If you’ve been golfing for a while, enjoying your time on the course, but also feeling like you’d like to see more improvements, it might be time to hire a pro for some lessons. If you’ve never worked with a golf pro before, or in a private lesson of this kind, you might feel some nerves going into the experience. This is normal. You’ll be working closely with someone whose job it is to critique what you’re doing and provide feedback. That can feel a bit stressful! But, if you can go into the experience with a positive frame of mind, you’ll be able to take the experience back to the course and see changes and improvements in your game.
Before you go to the lesson, know that feeling nervous, excited, uncertain, or even terrified is all normal. You’re stepping out of your comfort zone, and chances are, it’s been a while—if ever—since you’ve been in a coaching situation like this. If you notice that you’re thinking negatively about what’s to come, reframe these thoughts. Change them around and think about the positive parts of the experience.
When the lesson is happening, it’s normal to let your inner voice take over, questioning if you’re even doing things right, or wondering why you decided to take a lesson. When you notice those thoughts, use a cue and a replacement thought to help you. What are those? Well, a cue is a reminder. It could be something you say to yourself, like “stop it.” Or, it could be a visual cue, like a purple smiley face on your ball. After you say or see this reminder, you create a positive replacement thought. It could be something like “I am learning and need to give myself grace,” or “Focus on her words. She’s here to help.” Remember that mistakes are normal and are part of the learning process. Stay positive and remember this is the perfect place to have those mistakes happen because you can get feedback so that the same things don’t happen again when you go back to the course.
During a lesson, if you’re feeling nervous, it’s normal to stay quiet and simply try to take it in. But, challenge yourself to talk, ask questions, and communicate. If you’re unsure about something, ask! If you need to see something again, ask!
This is your time, so don’t be afraid to ask for more feedback or assistance. Try things like “Can you show me that again?”, “I’m not sure I understand. Can you break that down?”, or “I’m not feeling the difference. Can you help?” If you know that you learn best by doing, or by seeing, share this with your pro to get the most from your lesson.
Being ready for lessons is an exciting time, though nerves may also happen. Continue to work on staying positive and communicate with your pro; they are there to help you, and you’ll get more out of your lesson when you approach the experience with a positive frame of mind, and when you’re prepared to handle the nerves.