Missing “The How”

“If I stop learning today, I will be teaching badly tomorrow.” (Unknown) Good advice from a relative unknown wouldn’t you say?  OK.  Vegas is not in my future, maybe I better leave the humor to the professionals.  

When I began to pursue my dream of teaching the game that my grandfather forced me to love so much as a youngster, I wanted to understand everything I could about the swing.  I realized that my self- taught point and shoot method probably would not be all that successful for any perspective students.  I began my research.  I watched video tapes, read books, observed lessons, and tried a multitude of swing theories for myself.  I took copious notes on what I liked, and jotted down even more quips about the things that didn’t work at all.  Volumes later, I felt I had a pretty successful manual in place for teaching the game…or did I?

One thing I will state as clearly as possible, to my own credit, I have no ego.  I have never been one to trumpet my way as the only way, or even the correct way for that matter.  I had a very good success rate with students, and there were very few occasions that I felt they walked away from their time spent with me, and were not improved in some fashion.  I did, however, feel that my skills were lacking, not from an analytical or intellectual standpoint, but something was just missing.  I could not place my finger on the pulse of the problem, but I would think about it constantly.  This fact may speak volumes about my ongoing insomnia, but that is a discussion for another blog someday soon.

I attempted to broaden my horizons by reading books about how people learn, and let me tell you, for a guy who went through college, graduate school, and a stint in medical school with an undiagnosed reading disability, this was no small task!  At the end of the day, I was still searching for the missing pieces…until Rotary Swing.

Most teachers are knowledgeable. Good teachers are intelligent. Great teachers are patient. Exceptional teachers are students themselves.” (Dale Dubin. M.D.)

I was knowledgeable, I was intelligent, and I was patient; so what was still missing?  Meeting Chuck Quinton and Alison Thietje gave my elusive question a definitive answer; I was missing “The How.”  I lacked the key kinesthetic knowledge to explain to my students how to swing the club.  There are a number of ways to turn your shoulders, but only one correct way to initiate the movement, remain centered, and create centripetal force.  Rotary Swing, unlike my swing model, was not based on opinions and preferences, but it was based on medical and scientific facts about how the body is designed to move.  This made everything crystal clear in my eyes; it does not matter if you can manipulate the club haphazardly into a series of “correct” positions if the origin of movement is wrong.  You are destined to fail more often than you are destined to succeed.

The process of discovery for me has been a six month journey that I have enjoyed every step of the way.  I continue to learn something new every single day I encounter a student, whether it be online or in person.  I will make certain that never changes because being a Rotary Swing Instructor is not just about being a knowledgeable, a good, or a great teacher; it is about being a student myself, and striving to be an exceptional teacher.