Thursday, September 30, 2010

SNAG: Starting New At Golf

This blog has been a long-time coming and I hope it gives some insight into a subject that is the source of a lot of joy (and some frustration) in my program. Yes, my friends, the time has come to talk about SNAG®.

I get asked a lot what SNAG® is and why I use it with the children I teach- children of all levels. Some parents see their son or daughter outside with all these funny, colorful tools and wonder if there is a method to the madness. The simple answer? DEFINITELY.

I believe in having intention in everything I do, including the choices I make regarding equipment. SNAG® tools are created by PGA professionals and are absolutely ideal for teaching children golf. The instruments make the game manageable and digestible for students of all ages and the equipment also comes in a variety of sizes so that children can reap the benefits of training tools designed specifically for them.

SNAG® equipment teaches, reinforces and encourages all of the same concepts and physical movements of traditional clubs-- spine tilt, shaft angle, tempo, wrist hinge etc. Most importantly, SNAG equipment offers endless opportunities to get creative with the game of golf while keeping children engaged in the sport.

It should also be noted that tennis, a sport with a high number of young players, has recently completely revolutionized their junior program, mandating that all players under the age of ten use lighter, smaller racquets and play with different court configurations in tournaments. The transition is aimed to make tennis much more accessible—and JOYFUL—for young players and to foster a dynamic of success and play on the court.

Since our children are city-dwellers, the use of modified equipment is crucial. In addition to enabling us to play indoors and in confined outdoor spaces, SNAG® is a wonderful way to teach the anatomy of a golf course, and makes the transition from our program onto the course a natural and seamless one.

We need to change the paradigm. Instead of thinking about “proper” clubs and getting caught up with “real” equipment we need to acknowledge what is appropriate and accessible for young golfers. We need to understand that while SNAG® is a departure, it is a change in the absolute best direction. It is progress and improvement. We’re taking the tools that we know and trust and bending them to better fit our needs. SNAG works and I will endorse it with my whole heart time and time again.

I believe SNAG® is a big part of why our program is different and why we continue to evolve to new levels of success. I want children to have the best of every world—the “proper” technique of a real golf lesson, the fun, dynamic energy of an athletic activity, and the mental preparedness to take their game out into the open.

Play golf!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Power of Priorities

I started my central park program this week and the first thing I saw trucking up the grass were three boys from St. Thomas More Playgroup- cue the heartstrings. I’ll admit, it was bittersweet, especially when one of them asked with big, eager eyes: “Why aren’t you teaching us movement anymore? We miss you.”
I had to swallow a lump in my throat because the truth is, I miss them, too. But being a teacher, I saw the space of the moment, and jumped in. I got down on his level and asked if he’d ever had to make a decision. “Did you ever want to play soccer and go to the movies and have ice cream but you could only do one of those things? Sometimes we have to make a decision, even if it’s hard for us.”
He seemed satisfied and we had a wonderful lesson but the conversation served as a springboard for me—it made me really think about priorities.
So often in life we try to do everything, and do it well. We work, take care of our families, exercise our bodies, feed our stomachs, support our creative and artistic ambitions. One of my closest friends likes to say this: “sometimes, something’s gotta give.” I used to have a problem with that. It seemed to diminish my capability to lead an expansive, holistic life because the truth is, I CAN do everything and do it well. What I realized after class last week is that something giving doesn’t have to be about dropping the ball. It can be a conscious, thoughtful choice to prioritize.
Sometimes it’s not about doing a million things well but doing one thing well. More than that, even, it’s about doing one thing well and leaving space to do another thing well in the future. Sometimes we’re so focused on keeping all the balls in the air we forget to leave room to for improvement, for growth. We forget to leave room for our dreams to come in and take us to that next level.
Right now I’m missing creative movement so I’m prioritizing that in my life. Not as a job the way it looked before, but as an intention. I’m putting out there that I want to teach creative movement in a way that best supports my life, the one I’m currently living, growing with, and working on.
There are a lot of priorities in our lives and all of them are important. What I encourage you all to do this week is, just a little bit, prioritize space. Prioritize the unknown. Prioritize intention.
Set the space and watch what magic comes in to fill it,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Teach and Learn

I wanted to share with you all some experiences from the past few weeks. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play in the LPGA T & CP National Championship and wow, was it eye opening. Dana Rader, our national president, hosted the event and her presence was a source of inspiration and tremendous support. It reminded me how important golf is, and how empowering.
The first thing I should say was that my game was off. I didn’t play my best, but I wasn’t expecting to. I hadn’t been practicing at that level and I just wasn’t there. The amazing thing was that I pulled up my resources. I started talking to myself. Some of my usual mantras: I can, I am, I will. After awhile I wasn’t concerned with how I was playing. I realized what I really wanted from the weekend was to touch down with people I respect. To make connection.
There were five speakers there and I went to hear Cindy Miller. She’s a legend. She’s been in the top 50 for many years and is welcoming, warm and just so delightful. What she really stressed, though, was not proper swing technique, determination or talent. What she stressed was making light of things. She seemed to exude an air of just having FUN. It made me realize that I do this. With my students, on the course, in the classroom, this is my philosophy--- PLAY golf. Have fun. It was a validating moment for me, knowing I bring this to my students, but it also helped me relax with my own game. To not take myself so seriously. To know that even if I don’t play my absolute best being present and enjoying the experiences of the sport are the most important things.
I smiled through the rest of the tournament. It became a move. Right before I took the club I would smile. It was part of my prep. I was able to organize my thoughts with that smile, rein them in. I was focused and fully present. I was joyful. Smiling changed everything.
I also learned that I want someone like Cindy in my life. That it’s not enough to just teach, that I must continually learn. I realized the incredible privilege I have as an instructor and the enormous gift it is to teach lightness and joy in life. I want my children to know they’re the King. I want them to feel grand and big and totally empowered. I want them to know how bright they shine. And through teaching, I want to be taught. I want to reach higher and stretch farther and grow bigger. I want to be my absolute best so I can always be of the utmost service.
Teach, but never forget to learn--

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Moving On

I have some news to share with you all. It’s exciting and sad and liberating and scary and melancholy and joyful all at once, so here goes: I’m not coming back to school this year.
For those of you who don’t know I’ve been teaching creative movement at St. Thomas More Playgroup for the last ten years. I loved it there and my decision to leave was a tough one. I’ve made wonderful friends, seen classrooms of children through school, and genuinely enjoyed each and every day I spent there. We laughed, we played, we jumped for joy, and then, as with all things, it was time to move on.
The transition has allowed me to reflect on change and while there are many sorrowful things about saying goodbye, this is one of the true gifts. Many of us human beings don’t like change. We construct our lives against it, build walls to keep it out, even stay in circumstances and relationships that are no longer serving us all for the end goal of not rocking the boat. Keeping things par for the course. Not moving.
The irony of life is that it brings change. There is no steel strong enough change cannot cut through, no brick thick enough. It will come and when it does it is our choice whether we fight against it or whether we surrender and embrace it, knowing when the wind changes it blows us in a new direction…one that very well may bring about all kinds of wonderful things.
It was time to invest myself in KTUGA, to grow the business the way my dreams envision it and throw myself body and soul into the endeavor. It’s a risk, meeting change, but it’s also a great leap of faith and if nothing else I believe that when we leap, the net appears. It’s usually scary to step off that ledge and sometimes it seems impossible, but if and when we do it, we just might find that our wings work after all.
Here’s to change, moving on, leaping…and flying.
With love,