Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Essence of Teaching

Manuel de la Torre is member of the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame, he is a proponent of Ernest Jones' swing principles. Application of his concept and 60 plus years of experience offers great insight to the essence of teaching.

In a 2000 seminar, he said the following as he shared some thoughts on teaching:

"You do not want your players to go through a metamorphose. You want to keep the same type of swing and make it used better by that person."

"You do not want to teach a person a swing you would like to see."

"I don't care what they look like. What I want them to do is to see the ball fly the way it should fly. I don't care what they look like."

His swing instruction is based on principles of balance, geometry and physics. These three core principles apply to all golfers.

Balance - Assuming the swing is a circle. Balance during the swing allows the club to return to where it began easier because the swing's center does not need to be re-established.

Geometry - Horizontal chords of a swing's circle are parallel to the target line (tangent). If club swings back parallel to the target line when horizontal to the ground, then it is easy to swing back to target (tangent) line forward. If swing is not parallel then the club must be re-routed.

Physics - If an object is propelled with another object in a certain direction. Both objects must travel in the same direction. The whole club going there is more important than the ball going there as the ball reacts to the club.

By use of these principles his focus with any player is on the golf club rather than a player's body.  This differs with much of today's golf instruction that is focused on body action. And in some cases the club is omitted all together.

He applies these principles with all students and concluded on the topic by saying:

"If a particular player sets-up in a particular way and had played golf well like that, then I would not change him. That's his way."

"You do not say, Well you have to do this because I believe so. Example the grip, if a player hits it straight with a hook grip, do you change it? No."

"What I like to do, make him use that swing he has better. Do not change him because you like it. That's the essence of teaching. Use the assets and liabilities a person brings to you, mold those two things and make a golf swing for that person."

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