My Golf Coaching Dream


6 December 2016 (Pasadena, CA) I am a teacher by trade. I teach at a university and I am in contact with young people striving to get a higher education. There is nothing more satisfying than when something clicks in the classroom. I am also a coach. For years I have coached my children’s AYSO soccer teams and school volleyball teams. I do well with youngsters because I am not technically advanced in either game. I focus on fundamentals and enjoyment. Some kids get hooked by that simple recipe. Recently, my old high school was searching for a golf coach. A co-ed school and a co-ed team. I played there as a student. I thought about it for a minute but knew my university commitments and my kids after school activities would postpone my application. But this is my dream. I would love to coach a team that brings golf as a new activity to the school…a high school preferably. Places where golf is a foreign game. I wouldn’t want to coach at a school where parents were trying to filter their kids into the golf programs at Wake Forest or ASU. Ideally an urban school with lots of diversity. Both boys and girls. Get them hooked on the game. Not the mechanics or minutia of the rules, but the fun of the game. For the love of it. Strolling through the park at sunrise, watching the deer frolic, dodging skunks, protecting your snacks from squirrels, going eye-ball to eye-ball with a coyote. Enjoying the camaraderie of good friends. Celebrating the good shots, laughing over the bad ones. A coach. Taking kids out of their comfort zones and building confidence and character. Teaching them that golf is cool. A sport with a history that goes back centuries. Educating them on that history, Old Tom Morris, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, Charlie Sifford, Tiger Woods. And lets not forget the ladies, Babe Dickinson, Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa–just to name a few. A game and an education. And what about the spirituality of golf? The meditative nature of the address and the focus required to strike a ball purely, the cognizance of the beauty of time and space? As an example, this year I experimented with having my volleyball team (11 year old girls) meditate before games. I had noticed that after a day of school they were energized to shift conversations to the mundane and allow their energy to soar to the point of distraction. That distraction would surface in the game. So after a few minutes of blowing off after school steam, we found a quiet place and meditated. I found that in our fractured lives of sensory input(s) guiding athletes to stillness is a gift. It is powerful. It is focus and it worked, both in performance but enhancement of the moment. So when I think about coaching golf it is more than just ball striking–it is educating and quieting to the point of powerful stillness. Power, not in the sense of victories, but in the sense of being present. Present in a game that reflects more than skill, but the very nature of our lives.

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