - then move onto another facet.  Also, it's important not have unreasonable expectations... "I'm a 20 index and expect to be a 10 after the lessons"... not likely going to happen.  

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I moved on when they weren't listening to me. Pretty simple in that case, really.

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Good comments so far. I would think if you aren’t hitting it farther , straighter and scoring lower within a week or two after lesson. Than it would be time to move on. Infact, I think one should notice a difference during the lesson immediately 

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1 minute ago, Goober said:

Good comments so far. I would think if you aren’t hitting it farther , straighter and scoring lower within a week or two after lesson. Than it would be time to move on. Infact, I think one should notice a difference during the lesson immediately 

If that was the case, then people wouldn't be buying packages nor would there be any improvement. Some things take time to engrain, especially when you have a history of making the wrong movements, need to adjust an incorrect setup, etc. If you want instant gratification, you may be looking in the wrong place. Lower scores and better ballflight within one week? Maybe if you were a 30+ handicap and you only hit banana slices...

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In my opinion it all depends on the skill level of the student. If your starting out you can go through an entire package plan of lessons before it's time to move on to someone who will work with what you have and improve upon it on an individual basis. Some instructors are good for beginners and down to maybe a 20 handicap. Your not going to Butch Harmon for a lesson on stance and grip at over $1000 an hour. If you are a decent golfer with a decent understanding of the golf swing then you will know pretty quickly if you and the instructor are communicating well and translating the instructions into results. If you are not getting anywhere move on.

I went to someone a few years ago with a driver problem and within 6 swings he could see the issues and had the Trackman data to explain the numbers to me. Then he explained what to change and within another six swings everything was fixed. Numbers were good and results were good. I understood what he was explaining and could make the corrections. He said well that was easy and didn't even want to be paid. 

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1 hour ago, Goober said:

Good comments so far. I would think if you aren’t hitting it farther , straighter and scoring lower within a week or two after lesson. Than it would be time to move on. Infact, I think one should notice a difference during the lesson immediately 

If this is the criteria you will never find an instructor to work with. 

The responsibility of the student almost always get missed when talking about coaches. IMO there is more of responsibility of the student than the coach. This applies to all learning situations. A coach can tell you what needs to be done however if the student can't perform the move is that on the teacher? (removing physical limitations here)

 

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I've worked with a lot of instructors and made a lot of switches, so I am not a good example to follow in that regard. What I didn't like when I went to Golftec was that I was prescribed the same drill over and over even though it was not working for me. However, I want to be careful here on my explanation. I am specifically referring to the prescription of the same drill, not about trying to fix one element of the swing. With good instructors, in my mind, they will prescribe a certain drill, and see that it is not helping you do what they intend it to do, and then will work with you on other drills that may resonate better with you. My belief is that there are 100s of different drills targeted toward various portions of the swing, and which ones work best is specific to each individual. "Swing to right field" was very destructive for me but may work great for someone else. 

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2 hours ago, Goober said:

Good comments so far. I would think if you aren’t hitting it farther , straighter and scoring lower within a week or two after lesson. Than it would be time to move on. Infact, I think one should notice a difference during the lesson immediately 

I think you intuitively know when to move on from an instructor or coach;  just like moving on from a job.   Based on your posts you spent lots of time learning how to swing and play golf;  not everyone has the ability to got practice/play 6 times a week when learning to play.  Some people also have more natural ability that helps incorporate the skills that are being taught.  As a result the learning time will vary from player to player.    I also don't think scoring lower goes hand in hand with hitting it farther and straighter as scoring is more that just hitting the ball far and straight.   Also,  what level of golfer are you referencing?  Beginner that has never held a club,  120s scorer, 100 scorer, 90s, 80s, 70s, scratch?  What is that player working to improve?      What do you consider scoring lower?  Is that lower floor and ceiling over the course of a season,  one round, one hole?

Your posts seem anti instruction other than for basics (grip, stance, alignment).  Lets turn it around;  when should a player seek instruction?  

 

 

 

 

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My dad got me lessons when I was like 16ish. I had two amazing short game lessons from the pro, then the third lesson was at the range. He sent us out to warm up and when he came out, just started changing my swing without watching me hit a shot. 

That was the end of that. Took me till 2016 to get another lesson.

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As a student, if you are feeling you are not progressing, you as the student need to make sure you communicate that to the instructor. If they are not willing to change tactics in teaching you, its time to move on.  Instructors need to do the same. If a student isn't practicing outside of lessons, it doesn't matter or shouldn't matter how much they charge they should move on from the student. 

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5 hours ago, cnosil said:

I think you intuitively know when to move on from an instructor or coach;  just like moving on from a job.   Based on your posts you spent lots of time learning how to swing and play golf;  not everyone has the ability to got practice/play 6 times a week when learning to play.  Some people also have more natural ability that helps incorporate the skills that are being taught.  As a result the learning time will vary from player to player.    I also don't think scoring lower goes hand in hand with hitting it farther and straighter as scoring is more that just hitting the ball far and straight.   Also,  what level of golfer are you referencing?  Beginner that has never held a club,  120s scorer, 100 scorer, 90s, 80s, 70s, scratch?  What is that player working to improve?      What do you consider scoring lower?  Is that lower floor and ceiling over the course of a season,  one round, one hole?

Your posts seem anti instruction other than for basics (grip, stance, alignment).  Lets turn it around;  when should a player seek instruction?  

 

 

 

 

There has been a few times when I thought about a lesson or two. When the ball was flying all over the lot. But I just worked my way thru it as best as I could. It all came down to a bad ball position. Or a grip that got too weak or too strong. 
 

Imho, after a solid week or two of working on the coaches advice. I would hope the student would see some type of improvements. And lower score should always be the objective. My group varies from 36 cappers. All the way down to scratch. I’m relating this post to golfers similar to me. Low 80’s to high 70 shooters.  Where improvements of a shot or two a round could be a huge change in our overall games. If I was a high capper, I would personally expect even more out of one on one instruction. And expect some major improvements if I put in the time and effort. And like I said, one should see some positives after a few weeks. If not, than I would hit the road. Just seems like these current YouTube instructor like speaking all the big terminology lingo acting like they are the smartest guy in the room. Which doesn’t impress me one bit. But that is just me 
 

anyway, great conversation going on here.

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24 minutes ago, Goober said:

. I’m relating this post to golfers similar to me. Low 80’s to high 70 shooters.  Where improvements of a shot or two a round could be a huge change in our overall games. If I was a high capper, I would personally expect even more out of one on one instruction. And expect some major improvements if I put in the time and effort. And like I said, one should see some positives after a few weeks. If not, than I would hit the road. Just seems like these current YouTube instructor like speaking all the big terminology lingo acting like they are the smartest guy in the room. Which doesn’t impress me one bit. But that is just me 
 

Personally I think your expectations are a little high regarding the improvement timeline.  My game is currently low 80s and I am trying to get my game to averaging mid 70s.  Much more than a couple of weeks work and I don't think it is unobtainable.  I also don't think a couple of weeks of instruction will help as I will probably go a couple of weeks between lessons.    During my last lesson we worked almost 2 hours identifying and working on what my instructor considered to be a very difficult problem to solve.  I may have days where I hit the ball better,  but I am not close to achieving my goal. 

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4 hours ago, JFish350 said:

As a student, if you are feeling you are not progressing, you as the student need to make sure you communicate that to the instructor. If they are not willing to change tactics in teaching you, its time to move on.  Instructors need to do the same. If a student isn't practicing outside of lessons, it doesn't matter or shouldn't matter how much they charge they should move on from the student. 

 

... One of the realities I had not anticipated was some students just aren't interested in putting in the work to get better. Taking it a step farther, some are resistant or refuse to change something that can be the main cause of their problem. It would be nice if all students tried their best and put in the practice or did their at home drills but the truth is they don't. Just keep in mind instructing is a business not a charity. And like any business the object is to make a living and taking money from a student you know isn't going to get better is part of the business. I do believe you should be honest and let the student know their progress will be limited or even stagnant if they don't put in the work or facilitate a change and what you may find surprising is some just don't care. I would compare it to some that insist on playing MB's even though they know a players CB or even a GI will improve their scores, but they love the look and feel and don't care about their score. Nothing wrong with that imo. 

... I had a guy in his late 50's that owned several car dealerships and always peeled off a hundred dollar bill to pay for his lesson but struggled with a hook and had a very strong grip. He refused to change his grip saying he tried it with other instructors and it didn't work, so he wanted me to cure his hook in other ways, and when I said that may cause more problems on top of still hooking the ball he replied "that's my problem". He was the first student that I realized could not be helped but he wanted lessons so I gave them to him. He stayed with me for a year, loved coming to his lessons and was only marginally better. I had another guy that lost a bet and had to take 5 lessons warning me upfront "I ain't gonna change a dam thing." 

...  The flip side is this can make an instructor really appreciate a student that listens, puts in the work and is willing to make changes. These students make teaching rewarding and instructors love them just as much as the student loves their instructor. 

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11 hours ago, Goober said:

Good comments so far. I would think if you aren’t hitting it farther , straighter and scoring lower within a week or two after lesson. Than it would be time to move on. Infact, I think one should notice a difference during the lesson immediately 

You will be switching every week then. Swing changes/improvements don’t happen overnight. You don’t break bad habits in one lesson, one range session and one round.  Tigers swing change after the 97 masters took almost two years.

 

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For me, I look for someone who can explain things to me in terms I understand. Then, we have a chance. I generally have good eye hand coordination, decent body awareness, and will put the work in. I just have to understand why I am making said changes. 

I had a friend who had ultra fast tempo, one of the wickedest over the top moves i have ever seen, and really struggled to change it. He got what he needed to do, and i believe the instructor (same one i was using at the time) gave him good advice. He just really struggled to ingrain it at all.

The reason i moved on from that instructor was:

1. He told me he was going to put some pictures and videos from our last lesson up on Coachnow and never did.

2. I texted him to ask for help with a driver fitting and he never responded to my texts. He had already helped me with a 3w fitting, so I thought a driver fitting would be good also. Guess not.

3. My friend above had also texted him to set up more lessons and was never responded to.

So, I moved on. He is fairly new to the teaching game, and I felt like he was missing some fundamental flaws I have always had and just didn't have the tools to help me further, but I liked him and was going to talk with him next lesson about some of those specifics,  but again, he didn't respond. What made it worse for me is I had sent several people to him, had always tipped him well, and we had played together several times. So, we had started developing a bit of a friendship. But, I dont have much tolerance for lack of response. There were times in the past that he hadn't responded and we had even talked about it, so this wasn't the 1st time. I just had to move on.

New coach almost gave me too much to think about and I told him toward the end of the lesson, we needed to break it down as I couldn't have 5 thoughts in my head. So, at the end of the lesson, and in the video breakdown on coachnow, we developed a plan. We have had several exchanges since on coachnow so that I am moving in the right direction. I will see him again after I get these first few changes done. These are ingrained habits and will take me a bit to fix. I also think these backswing changes will put me in a better position and maybe we wont have to do as much on the downswing issues.

I do admit that 30 minutes into my lesson with him, that he was giving me too much, and I can process a lot of info and have been a good player for a long time and know a decent amount about the swing in general, and my swing. That was at least a yellow flag for me, but I also felt it was my responsibility to tell him my boundaries also. It is a two way street. I told my last coach in our 1st lesson that what he was saying wasnt clicking. He gave me a different thought and explained everything differently and it clicked. To me, we have a responsibility to communicate back so that the instructor knows we are or are not getting what they are teaching. They should be able to re-explain what they are trying to get us to do or give us a different drill to do that clicks with us.

Lots of words here, but to me, it is all about communication. That simple. 

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17 hours ago, chisag said:

 

... One of the realities I had not anticipated was some students just aren't interested in putting in the work to get better. Taking it a step farther, some are resistant or refuse to change something that can be the main cause of their problem. It would be nice if all students tried their best and put in the practice or did their at home drills but the truth is they don't. Just keep in mind instructing is a business not a charity. And like any business the object is to make a living and taking money from a student you know isn't going to get better is part of the business. I do believe you should be honest and let the student know their progress will be limited or even stagnant if they don't put in the work or facilitate a change and what you may find surprising is some just don't care. I would compare it to some that insist on playing MB's even though they know a players CB or even a GI will improve their scores, but they love the look and feel and don't care about their score. Nothing wrong with that imo. 

... I had a guy in his late 50's that owned several car dealerships and always peeled off a hundred dollar bill to pay for his lesson but struggled with a hook and had a very strong grip. He refused to change his grip saying he tried it with other instructors and it didn't work, so he wanted me to cure his hook in other ways, and when I said that may cause more problems on top of still hooking the ball he replied "that's my problem". He was the first student that I realized could not be helped but he wanted lessons so I gave them to him. He stayed with me for a year, loved coming to his lessons and was only marginally better. I had another guy that lost a bet and had to take 5 lessons warning me upfront "I ain't gonna change a dam thing." 

...  The flip side is this can make an instructor really appreciate a student that listens, puts in the work and is willing to make changes. These students make teaching rewarding and instructors love them just as much as the student loves their instructor. 

I don't disagree, my point being I think a coach would want someone to get better and who they can work with. Word of mouth advertising goes a long way and your book of good clients is better than just clients. 

Money goes a long way until you get that one client who can send you spinning down and take your repeat business with them. 

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14 minutes ago, JFish350 said:

I don't disagree, my point being I think a coach would want someone to get better and who they can work with. Word of mouth advertising goes a long way and your book of good clients is better than just clients. 

Money goes a long way until you get that one client who can send you spinning down and take your repeat business with them.

 

... Of course as that is the goal but it just isn't always the case. Like a Dr asking his patient with liver disease to cut back on drinking and they don't, he/she isn't going to stop treating them. Obviously if a student is unhappy you would not want to continue lessons but I never ran across that in 5 years of teaching. 

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On 12/17/2021 at 9:30 PM, chisag said:

 

... One of the realities I had not anticipated was some students just aren't interested in putting in the work to get better. Taking it a step farther, some are resistant or refuse to change something that can be the main cause of their problem. It would be nice if all students tried their best and put in the practice or did their at home drills but the truth is they don't. Just keep in mind instructing is a business not a charity. And like any business the object is to make a living and taking money from a student you know isn't going to get better is part of the business. I do believe you should be honest and let the student know their progress will be limited or even stagnant if they don't put in the work or facilitate a change and what you may find surprising is some just don't care. I would compare it to some that insist on playing MB's even though they know a players CB or even a GI will improve their scores, but they love the look and feel and don't care about their score. Nothing wrong with that imo. 

... I had a guy in his late 50's that owned several car dealerships and always peeled off a hundred dollar bill to pay for his lesson but struggled with a hook and had a very strong grip. He refused to change his grip saying he tried it with other instructors and it didn't work, so he wanted me to cure his hook in other ways, and when I said that may cause more problems on top of still hooking the ball he replied "that's my problem". He was the first student that I realized could not be helped but he wanted lessons so I gave them to him. He stayed with me for a year, loved coming to his lessons and was only marginally better. I had another guy that lost a bet and had to take 5 lessons warning me upfront "I ain't gonna change a dam thing." 

...  The flip side is this can make an instructor really appreciate a student that listens, puts in the work and is willing to make changes. These students make teaching rewarding and instructors love them just as much as the student loves their instructor. 

I recently moved away from my instructor.  Honestly it felt like he had assessed me as a guy who had his own swing, wasn't open to change and was only going to do so much.  I don't know if that was true but that's how I felt I was being treated.

 

I went with an online guy - something that I swore I would never do but I figured I would give it a try.  I've been very happy although it's certainly taken time to fully click - the biggest issue that I had was grip - somehow my grip had gotten far too week - everything else that I did in my swing was compensating for that - I see draws in my mind so I had lots of funky stuff going on to hit draw with that weak grip.

 

Now that I've gotten used to the stronger grip - and that took a couple of months - things are starting to fall into place for me - of course that's led to an issue with hitting the ball left if I'm not careful but I'm okay with that, it's a miss that I used to always have.  I'm hitting a lot more solid shots and can tell that I'm on the way to more consistent ball striking.

 

That was my goal with these lessons.

 

So perhaps its important for a student to have a specific goal in mind?

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Taylor Made Stealth 10.5  Aldila Ascent Red R flex

Ping G410 5, 7, 9 wood  Alta 65 R flex

Wilson D7 forged 5-GW -  Mamiya recoil 460 R flex

Edison Wedges 54 and 59 KBS Tour Graphite 80's

EVNRoll ER 5

Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

Still on that elusive hunt for a 3 wood that I'm able to hit - I don't know why, I crush the 5 wood and it's really a 4 wood anyway. 

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