Helping Your Students Improve By Sports Previously Played

by: Leo Halloran, PGA
Teaching, Coaching, & Player Development Committee Best Practice

During the interview process with a new student, one of the most prominent questions will always be what sports they have played or attempted to play. Sometimes students are caught off guard by the question but it is very informative to me as to how we can translate our message to the student in way that they will easily understand the principles in order make the golf ball go up, go at the target and travel the distance that the club loft will allow.

Having been fortunate to play basketball, golf, baseball, tennis and ice hockey in my younger years, it allowed me to experience the feel of success in all of the sports. When I started teaching the game of golf and studied the swings of the best players plus having many conversations with the well known Bill Strausbaugh and his knowledge of using other sports to teach his students to become better players. Thus my journey began to correlate what were common principles that I could use for the golf swing that people used to hit a baseball, a tennis ball and a hockey puck.

The following principles had to exist for success:

  • Proper Gripping of the Club, bat, racquet and stick.
  • Proper Body and Feet Alignments for Aim
  • Proper Body Posture for Joint Movements To Allow Body Rotation Lastly The Understanding to compress a golf ball, a tennis ball, a baseball and a hockey puck, there has to be a lagging component of the golf club, tennis racquet, baseball bat, and hockey stick. Simply explained would be the handle would be Ahead of the striking part of the golf club, tennis racquet, baseball bat and the hockey stick.

Students that have played ice hockey usually have a quality swing plane as the stick and club rest on an Incline like the roof of a house.

Students who have played baseball and tennis usually have good rotation of the body in the backswing and forward swing but usually struggle with swing plane issues.

Today we are teaching many students that never played these sports but have played soccer. They do understand ground forces and body rotation plus also they understand that they can kick a soccer ball further by their leg and foot moving in an arc rather than a straight line to give them better understanding of the arc of approach to the golf ball.

Today all field goals in football are kicked soccer style by small people, in my day field goals were kicked by big people like Lou Groza and Tom Dempsey because their foot and leg moved in a straight line.

Always remember “Those who dare to teach, NEVER cease to learn”.