A Few Good Men…(Ok More Than Just a Few)

November 9, 2017
November 9, 2017
  • Kyle German

  • Conor O’Shea

  • Matt Diedrichs

  • Joe Garvey

  • Adam Cherry

5 Names. A Few Good Men. All of them former PGA of Canada Professionals, whose original plan was to create a legacy and career in the Golf profession. A couple great players. A social media up and comer. A solid golf coach. Now one of our Zone’s most solid professionals. All GONE!

I have been a PGA of Canada professional for 25 years. I haven’t seen this kind of exodus out of this profession like I have over the past 3 years. Now the Head Professional at my club Credit Valley Golf & Country Club has decided to leave as well. I get it. No really I do. Being a PGA Professional (meaning working IN the golf business and not playing the game as your job) these days is not easy. Pressures of Owners, Boards, Customers and Clubs to maintain budgets, make a profit and do the proverbial “More with Less” is now the norm. I’ve been there. I’ve felt this pressure. It’s unsettling. It’s sleep depriving. Add in some family pressure and the heartstring tugging and “POOF” more and more are GONE!

The Blog: Golf News Now just posted an interesting story on if you are considering a career change? It shines some light on things that are very telling about this business while asking you a very interesting question: “Can you see yourself staying in the position you are currently in for the remainder of your career?” I know that personally I  have found the Key to the Kingdom in coaching Golf. I know that I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life. It’s my joy, passion and every day I get out of bed I am EXCITED to get on the lesson tee. Good days or bad, I know that I have been able to create my success and been fortunate to have a Club that believes in all that I do. But just look at the response of the readers who voted on the Blog’s question: 

Every single professional that has left this business has had their reasons: Quality of Life, Work / Life Balance, Family, Money, Career Opportunity. Whatever the reason and whenever the decision is made I know that the battle is often equivalent to standing in an MMA Octagon and going 3 rounds with Connor MacGregor or the Ring with Floyd Mayweather. It is not easy. EVER! I think to make a change and walk away from something that, at times, was all you knew and wanted to do takes balls. We are a society that try to “read between the lines”  and forge our own ideas and reasons. We somehow cannot accept the simple fact that when you reach the end of the path and need to find a new one.

I admire all of those individuals who have faced this incredibly difficult decision. I faced it early in my career, but chose to stay and I am forever grateful. I am disappointed somewhat as well that really good people have left this business. One’s I think could have been game changers, new blood and ones that could have helped make a difference in this game of golf. I know my Head Professional is a wonderful man, great father, good player and LOVED being a Golf Professional. He’s chosen a new path that will give him the opportunity to do things he hasn’t done in a very long time. He’s excited about it. In fact as I watch him speak to members and tell them about it there is a little sparkle, a fire in his body language and tone. I think this is how I look when I’m speaking to my students because I found it. Now it’s his turn. For that I am so very happy for him and those who have found similar peace. I get it!

 

Sometimes CHANGE is a GOOD thing.

Coach Doug

What My College Basketball Coach Taught Me About Coaching Golf

November 3, 2017
November 3, 2017

Let me set the scene:

I remember the scene like it happened only yesterday. 4 seconds left on the clock. I make a fake up-court and break back to the ball being inbounded on our baseline. I know they’re coming, I can almost feel the foul coming before the hands touch my jersey. The whistle blows immediately as the pass enters my hands! “Foul! #31 You’ve got 2 shots!” said the ref. The crowd is going crazy. We have a 2 point lead, 4 seconds remain on the clock and I am heading to the foul line with a chance to ice the game! You would think at this point in the game that our foes (The Sheridan Bruins) coach would call a timeout to try to ICE me. As I was walking to the found line at the other end of the gym, listening to a Bruin player natter in my ear that I was going to miss and that I was a loser, to my surprise the ref blew his whistle and said, “Timeout Humber!” WHAT????? My own coach called the timeout? That NEVER happens! So as I sat down in the huddle and thoughts of confusion are running all across my brain wondering why my own coach was trying to ICE me, he says this; “Look, he’s going to make these two free throws, we know that. But whatever you do DO NOT TOUCH anyone after he MAKES them!” He then put his hand in the centre of the circle to which we ALL joined him and cheered “HAWKS”. I walked out to the foul line not feeling the pressure of NEEDING to make them, but feeling the confidence my coach had in me sat this point in the game. So in front of a very loud and bias crowd, I calmly sank both and just stood there as the Bruins ran down the court and attempted a last ditch effort for a miracle to no avail. We triumphed! Even though in that game I finished w 28 points, 6 three pointers and went 3/4 from the foul line, it wasn’t until years later I figured out what i learned that night!

It was the timeout that taught me the lesson. In fact I didn’t even realize for a very long time after that game how, my coach, Mike Katz’s decision to call that timeout was not an impulsive guess, but in fact a calculated effort to produce the very BEST result from his players. Mike is one of the most decorated and successful College and University basketball coaches in the Country. Having spent time w the national team and travelled the world coaching the sport, he has been successful on every level he has coached at. Now in retirement he is consulted by Universities and Colleges to offer his ideas and thoughts on how they can be great!

I believe being a successful Coach in ANY sport you need to be deeply rooted in your choice to make someone better. You need certain ingredients:

  • Desire
  • Compassion
  • Motivation
  • Influence
  • Rapport
  • Character
  • Realistic
  • Honesty
  • Risk
  • Teacher
  • Mentor

These qualities are all inside the headspace of Mike. Add in a very dry but great sense of humour and it all adds up to a coach who consistently produced teams and players who worked their butts off because we WANTED to.

These days I am fortunate to play golf with Mike, and while he is a borderline Svengali on the basketball court, he loves walking the fairways and chasing par at any chance. I think he has researched the golf swing almost as a much as he has how to break a 1-3-1 Full Court Press!  It’s in these times listening to him and chatting with him that I finally “get” the lessons he was teaching back in College. In fact I know that his coaching has had a HUGE influence on me and my ability to be to Junior Golf what he was to College Basketball. For that I am eternally grateful.

Golf is an individual sport. It is hard. It toys with your emotions. If you think long and hard about experiences you have had with coaches / teachers throughout your life I can assure you there are lessons inside those moments where you too thought “??????” what is this person saying / doing? We didn’t see it then. At least I didn’t. But if you can stay true to your convictions, provide a positive environment and not deviate, you will achieve your goal. It might not be titles, awards or trophies, but that’s not why we do it.

The lesson I learned almost 30 Years ago wasn’t about making a Free Throw to win the game as I thought it was. It was a coach pausing for a second to let his actions speak without saying anything except “when he makes these two shots”. Positive, confident, precise and a lesson learned.

Now it’s your turn, so don’t be scared to call your own “timeout” at a critical juncture.

Coach Doug.

When can you call yourself a Coach

October 24, 2017
October 24, 2017

 So Facebook asks: What’s on my mind…

I am sure this will completely start a firestorm but here it goes:

You consider yourself to be a Golf COACH, saying I COACH golf. In fact there have been many who even hold COACH camps, seminars, events, and a myriad of other “certifications” for Golf Teaching Professionals to acquire learning and become knowledgeable in that particular focus of Golf Instruction. I applaud the many who are considered experts in the art of Golf Instruction who are spreading their findings of the best way to help people swing it better based on their countless hours of work and research. 

Let’s agree right now that this is about Golf Instruction and the Swing. Period. End of story. This is not Golf COACHING. It is a PART of the WHOLE that makes up a Golf COACH.

We (PGA of Canada) in fact have CNC (Coaching New Competitor) and CDC (Coaching Developing Competitor) which are directly linked to www.coach.ca our national body for sport coaching in Canada. These programs are DIRECTLY focused on how to become a COACH and have been presented to PGA Associations across the globe because of this reason….it’s about COACHING, nothing else. 

If you have taken any kind of Coach training then this rant is not for you but come on people, the reality is you are calling yourself a Golf COACH because it’s “kitschy” and “sounds better” than Teacher or Instructor. There is NOTHING wrong with you wanting to help others and spread your knowledge and be paid handsomely for it. You deserve it.  But ask yourself if you are Instructing and Demonstrating your work to groups in a presentation format with power point and actual live action to show how you have arrived at your findings to make a better swing? Participating in these seminars, camps and schools as I have is merely gaining more knowledge on how the golf club moves. 

It’s like you’re the teacher of a grade 6 class, all of your fellow teachers are called teachers.  You don’t see them calling themselves Professors. Professors are called professors because they typically have a PHD! So an Instructor / Teacher shouldn’t be called a COACH unless they’ve got the same…..no?

Are you explaining how you: 

  1. explaining how the shaft flattens
  2. how biomechanically your body moves 
  3. any speak of a launch monitor 
  4. sequential order 
  5. flat spots in the swing
  6. rotational force vs linear force
  7. pivots or turns
  8. external vs internal
  9. visualization
  10. speed accumulators
  11. left brain / right brain
  12. 1,2,3 degrees of break
  13. starting line
  14. the D-plane
  15. supination vs pronation

OR

Are you explaining how you:

  1. set effective practice strategies
  2. run skill assessment testing & evaluation
  3. collect players stats and analyze them
  4. set goals for your players
  5. plan their schedules
  6. plan their in-game strategy & tactics
  7. consult with other experts for fine tuning
  8. observe them playing in tournaments  
  9. observe them in training on course  
  10. create annual plans to set up their year
  11. academics and life planning outside of playing
  12. work with the parents if necessary
  13. talk about nutrition on and off course
  14. fitness and mobility strategy for maximum results 
  15. what periodization means to a golfer 

COACHING involves far greater information and knowledge but we would NOT be able to be a COACH if we weren’t very good at the FIRST and most IMPORTANT thing:  we are a Golf Instructor / Teacher first and foremost. 

 

Handout or a Handup?

October 16, 2017
October 16, 2017

My very close friend, Jason Fairfield is one of the sharpest and hardest working guys I know. He has built a company from ZERO to one of the BEST online, digital communications & web companies in Canada. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have his wisdom at my fingertips. He has taught me many things while I have been building my coaching business, but it was something he taught me early on that completely changed how I looked at my direction and how I could become successful. 

We were chatting about the growth potential of gaining clients and as I had just begun working at a new facility, I was lamenting to him that I thought they (the new facility) would see me as a “viable” commodity and jump to promote my coaching and services. He then said to me, “Are you waiting for them to give you a HAND OUT? They just hired you and gave you a HAND UP, so why don’t you do the rest and show them they made the right decision and work your butt off!” 

I sat there for a few moments and thought about what he had just said, and I realized he was absolutely right (major ego check time here). I was thinking that they would or should be doing more for me as I am “Doug Lawrie, PGA of Canada”. What Jason had got me to realize by saying that to me was this; so many of us think that we need to be “GIVEN” something because of what we have achieved, awards won, degrees earned or positions held. The stark reality in our society is that there is far too much standing around with our proverbial “HAND OUT” waiting for something to be “GIVEN” to us and not enough recognition of the “HAND UP” or “opportunity” that stands before us. 

I remember reading in John Maxwell’s book “Failing Forward” (By far the BEST book I have ever read and you should too) that challenges are merely opportunities waiting to be discovered. Challenges are seen as insurmountable and difficult by most people. Jason merely lit the fuse in my brain that attached to my deep desire to help others. I thought “Wow! “Since I was given an opportunity to grow my business and a blank slate, I knew I could design the very BEST coaching programs and do it how I wanted to.”  I had sitting in front of me the opportunity to create my OWN success or failure. Yes it is true that sometimes you cannot see the forest for the trees.

These words Jason and I spoke about nearly 8 years ago motivated me so highly they led to me becoming one of the best Junior Golf Coaches in North America and the most recognized/awarded PGA of Canada Professional in the past 5 years. So I challenge YOU to think about what is facing you at this time in your life. Are you waiting for someone to GIVE you a HAND OUT to solve it, or are you taking that HAND UP you’ve been given and writing your own success?

Stop waiting and Start working! 

Coach Doug

 

The Reason “Sharing” is the key to Future of Golf

January 5, 2017
January 5, 2017

It’s MINE – GO GET YOUR OWN!

The proverbial saying “You can’t take it with you” pertains mostly to your wealth that you have at the end of your life and that you should spread it around. Recently I’ve found a couple of instances that have gotten me thinking that this EXACTLY what my fellow Golf Teaching Professionals, Coaches & Facilitators should be doing.

What I am talking about is this:

That you have spent more than one third of your lifetime (Remember, the second third is the time you spend sleeping!) working in this business for potentially multiple facilities / courses and you don’t care about leaving a legacy behind?  I can imagine how there may be plenty of pros who wouldn’t care about leaving a legacy behind, but isn’t that a rather sad thing? Yes it is!

Traditionally we’ve been like this guy in the picture, self centred, greedy and most of all not willing to share what we know, have or use to be successful unless we are getting paid to do it. (I am not saying there shouldn’t be compensation if a possibility) However we’ve wanted to out think, out teach and of course out preform (our student’s results) and shove it down our fellow professional’s throats while saying “Look at me!” That needs to CHANGE now!

This year I have personally experienced opportunities where I have been asked questions and consulted others on their Junior swings, programs, ideas and thoughts. I feel honoured and humbled by these requests. But one of the BIGGEST things I’ve done when approached, is I have NEVER said “no”. In fact I find myself asking them questions like “How can I help you more?”. This isn’t just in my world and in fact I have experienced one of the best examples of professional sharing (thank you social media), from this guy below. George Gankas has over 53,000 followers on Instagram and whenever I ask him a question, he doesn’t take days to get back to me, it’s immediate and he always does it encouraging and engaging. He is sharing all that he knows through Instagram and Youtube and you CAN pay for more if you want. But it’s the openness and ease of sharing that gives this guy his appeal. (Not to mention the flip flops, flat brim cap and surfer dude speak) It doesn’t hurt that he is really good too!

This proactive inclination towards sharing your knowledge is not only an essential and critical learning activity for each and every teaching professional out there, but it is also something that I have been thinking a lot about lately as it pertains towards the concept of leaving a legacy behind.   I am a little skeptic to believe that people would feel that sharing is a key point to the success of golf and instruction for the future nowadays, to be honest, I hope they are reading this blog post, because I think that if they aren’t willing to share with everyone they need to look for another job. A legacy is just as important as that one from everyone else by contributing to the general and collective living memory of golf.  Can there be anything more rewarding than that? … Specially, when that knowledge shared is reused by others, even when you are not there anymore? … Think about it….

What if you adopted this simple continuous circle this year? Take your knowledge that you’ve created & stored and send it out! Don’t be scared, be helpful and watch how amazing you feel! However you do it you will learn from this experiment and be able to reinvest into yourself the knowledge gained NOT taking all of it with you!

Sharing is caring and the key to Golf’s Future.

Cheers,

Coach Doug

Top 50 Things I Learned 2016

December 31, 2016
December 31, 2016


Here are the TOP 50   
Things I’ve Learned This Season. 

 

 

 

1. There are some AMAZING Junior Golf Coaches in this world!
2. Kids are incredible teachers
3. Bravery is watching a 6 yr old move into the bigger kids group
4. Speaking at a Grade 2 level works for kids and especially adults
5. Being SILLY is OK and actually therapeutic
6. 10 yr old girls can play like LPGA Tour players
7. The Story “The Day The Crayons Quit” guarantees laughter 100%
8. You can teach an old dog new tricks no matter how long they’ve been a professional
9. Share what you know with those who ask because keeping it a “secret” is ridiculous
10. Acupuncture is a godsend
11. I have the most AMAZING and UNDERSTANDING Wife.
12. Ask a 4 yr old to describe a golf ball then listen
13. No matter how much you pour into students you have to ALWAYS remember they might leave
14. ADHD is the secret to my success and I am so thankful for it
15. Ice Cubes on a hot day bring smiles
16. Make time for yourself & the ones CLOSEST to you
17. If you want ideas for games, walk through the board game section of Toys R Us
18. That you can change lives because of this game whether they are 5, 20 or 70
19. Colouring breaks during a lesson are sometimes a MUST
20. Ping Pong is an essential skill
21. Solar Sleeves are a gift from the golfing gods
22. Being positive is infectious
23. Just because you coach some big named players does not mean you have good character
24. That you ALWAYS have to remember who your audience is
25. US KIds Golf makes dreams come true
26. A Child’s Laughter is still Nature’s Red Bull
27. Instagram has grown my understanding of the golf swing
28. Payne Stewart was special and would have made the most amazing Ryder Cup Captain
29. Custom fit golf clubs are an ESSENTIAL piece of your complete puzzle to play better
30. Just hanging out and being a cheerleader is ok
31. Sometimes 3 holes is just enough
32. Changing the culture of instruction takes time
33. 7:30 am swing theory chats in Toronto are 7:30 pm in Shanghai
34. Josh Donaldson’s baseball swing is a great visual for golf
35. Playing as many sports as possible as a child is a MUST
36. 70 lbs of Dynamite can make a golf ball go 205 yards
37. Some of my best pro-friends I wouldn’t know if not for Social Media
38. Dustin Johnson is a freakish athlete
39. Steph Currie is pure talent
40. Coaching takes planning and a deep rooted sense of COMPASSION
41. PLAY is a child’s FIRST language
42. Water Balloon Speed Filling Straws are a HUGE time saver
43. You cannot EVER mail it in working with kids
44. Character is the cornerstone to being a good person
45. Creativity is the baseline of a WONDERFUL junior program
46. Kids deserve your patience
47. Bring the Backshop Kids Ice Coffee when it’s 90 degrees out to say THANK YOU
48. You are NEVER done learning
49. Watching your student win a world championship will make you CRY every time
50. That #ilovemyjob

What’s your TOP 50?

Have a Wonderful 2017 Everyone! – Coach Doug

When a student leaves…a Coach’s view

November 7, 2016
November 7, 2016

Butch Harmon, Hank Haney, Sean Foley. 3 of the most famous Golf coaches in the World because they had the opportunity to work with Tiger Woods. Every time that Tiger decided that he was going to change coaches it was an absolute media frenzy and made headlines across the Golf World. This has been well documented and written about as the media have tried to answer the question; why? Carlisle Group

Why would the most dominant player in the history of the sport change the pathway of his success not once, not twice but three times? You’ve read about it was his body changing, his desire of perfection, and the eternal pursuit of breaking almost every record the game of golf has ever had.

Professionally this is a man who has had no equal until recently, and for that matter he raised the bar so high the “trickle-down” Tiger effect has reached far into the annals of Competitive Junior Golf.   I have an up close and personal relationship with this as my job is to help every single boy and girl who want to play this wonderful game, do it as best as they can. I always begin every first meeting with every junior the exact same way. I ask the parents to bring them to meet and then we embark on a journey to see if there is a fit. Do they feel like they can work with me and similar do I feel I can work with them. I encourage the parents to discuss the session with their child and engage them in the decision about coming back to see Coach Doug. I believe this important because building a relationship with these children is KEY to being able to connect and inspire them to do their best.

Holding CourtIn fact I would have to say that it’s these great bonds with my juniors that make it so rewarding as a coach to see them grow, learn, smile and laugh and equally hard to watch when they are upset, hurt, frustrated and cry when this game kicks their butts. You feel at times that you are walking in their shoes and feel all the pain and all the joy they do.

As their coach, mentor, teacher and cheerleader you work closely with them and their parents to provide a “road map” of their journey and plot a course that allows for them to see what they want to work for. The communication with parents is an essential piece in coaching and I have had every kind of experience throughout my career to keep this channel an open and honest one. This is very important because parents (I too have felt this with my own kids) feel that their child is a “prodigy” or “the next Tiger”. I often tell parents that their child is only on the Front 9 of their golf career and OUR goal should be giving them the opportunity to love this game so they Finish the Back 9 and make it to the 18th hole!

But sometimes no matter how much you do or how much the junior enjoys you and your coaching, they leave. It took me a while in this business to realize that it isn’t how much I do for them.  This isn’t about me. It’s about THEM. Junior golfer parents want their children to be the very BEST they can be and invariably will seek out what they feel is the most convenient, affordable, exclusive, high performing, matched programming to get their child to whatever level they desire. You cannot control this. You can only invest 200% into every child and know you have done everything you can.

The question is always WHY? Why do they leave? Maybe they think the grass is greener somewhere else? Maybe you weren’t getting them to where they want to be fast enough. Maybe the distance to you is too far to travel for what they want to invest? Maybe you are too expensive or because of their other commitments cannot afford your programming? Maybe they found another instructor who fits better than you? Maybe there is an issue in their lives that prevents them from playing at a high level and they need to step away from it?

Whatever the reason, remember this: It’s OK!

 

Our job is not to ride the coat tails of the juniors and students we teach into the annals of Golf Instruction Stardom. That is selfish and self centred. Build them up and if they decide to leave then wish them nothing but the VERY BEST and check your ego at the door. Remember there are all your other kids waiting for you. If you can aim to leave a little bit of your wisdom or influence with every junior golfer you coach, instruct or teach during the tenure of your career then you WIN! This is not about YOU or ME, its about THEM! 

teaching-3

I remember a wonderful quote from the owner of Olympia Sports Camp ( I was both a camper and counsellor there) Dave Grace: Winning Is – Doing the MOST with the CAPABILITIES you HAVE! So if you follow this simple piece of information and know that there is a good chance in your career some of your best players will leave for whatever reason, you will be able to keep your head up.

Sincerely,

Coach Doug

5 Keys To Building A WICKED Jr Program

November 4, 2016
November 4, 2016

5 Keys To Building A WICKED Jr Program

So you are the new kid on the block. You are beginning your position at a new club and one of your tasks is to revive and / or design the Junior Golf Program. Some would say “easy,” some would say “not so fast,” and some would even say “help!”

5-things-to-do-with-funnelsIt is somewhat of a daunting task unless you have been doing programming and development for a long time.

I have found that there is a formula to follow which will JUMP START your programs and set the tone for repeatable and continuous business. Here are my TOP 5 KEYS to Building a WICKED Jr Program:

  1. Do Your Research –  Ask fellow pros what they do that is successful. Ask what programs they’ve offered at your club in the past. Check what access juniors have to programs (do they have to be a member to enrol?)
  2. Host a Pre-Season Junior Orientation  – Prior to the season beginning offer a “Junior Orientation Day” for parents & juniors to attend meet you, see your new programs and ask questions.
  3. Offer a Program with Potential “Fallout” – Often programs are run without looking at the potential “Fallout” for other Programs, Lessons, Coaching and Camps to benefit from the program in focus. Your program should be so good that when you are asked about details on any other program you have it ready to give them details.  fall-out-programs

4.  Get Parents / Grandparents Involved – Times have changed in golf. Focusing on the Family Unit and programs that can involve them ( Caddying , Chaperones, Volunteers, etc..) which only nurtures the bond.

5. Quality Over Quantity – Resist the urge to over subscribe your programs or have a group size that far exceeds what you can control and effectively manage. This is very important in the effectiveness, safety and learning of the program. Research has shown that a maximum of 6:1 ratio student to EXPERIENCED instructor is best, while a 4:1 ratio is sometimes better depending on the age of the group. However you decide you want to go, it will result in better “Fallout” into other programs and you will be able to scheduled more programs to accommodate the over flow. 

Try these 5 steps and you will start off with a BANG! 

For further information or questions please contact me directly at: doug@focusgolfgroup.com

All the best,

Coach Doug

 

October is ADHD Month

October 12, 2016
October 12, 2016

October is the ADHD Awareness Month and our 2016 theme is “Knowing is Better.” It’s better for parents to know that ADHD might be part of the picture so they can seek out the help their children need; it’s better for young adults to know about their ADHD so they might arrange for appropriate accommodations in school or the workplace; and it’s better for adults to recognize their ADHD instead of feeling destined to a life of underachievement and frustration.img_0008

 

I am writing this post because my post The Secret To My Success  got a lot of notice not only in my Golf world but also in the Public realm too! In fact I was honoured to have been selected by Readers Digest Canada as one of 3 Canadians profiled as Adults diagnosed with ADHD and have been successful in their occupation.

I believe that I am NOT the only one who recognizes that having ADHD can affect your life in many different ways. Click this link to see the Readers Digest Article

If you have any questions or would like to discuss it further please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

Doug

dlawrie@creditvalleygolf.com

(905) 334 4207

 

The Secret To My Success

February 15, 2016
February 15, 2016

adhd-studentI remember listening to my parents tell friends, camp cousellors or coaches “Keep Doug away from Red Food Dye, pop and Chocolate he will be relatively “normal” and controllable”.  Ahhh, now back in the 70’s little did they know what was actually causing the “hyper” activity, restlessness, impulsivity and my mischevious curiosity.  Looking back at my childhood and teenage years I am absolutely amazed I got through high school and graduated from College. I now understand why I had to change schools in grade 6, why sports were my escape, I did poorly at math but excelled in english and was a great Camp counsellor.

I have ADHD. (squirrel!) Now the interesting thing is today ADHD is almost common place in children and diagnosed from an early age (about age 5).  They can have EAP’s (Eduction Action Plan) and strategies for Teachers and School Special Education Teams to give these kids the best chance at getting through their education. (Both of my kids have ADHD btw).images-1

Oh one other thing… I am on DRUGS! (Some of you at this point may be thinking; “????”. Yes, I take 15 mg of adderol every day. This was prescribed to me when I was diagnosed and they caution you about restless sleep, mood changes when coming off the effects and generally give you some cautionary things to be aware of when first taking something to help control ADHD. What they don’t tell you is what you actually experience. As an adult I could immediately see the benefit. CLARITY! Complete clarity in thoughts, calmness in sleep, brilliant ideas that I could start and finish, and where did I see the biggest benefit? On the golf course. I could concentrate on shots, putts and not expect distractions to pop in my head. WOW! In fact if I DON’T take my adderol I feel sluggish, hungry and like there is a fog that has settled into my head like an early morning. So call me an addict, but only because I am addicted to the benefits. It lets me be me!  

I was officially dignosed with ADHD at the age of 39. This meant I had gone through my entire Golf Professional career without any idea that this was affecting me in so many ways. But you know what the amazing thing about having ADHD is? I would not be where I am today without it. Often when diagnosed with ADHD kids are given the label of being different, tainted, uncontrollable, distracted and very hard to work with. In fact I believe whole heartedly that it is BECAUSE I have ADHD that it allows me to be creative, kooky, personable, funny, social, positive, connect with kids and especially the ones with ADHD.ADHD more than you

I know what is happening in their heads, and because of this I make the experience the absolute BEST one for them every time. They are never a burden, but in fact I use their ADHD to boost their creativity, give them structure, (one of the amazing things I’ve discovered is that kids with ADHD thrive in a challenging yet structured environment such as golf) and at the same time let them be exactly who they are without feeling they are different. Watching their facial expressions change when they are praised instead of reprimanded (which a lot are used to) only makes them want to do it more.

I’m sure that there are a few other successful coaches who can sympathize and agree that they too would not be where they are today without ADHD. Some of the world’s most successful people have ADHD – Albert Einstien, Will Smith, Michael Jordan, Justin Timberlake to name a few (Read the Top 10 list HERE)216776_tomsan_adhd-bunny

As golf professionals we aren’t given any training with regards to dealing with kids who have ADHD. In fact a large part of kids are still undiagnosed because parents don’t either believe that ADHD exists or that it’s just a phase of their development. So we are interacting with kids that have no idea what makes them be impulsive, interrupt and distracted. This leads to us trying to control their behaviour and rather than knowing some key strategies or unless you are an incredibly fast learner, most likely struggle with balancing your clinic, camp or lesson. I am here to tell you that it’s perfectly OK for you to feel that way. It can be down right exhausting putting so much effort into ONE child when you have 5 others that need your attention and this child is taking up most of your time and brain power. They are trying to cope with what you are telling them, they really are, so we must realize there are about 25 other things flashing across their brain at the same time. 

ADHD-in-children

I think I could writea novel about instances, examples and ways that I have used my “super power” to my advantage as well as instances that I know were not so positive and a disctinct result of my ADHD. What I have learned and I hope that I can pass on is that having ADHD doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. In fact understanding it only allows you to learn coping strategies that can help you. Kids aren’t always as aware as adults, so it is our responsibiluty that we do these 5 things when working with kids who have ADHD: 

  1. Have a Schedule – Structure allows for rules and consistency
  2. Don’t Patronize Them – be polite, upbeat and positive as much as possible at their level.
  3. Allow Them To Take Breaks – if they seem distracted ask them if they want to sit this one out. 
  4. Find Out Their Strengths – Observe them and what they do really well have them repeat for success
  5. Be Patient – Don’t take it personally that they may not listen to you but find a way to communicate. 

So there you have it. The Secret is out…I hope that this inspires you to ask questions, look at this subject differently and most of all realize….(oh look I got a Facebook notification) oops sorry, that having ADHD can be an incredble bonus instead of a detriment. 

Coach Doug. 

 

Doug Lawrie is the Owner and Director of Instruction of the highly successful Focus Golf Group Academy, with 2 locations in Burlington & Milton, Ontario. PGA of Ontario & Canada’s Junior Leader of the Year in 2012, he continues to develop programming and award winning junior golfers and most recently was recognized for the 3rd year in a row by U.S. Kids Golf as one of the Top 50 Kids Teachers in the World. Married to Susan for 21 years, they live in Burlington and enjoy their time with Daughter Abbie, Son Alex and their puppy Georgie. 

Doug@focusgolfgroup.com

www.focusgolfroup.com

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