Damon Goddard is the Founder of Goddard Sports Performance & Nutrition in Dallas, Texas.
Over the years, I have worked with golfers of all skill levels, and am often asked how our golf fitness sessions differ from the high-level professional to the recreational amateur. People sometimes think it is easier to work with the best in the world, but I tell them it’s actually harder to elicit a one-to-two percent performance change when working with someone of high skill.
Regardless of my student’s ability, I incorporate the same strategies into my sessions by considering variables other than just skill level – issues like sleep patterns, nutrition habits, stress levels and additional external components like travel and other life issues they may be enduring at the time. By understanding this information, I can better help my students meet their individual goals.
Attaining this information means asking better questions of my clients. If I want to elicit a change, I have to understand the athlete better. After all, I’m dealing with people, and mitigating the many variables that cause them to deviate from their peak performance becomes just as vital as the physical fitness regimen we implement. I work with each person on a human level, irrespective of their golf abilities.
To help my students have a better experience in their golf instruction and when playing on the course, I ask questions during their fitness sessions that enable me to see the entire picture of the athlete. I build a very strategic plan based on that big picture – there are no quick fixes in this process. It takes a dedicated period of time that requires realistic communication with the athlete. Some say the art of communication is something we’re losing with more digital and less face-to-face engagement. We can buck this trend by asking the right questions, probing our students to get to their core needs and understand the factors that contribute to their deficiencies.
When it comes to my most elite performers, I look at high-level indicators, such as blood profiles, sleep patterns and WHOOP analytics – we’re analyzing a lot of information. The low hanging fruit continues to be those simple questions that we should be asking of all of our students: Did you sleep well? Are you hydrated? How are you handling stress? Did you move today? I can dive deeper into all of these issues after initiating the conversation. If a player is overly stressed from a hard day, I can’t expect his or her body to move very efficiently because their stress mechanism will inhibit movement, even from a swing standpoint. As coaches, we should teach our students the proper framework to be highly-effective. In this age of technology and innovation, oral communication, especially asking the right questions, has become more important than ever.