Talkin' with Dillon
The other week Clare and I were invited out to dinner – it was our first outing with young Jessica and boy was it good to get out of the house for a bit.
Our host’s young son was Dillion. He is a strapping lad, 17 years old, polite and full of questions. I was so shy at that age, but Dillion wasn’t afraid to sit around with the adults, join in with the conversation and enjoy a cold beer. Good on him.
After a few minutes of idle chit chat he turned to me. “I hear you’re pretty handy on the golf?”
I laughed and told him in was good to give his Old Man a thrashing the other week. (I played with his Dad when I shot 63). Dillion liked my comeback. He is at an age where he likes beating his Dad and for the most part has the old boy covered. He’s big, fit and strong and I wouldn’t want to mess with him….
A little while later he asked, “what would you teach me?”.
I explained my coaching philosophy as quickly as I could. His mum was serving up the best looking BBQ I’d seen, and I was keen to dive in. So was Dillion.
“Yeah, but what exactly would you teach me?”, he asked again.
He wanted more and I was surprised by my answer.
CS: Have you ever had to write a 1500 word essay the night before it was due?
Dillion: Yep, all the time.
CS: And have you ever sat down to write one of those essays and just been able to pump it out in no time? Maybe, you even got to the end and wondered how you did it so quickly.
Dillion: YEAH. A few weeks back I had an assignment and I wrote it in no time. It as awesome.
CS: Great. And on the other side of the coin, have you really wanted to complete an essay but got completely stuffed in the mind? No matter how hard you try, how many times you sit down to do it, you just can’t get it done?
Dillion: Almost all the time. I don’t like writing much but sometimes the words flow.
CS: And what do you do when you’re stuck but need to get words onto paper?
Dillion: I try harder and remember all the lessons I’ve been taught.
CS: But that doesn’t work too well, does it?
Dillion: Nope. Not at all.
CS: You probably haven’t been taught this because so much of learning is aimed at working and trying hard. We’ve all been brought up to follow these rules – to follow the system and not question it. But the funny thing is, when we relax, stop trying so hard our performance system kicks into gear and magic happens. How hard were you trying when you were able to write the good essays?
Dillion: I see what you’re saying. I wasn’t trying that hard at all. They just happened.
CS: Well, I follow the same system when I coach. The temptation is to try really hard, follow a system and make sure everyone gets a heap of information. But I know this isn’t very effective – I know that too much info makes people stop learning and stop having fun. Worse, when I try hard I become less effective as a coach – I get worse, not better. So I don’t follow a strict system like most other coaches do. I have learned to trust myself – that all of the research, writing and coaching will enable me to deliver a great coaching effort.
Dillion: Your lessons sound like fun.
CS: They are. And the more fun you have the better you’ll learn. Learning shouldn’t be regimented – where you get told, “this is how you hold the club”, “this is how you stand” or “this is how you swing”. That’s boring. Now I might show you some grip stuff or give you some pointers on how to swing. But my point is, each lesson is like a new adventure. I let my subconscious lead me – and this happens after we speak and get to know each other. By the way, your subconscious is responsible for all those good essays you write.
Dillion: Can I come and have a lesson with you?
I think Dillion and his family will drop by soon. I’m looking forward to it because kids are the best pupils – they are sponges when it comes to learning and rarely have any preconceived ideas about what’s right or wrong. They’re happy to explore and are most likely get some fantastic results. They also have fun and that absolutely suits my coaching style. Nothing is too serious and it’s always good to have a laugh.
Adults need to restore their childlikeness. You need to stop worrying about what others think and stop being so damn regimented. You need to relax and enjoy the experience of hitting the little white ball. Some rules are made to be broken.