How are instructors that can't give lessons right now staying in touch with students?
Image from Golf Digest
Since the pandemic started to shut down everything, I’ve not coached in person like I use to. I’ve been meeting with players on Zoom, giving FaceTime lessons, and also using various apps. For most of my players I’m trying to switch over to the Golf Stats Coach app. The combining of stats and swing videos helps to get more info than just a video.
Positive Vibes Only
This is the time to really get to know your students on a personal level. What things they are interested in can help you as an instructor. For example, if their favorite golfer is Bubba Watson, their favorite show is American Horror Stories, and their favorite club is a 1-iron; this student probably does not want to hit the same 7-iron for 25 consecutive swings at the same target during a lesson. This student may want variety and have a very creative way of approaching golf. Or maybe this student needs help narrowing in on their goals and need you to assist in setting some parameters for them. I am a big believer in the relationship we have with our golf students goes beyond just improving their backswing and ball flight. There is a trust and comfortability that we cannot take for granted as teachers.
This is also the time to get creative with our instructions/connection to our golfers. We all know plenty of drills and things golfers can do at home to stay engaged in the sport of golf. The one aspect that all golfers can do during this bizarre time of quarantine is practice their short games… Send them some ideas of how to accomplish some solid short game practice at home. This will only strengthen your teacher/student relationship and get them even more excited to take more lessons from you in the future.
Positive Vibes Only – this has been my mantra for a long time and it especially applies today. During times likes these, we all should appreciate the beautiful game of golf and what it brings to our lives. Invest in your students now and it will come back to you tenfold…
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Offer your expertise from a distance
I have recently started using a digital coaching mobile app, called PerfectMotion, that accurately measures body movements during the swing. The student runs the app on their phone and makes swings with or without a ball. The app uses AI to detect body motion issues in the swing and provides immediate feedback to the student. The app then allows me to see in real time what that student is doing through a body motion trace map.(See Supporting Image) This app detects movements that can’t be seen with video and gives me the ability to continue instruction from afar. When we get back to normal, the app will help me own the in-between lesson time and for right now you have the time to check out this new approach. Your students will love it!!
Erik Horve Golf Academy Players Staying Sharp During Corona Virus Pandemic
My students and I decided that we weren’t going to let the Corona Virus and the Stay at Home order interrupt our training.
Since mid March we have been working remotely and safely using FaceTime, Zoom and Skype. These sessions are scheduled as usual and have proven to be very productive in maintaining solid swing mechanics and training proper movement patterns.
Each player as a hitting net set up in the yard and/or garage and connects at the time of the lesson.
These remote live sessions have been so effective that many students have ask to continue them after our academies reopen as a supplement to our in person training.
In North Carolina we are still able to teach in person using precautions but some of my students choose to send videos, launch monitor data or scorecards rather than meet in person. I use a really simple app called Coach’s Eye to create a lesson voice over drawing lines etc. I will also film myself demonstrating a drill I would have them do during a typical lesson. For our kids that are quarantined, we have created some at home games & challenges that they can create, play & video. If they send me their video I’ll post it on social media. I’m glad that it appears we are heading in the right direction to get back to normal or the “new normal”. In the mean time we have been creative and discovered some different, safer ways to get the job done.
I do not use video but corresponde in a phone call. Students always start by checking the 4 address principles of grip, club face alignment, stance and posture. Then I may remind them of a drill or drills that we have used once they explain the problem that needs to be solved. For example, swinging a club at shoulder level sets a horizontal plane. Th bend the legs and slowly alter the circular plane until you are brushing the grass in the golf plane. No loops , just a circle.
I have many ways to sensate the feel of the swing through drills which I use with my students. Tell me a circumstance and I will prescribe a drill or drills.
Communicating golf instruction during closure
Every week, our club newsletter goes out to the membership and it is a great opportunity to submit a golf instruction video clip. At home golf fitness tips, to keep your game in shape, for example, have been was very well received. Although the driving ranges are closed and no physical lessons can be given, communicating golf instruction messages online is a viable substitution for the time being.
Analysis and virtual discussion
Right now I’m not only obeying the stay at home order in Colorado, but we have 8 inches of snow in our yard so I can’t even swing outside. Because of this, I have had to get real creative with my online lessons. Here is how I lay them out;
First I review videos from my student’s last lesson. We video every lesson. If there is a drill that can be modified to do indoors by swinging a short club or kitchen utensil, I will film myself doing it and send it to my student. If they can do it at their place, great.
Second, if they don’t understand it or need a different drill, I will have them film themselves and send it back. Then I will immediately schedule a Zoom or Google hangout with them. It is important to use a program where the instructor can share their screen with the student so everyone sees the same thing. Google Hangouts will let you draw on the screen as you go. This is important for the coach to make their point.
Finally, if the student is allowed on the golf course, I will have them film their swing and email it to me. We will then schedule another meeting and discuss where to go next. These lessons always start with review and practice of the last piece before new content is added. I don’t actually like adding new things right now because this isn’t the best environment to explain and practice.
All of these virtual lessons are done at a VERY reduced rate or complimentary for current students. Normal rate shouldn’t be charged right now for many reasons.
Stay Connected with Students
In this time away I feel it is important to stay in contact with your student base. To do this, I have posted different topics and tips on my social media platforms. I have also put on my social media a link where anyone can send me their swing and I will analyze it for free. Hopefully that will bring a little smile to their day. I have also kept in phone and text contact with many of my core students- checking on their well being and what is going on in their life. If students know you care about them more than just the hour they are in front of you they will appreciate you that much more.
Keep it "SHORT" and simple...(KISS)!!!
The short game is usually the first thing to go after the winter and a long layoff. Use your ingenuity to keep your hands, eyes, and body sharp. Practice chipping, pitching, and putting on your carpet to a coffee mug or a putting cup in your living room. You can even putt on your garage floor. You would be surprised how much your touch and feel improve!!! Try to focus on grip pressure…light is good. Take full swings in your backyard or garage. Repetition builds trust, trust brings confidence, and confidence builds consistency. The added bonus to all this is it that it takes you away from what’s going on in the world, and will make you a better player down the road!!! KEEP SWINGING!!! That’s what I tell my students.
Vary the content and keep it fun!
Trying to engage with the membership as much as possible has been my main goal. My focus has been trying to give them content they don’t normally see. I have been sending out videos of drills but my most successful interactions have been with drills that are games. This way the whole family can get involved and pass time. I have also sent out information on podcasts and tv programming that have I feel they would have found interesting.
Open but with a different feel
In Idaho we are still open for business. We still have to abide by the 6 feet of social distancing. I have given a few lessons and the distance factor definitely makes you have to demonstrate much more than normal. A few students are still reluctant to come to the facility. I have recieved many videos from parks and backyards. Trying to teach off of grainy phone videos is interesting but kind of a fun challenge. I strongly feel the key is to give simple thoughts and tips and keep students engaged until you are able to engage in a more normal environment. Some good instruction is better than none.
Website, Facebook, Email
The three media formats that I like to use is Facebook, my email and my personal website. As a teacher is Florida our season ended very quickly and I lost a lot of the tail end of lesson series and new Leasons during the end of March and all of April so far. How much info you want to share is up to you. I’ve sent emails to my students connecting them to my website which they can explore the various links and downloads. Facebook is good but all my students are not on Facebook or friends of me. I find that the email is most direct and a little more personal.
Virtual Golf Lessons
Staying in touch with students is a cornerstone of great teaching programs. When world events make it impossible to see students face-to-face, technology helps fill the gaps. A great place to keep working on your game from afar, is www.SwingEssentials.com . This online platform allows students to use their cellphone or tablet to record their swing, and then send it to PGA Professionals using their Swing Essentials Golf App. They see their swings from two different angles next to PGA Touring Professionals. The PGA Professionals at Swing Essentials then highlight what the student does well, and what the student can work on during their next practice session. After the swing analysis, the student receives video drills to reinforce what was worked on during the lesson. All the lessons are then cataloged by date so the student can monitor their progress. Give it a try today and visit www.SwingEssentials.com!
It is unfortunate I’m not outside in the sun teaching at this time but I’m making the most of being inside. I am currently staying connected through Phone, Virtual Lessons and Mostly Social Media. My Instagram account is a big part of how I stay involved with my students and golfers around the world. Giving them not only golf tutorials but also some entertainment. I enjoy also answering any questions from people around the world on social media about all their different golf games. We are very fortunate with the technology these days with Facetime and Zoom where we can interact over virtual lessons. Even though I still can’t be hands on it is still very helpful to keep my students up to date on their swings. As I’ve been at home for about 3-4 weeks now I can’t wait to get back to what I love.
Email blast about online virtual lessons
I have been a V1 Golf branded academy instructor for the last 10 years. During that time, I have accumulated well over 700 emails from the lessons I have given using V1. With this student database, I have been sending out email blasts about my online virtual lesson options with the V1 Pro App. In this email blast, I have communicated on how to take videos of full or short swings in their backyards or or even indoors using their phones or tablets. This has been a great tool to be able to continue to communicate with my students during this time where I can‘t meet in person for a private lesson.
I just called to say: how are you?
A simple call, text or email can go a long ways…It’s doesn’t have to be about instruction…You could offer to help out in other ways…
Teach more with Verbal Cures
I think that this is a really tough time to teach without spending quality time together. We have been forced to social distance because of the pandemic that is going around. When teaching we are so used to touching the student and moving them or the club they’re are using. That has stopped. We can’t see them anymore.
I now keep in contact by using text, email, or face time. I have sent my students a video of me showing them how to download the V1 Golf App, how to video, and then send me a swing. After receiving the swing I will analyze the swing and then send them back a fix with drills. With the video I send them we have developed a language they understand. I have learned how my students relate to swing mechanics differently. I have learned to speak their language and use their language to develop certain cues to help with their swing problems. I can do this in a text, email, or V1 video analysis.
Online Membership Sites
I am doing online lessons via Zoom and I also have a membership site with over 60 video lessons. I have been selling memberships for over a year but since the start of the coronavirus crisis I have opened the site up so that my students can access it for no cost. I included a “PayPal Donate” button on the pages so that people could make a donation of their choice if they found the content valuable. I have received over $2000 in donations since March 16th. If you would like help to start your own membership site, you can email me at [email protected]