What Makes a Master Coach? – A Case Study You Must Read
by Tim Ressa
“What is a master but a master student? And if that’s true, then there’s a responsibility on you to keep getting better and to explore avenues of your profession.”
– Neil Peart
The above quote sums up how I feel about being a golf teacher. I feel a responsibility to myself and my students to be on the cutting edge, always learning about new technology, new methods, and new ways to help people improve… while at the same time studying and learning from past teachers and what made them great.
It was with this mentality that I came to K-VEST. Already owning a Trackman® for about two years, I was searching for some new wearable technology to help my students.
In early 2015 I was presented with an opportunity to purchase a 3D K-VEST unit. My initial curiosity stemmed from the advice of one of my friends and mentors in the golf industry who was using one and finding great applications for it with his students. I was a little hesitant to make a purchase, though, as I didn’t know enough about K-VEST to determine if it was an appropriate purchase for my teaching.
After all, I already had a full schedule teaching eight to twelve lessons a day at a fast-paced club in Singapore. And of course I already taught most of my lessons with some form of technology, whether it be video or TrackMan, or both. In fact, I had gone through TrackMan’s Master Teaching Program, and continued to learn about the science of club dynamics and ball flight.
In short, I was as busy as I wanted to be, happy with my current results—and apparently my students were quite happy with the service I was providing.
Yet I have always strived to be a teacher who wanted to constantly be learning and searching for all the information I could find to help me grow, to be the best teacher I could be. So in the end I decided to purchase a K-VEST and add another layer to my coaching skills and knowledge. I was excited to begin my education on what the system had to offer. I knew about the kinematic sequence, and was interested to see what else K-VEST measured…
Before the actual vest arrived I started going through some videos on YouTube about teachers who use K-VEST. As I began watching these videos, I was intrigued, excited, and a little intimidated. These coaches were looking at graphs of different parts of the body and describing what the player was doing just by analyzing those graphs! I thought this was really powerful information, and suddenly I knew that I wanted to learn all I could about what K-VEST would measure.
Pretty soon after I got the software installed, I started getting a feeling for the system. The intimidation factor began to disappear: this was easier than I expected, especially with the support I was getting. At first I was just using the system on myself and some other professionals to take a look at all the measurements and data. Then, after about two weeks of getting comfortable with the software in my spare time, I started using the system in my lessons. I understood the metrics of the software on a very basic level, and that was more than enough to make a difference for my players.
In fact, the best advice that K-VEST’s Tony Morgan gave me about starting out was to be very confident putting the garments on people quickly, making sure they’re comfortable, and that the sensors are located in the right places. It’s that simple.
Once I felt like I could put the vest on people efficiently, I really started using it—I wasn’t shy about whom I put it on. I wanted to see K-VEST at work on all levels of players, and I happen to be lucky enough to teach all levels of players. I was eager to discover how effective the system would be over this wide range. So from elite juniors all the way to beginners, I used it on everybody!
I began to get excited, realizing I had learned maybe 10% of the capabilities of the software and it was already having a profound impact on my teaching and my students’ performance. Initially, because my knowledge of things like pelvis bend, side bend and rotation were a little limited to say the least, I just worked students through progressions of checking their alignment, posture, and how much they turned their upper body in the backswing.
I found that if I could get them into a good setup with posture and alignment that their ball flight and their efficiency in delivering the club to the ball improved dramatically. I noticed that conveying just this limited information on setting up and turning efficiently had a major impact on everything else in their swing.
I had one junior girl who attended one of our junior classes on the weekends who was really struggling. She had some body issues and couldn’t turn very well, resulting in low pull hooks. I put the vest on her, and went through the DVT software using the feedback to get her into a better setup. I then used the audio feedback to improve her turn.
The Essence of K-VEST
After hitting balls for about ten minutes using the audio at the top of her swing to get her feeling and hearing where to stop the backswing, she started crushing it! She went from low hooks and high blocks to high draws in ten minutes just by using feedback about where she needed the club to get to at the top of her swing.
She was so excited, and I began to see the power and simplicity of the software if I communicated it well. I began to dig deeper and learn all I could about the software.
My real breakthrough came when I attended K-VEST’s certification training. These courses take you slowly through all of the software and key metrics, and at the end you take a short test to become certified. Going through these webinars allowed me to learn the information and best practices to use the software.
Before the certification program I hadn’t considered all of the software’s uses such as performing physical screens and prescribing physical and golf drills to improve a student’s range of motion or address a particular issue.
This is another revolutionary feature because it allows me as an instructor not only to prescribe drills for students’ swings, but also to prescribe exercises to help their body improve movement so that they can improve even faster. Simply, the software provides the teacher and student the roadmap to fix the swing fault, and then provides various forms of feedback to help the student develop the motor skills to correct the fault.
So far I have taught over 400 lessons with K-VEST. Every day I teach with it I continue to learn more, and the possibilities to help students seem endless. I’m also excited to know that the company is constantly trying to improve the system and develop more applications for it.
Of all the products I’ve purchased to further my coaching, K-VEST has been the most rewarding because of all the ways it helps me communicate with, and teach, my students.
Tim Ressa is a PGA Professional and Director of Instruction at the prestigious Singapore Island Country Club. Tim is a master of the scientific elements of the golf swing, and works with juniors and elite players from all walks of life. He is recognized as a TrackMan Master Professional and strives to communicate ball flight theory to his students in a simple yet highly effective manner.