Two Different Terminologies, One Shared Goal
A few weeks ago my team celebrated a successful tax season at Top Golf in Dallas. I had a great time, but I am no golfer. I played baseball in junior college, but my ability to hit a fastball doesn’t seem to translate to hitting that small white ball that sits stationary on the ground in front of me.
After taking a few embarrassing swings, the president of our company took the time to give me some pointers. He was genuinely trying to help me improve. But regardless of how much I tried to do exactly as he suggested, I either hit the ball on the ground or hit it in the air with an extreme slice.
Not one to give up, I found a bay that was empty and just started hitting the ball over and over again (because, you know, there’s nothing quite like practicing poor technique until it becomes second nature). A co-worker of mine looked up from his phone and asked me how I hold my club. He determined that my grip was wrong and helped me fix it. Then he showed me how to line up my clubface using my left hand, which then dictated where my right and left hands would grip the club.
It felt a little weird, but I understood what he was asking me to change. After making the adjustments, I started hitting the ball straight (once in a while). After a few dozen repetitions, I started to feel more comfortable. And then I realized that my co-worker had given me the same advice as the president of the company. But when the president told me to “start with the club in my left hand,” it didn’t make sense. “What difference would that make,” I thought. My co-worker said almost the same thing, but in a different way. I connected with what he said (or rather, how he said it), and it made all the difference.
I first learned this lesson while playing baseball. The basic principles of hitting or pitching have largely remained unchanged for many years. And yet, different hitting or pitching coaches have different styles. And even though two coaches may be teaching the same principle, what one coach says may ‘click’ with a player more than similar instruction from another coach.