Mark's Coaching Philosophy
My coaching revolves around the principle that the player is control of his own development and progression. For peak performance the player needs to be in total control of his own game and have core knowledge base of how they swing, best practices and key performance points. My role is to direct the player in the right direction helping them to gain relevant knowledge and understanding. The player ultimately controls his movements and decisions and is not coach reliant.
The amount a player can improve comes down to athletic ability, work ethic, motivation and desire.
Improving a players impact lies at the heart of any player progress. As complex as the mechanics can be and given the amount of information available from modern technology improving your golf still revolves around improving your impact - the only thing the balls knows is what was the club doing at that instant of collision.
My favourite quote from the great Tommy Armour, "Under-stand the swing in its complexity to teach it in its utter simplicity."
Having started playing the game at a relatively late age I have always been fascinated with the mechanics, the science, the psychology and the human elements of performance. Since qualifying as a PGA Professional I have continued to develop a deeper understanding of the game and have learnt from some of the world's top coaches.
I have a great interest in the physiology aspect or how the body works and its effects on the golf swing. Having spent much time working alongside golf specific physiotherapists and strength and conditioning trainers I have gained great experience understanding what principles are crucial to improving the mechanics of the swing. Back in 2004 I was privileged to attend a golf specific physiotherapy course lead by the legendary and late Ramsay Macmaster, perhaps the worlds foremost golf specialist. This lead to two immediate conclusions
1. I did not really understand how the body worked
2. I could see huge potential in improving a players performance by understanding and knowing how to improve a players basic movements.
In 2006 I was introduced to 3D Motion Analysis with another world leader in his field Dr Robert Neal, a fantastic biomechanist who was years ahead of the game is his development of not just his knowledge but in developing his own system of 3D measurement in the golf swing. This science deals with the efficiency or effectiveness of a players body movement in delivering the club to the ball. My understanding of human movement allowed me to understand why the body moves the way it does in an efficient golf swing.
Over the next few year further technological developments such as high speed cameras, Trackman and the accessibility of new information on the internet and social media have all further enhanced my understanding of the golf swing.
To see more information about by continued learning and areas of specialised knowledge click here.
Over recent years I have tried to learn about how we learn. Questions that constantly run through my mind are:
I am striving to better understand the psychology behind peak performance, optimum learning conditions and best practice methods.
I use video in most of my coaching, either on the dual fixed camera set up or with the high speed camera. Video gives me a second pair of eyes to see a players movement in detail and confirms what I may see with the nakled eye. Video also gives the player a chance to understand what they are doing and what needs to change to improve impact conditions.
For an even more detailed view of the swing I use a high speed camera. Standard video struggles to catch impact, the one moment that needs to be understood. High speed catches x10 more frames per second than standard.
Trackman has been a huge development in my understanding of ball flight and impact. No longer are we guessing as to why the ball flies the way it does.
From a coaching point of view using trackman has been a massive help to my coaching. The data provides accurate facts about both clubhead and ball.
Any player serious about there game should have a clear understanding of their numbers and ball flights. Take the guessing out of the equation and understand the facts!
3D Motion analysis provides a detailed assessment of how effiently a player swings the club. Like trackman we are dealing with facts about how the player moves. Rather than club and ball data 3D captures the body movements as you swing.
Speeds of the various body segments, range of movement and the all important timing sequence can all be measured. Improvements may come from technical changes, concept changes or physical intervention.
I have spent a lot of time learning and understanding the physiololgy and science behind human movement. How well you move, your mobility, stability and strength have a huge impact on your golf.
i have worked alongside a number of physiotherapists, personal trainers and strength and condtioning coaches along with my players. I have a number of speaciists that i refer clients to, all have a great gholf knowledge and experience.
As simple as the putting stroke may be I see obvious mistakes on a daily basis by so many players. Peforming under competition pressure forms the basis of my putting coaching. Challenging and competitive games and exercises on the practice ground are key.
Variety and imagination is key. All good short game players love the challenge of the short game. By developing a variety of basic shots around the green any player should be capable of shaving a few shots off their score.
Like putting, playing challenging and competitive greens is the fastest way to sharpen your game and develop a competitive edge.
Over the last 12 years I have continually developed the junior programmes at Styal Golf Club. It is now one of the finest junior golf programmes available in the north west. The great facilities at Styal and the family friendly club offer the perfect setting for junior develpment.
All juniors are welcome from complete beghinner to the budding tour pro.