Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hitting The Target

This is what the tail-end of a lovely shot looks like. And, yes, that is an umbrella.

Thomas' beautiful swing

It was a good day to be hitting golf balls. Warm, but not too hot. Sunny, with just enough clouds to keep it from being too bright all the time. Thomas had been down with a cold for several days, and this was the first opportunity to get OUT and about, and get a little physical activity.

We met up with Cal at the driving range for this week’s lesson. Thomas and Michael are doing “tandem” lessons at this point, Cal taking turns working with each of them during the course of the session. It works really well, because a full hour is a bit much for Michael’s shorter attention span, and a bit much for anyone to be hitting balls and doing exercises non-stop.

During one of Cal’s spells with Thomas, Michael grabbed the umbrella from the car to use as a parasol during a break in the cloud cover and, in typical Michael style, was using it in way it was not intended. He thought umbrellas only turned inside-out in cartoons, and thought it was hysterically funny that he could make our umbrella do that. (I was not quite as amused, as I can't seem to keep umbrellas in one piece and functional for very long.)

When it was Michael’s turn to get back to the lesson, Cal, like all brilliant teachers, pounced on the opportunity to turn a distraction into a learning moment. He took the umbrella and turned it into a target.

A huge part of Cal’s approach to teaching golf is focusing on the target. “It’s All About Hitting The Targets is his tagline (go check out his wonderful website**’s right there in the top banner and sprinkled about all the pages). Most people assume the target is that little flag waaaaaaay down range that you eventually want to get your ball to and drop into the little hole. But, there are actually other targets on the way to the cup, and Cal works on teaching his students to find those targets and reach them, one by one, until you get to the ultimate goal in as few strokes as possible. 

And, he tries to shift the focus off of the BALL as being a target (the thing you have to hit just right with a golf club). This can be tricky on a driving range, because there’s no flag, just an open field full of abandoned golf balls. And in this case, a tree or two.

The umbrella worked great. It provided a focal point for Michael to work on his chipping. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what he was doing; making the ball pop up and land a short-ish distance away with the goal of landing in the umbrella. I loved watching that moment unfold, and couldn’t help taking a few pictures of both Michael and Thomas.

From distracted to focused in record time...and barefoot

I've never really had any interest in golf, but David enjoys it and wanted the boys to have the opportunity to learn and play. Cal was introduced to us through a mutual friend, and Thomas and Michael started lessons with him about a year ago. It's been a great experience for all of us (including David who got a "clean up your swing" session recently), and I've been working with Cal developing his message and his website.

This is where the ** comes in. I can rightly claim some bragging rights to Cal's website, since I have worked with Cal to develop the content. I consider Cal my first real-live editing client. The design and coding, by the way, are courtesy of my extremely talented friend, Sarah. You can contact her through her own website-in-progress. She is wonderfully creative, and has managed to add some really nifty functionalities to the site. It's not quite perfect yet, but I couldn't help showing it off a little early.

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