How Much Should A Swing Coach Know About Fitness When Teaching Juniors
We are firm believers that to be the most effective coach you should stick to your expertise, swing coaches teach the swing and all aspects of playing golf, fitness coaches teach how to use the body and the more they work together the better.
That being said, you should definitely have a good understanding of fitness and the body to be a complete swing coach. Us, being golf specific junior fitness coaches, we must know more about the golf swing than a normal fitness trainer, but not step on the toes of the junior swing coach.
The golf swing is one of the most over analyzed movements there is, everyone has a theory, some have systems, some use physics, and some use technology. There are a million ways to swing the club and there are a million ways to teach golf.
If you understand these 3 fitness/bio-mechanics concepts, we think you’re ahead of the game.
1) The way the body moves in rotation and how limitations can affect the swing.
Your student stands there and makes the same move over and over in the swing, or do they?
As a swing coach you know that there are many scenarios that could happen on the course, from lie angles, shot shapes, feet positions and more. Simple limitations in the body can inhibit these without you or your student knowing why.
Weak or tight hips can cause excessive movements in the lower body, tight thoracic spine can cause loss of posture or early extension, and tight or weak shoulders can cause a chicken wing or an over the top move.
If your player has never been asked to make a certain move, it can be hard for them to comprehend thinking about and executing it in the split second it takes to swing the club.
So, if you’re having trouble getting your junior to make a certain move or comprehend your teaching, make sure you consider physical limitations and/or them understanding how to do the movement (coordination).
2) That many juniors get their power sources from different areas of the body and how to deal with them.
When teaching a youngster there are things to fix and there are things to leave alone. Kids are creative and you’ll see that a lot in the way they swing the club. They may have their own way of doing things that may not be by the book, but if they have developed great hand eye coordination and are a handsy player, let it go. There will be plenty of time to address as they mature.
Another example is, you may have a young junior that jumps at the ball at impact. They or you may not know why, but it’s because that’s where they get their power from. So, please don’t tell them to keep their feet planted at impact, because you just cost them 20 yards. Again, you’ll have time to address it later.
3) Juniors are going to change drastically physically if you have the opportunity to coach them through puberty.
One of the toughest aspects of working with a junior as they mature and go through puberty is the growth spurts and understanding how to deal with them. If you’ve had the opportunity to experience this, you understand what I’m saying, kids just get goofy at this time. Their legs get longer, the body tightens up, the clubs become too short, and they don’t understand how to move anymore.
For you it can become frustrating, because you can’t seem to accomplish anything on the range. I have spoken to many top junior golf coaches and they say it’s the best 6-9 months to dial in the short game. Some say with full swing, they have them swing as hard as they can and teach them to straighten it out later.
The most important thing here is that you understand where your junior has limitations either physically or bio-mechanically, what their main power source is, and when they’re growing fast and not having as much control of their body.
Seek out a fitness coach that has a great understanding of working with juniors and create the relationship that help you prosper as a junior coach, it will only make your job easier