Participation, development and performance environments all demand different approaches and strategies to coaching.
Participation coaching predominantly focuses on a golfer’s initiation into the sport with the coaching tending to be centred towards the teaching of basic skills. Whilst some young golfers will move through this stage quickly, recreational golfers may principally stay in this stage through their adult golfing careers.
Developmental coaching sees a much faster learning of skills and enhanced engagement with a competitive programme. Success in events becomes a greater focus as participants are seeking a higher level of performance standards. Predominantly this stage is inhabited by younger persons engaged in age specific golf programmes.
Performance coaching requires a greater intensity of performer preparation for involvement in competition sport. It is important not to assume this process takes place exclusively with elite performers, although the coaching process engaged will be that which is required for coaches at this level. It is possible for performers in a broad scale of ability to require to require assistance in terms of performance coaching; achievable so long as these performers are regularly competing with a strong commitment to train.
It is possible for a coach to engage in all three forms of coaching, although invariably this will be a performance coach who also works within the participation or developmental environments. Indeed, there is some weight to the argument that coaches with performance skills should be working with the developmental performer to ensure a strong performance fulfilment is met. Golf adds in a further complication common to many individual sports, that being much of the activity which takes place under the umbrella of coaching is in fact ‘instruction’. The instructor is delivering a ‘lesson’ in technique development. This undoubtedly has a very important place, for elite golfers alongside the novice, and still forms a major part of what our coaches deliver on a daily basis.
Why does all this matter?
It matters because if you are looking to maximise your performance enhancement you need to work under more than just an instruction influence, you need the input of a coach who understands the entire performance process. This coach will take a different approach from that of participation or development coaching, most notably in the intensity of the commitment to preparation, competition focus, extensiveness of contact, and the longevity and specificity of competition objectives and their associated goals. In essence, both the relationship between you and the coach, and the coaching environment, will be higher in intensity.
If you feel your game is missing this performance focus then please get in touch to discuss further.