By Stephen Ladd
Thank you for your interest in my EFT work with golfers. The following is a description of my coaching protocol and a summary of the handicap reduction statistics that I have compiled over the last year and a half.
I have learned a great deal from the generous and informative posts by other practitioners on the forum (particular thanks to both Steve Wells and Stacey Vornbrock). Hopefully, this information will be of some use to coaches working with golfers or other athletes.
My entry into energy work with golfers was a natural (at least I see it as natural) progression of my 10 years' experience as a strength and conditioning coach. At the time I had a large number of golfers in my conditioning programs. In addition, I also had the trust and respect of many top golf instructors in the area. These relationships made it substantially easier to introduce EFT.
Structure of Sessions
The vast majority of my work with golfers takes place one-on-one, in person. The first session is in my office, or in the case of teaching professionals, it may be out on the putting green.
In the Office
The session starts with an intake interview gathering specifics about the client’s golf game i.e. years playing, handicap, instructor(s), strong/weak part of game, best/worst moment on a golf course, physical discomforts etc. Golfers LOVE to talk shop, so letting them talk a bit helps to build rapport. I will also sneak in some seemingly non-golf related inquires concerning relationships (starting with “does your spouse play golf?”), job, belief systems (indirectly at first) etc.
Next I move right into a visualization demonstration of EFT. It doesn’t matter to me if the client is familiar with tapping or not, I just want them to FEEL it. In brief, I have the client visualize the most challenging golf shot/situation they have ever encountered, and attach an emotion and SUD level to it. Then I tap for them a basic shortcut - KC (setup), EB, SE, UE, UN, UC, UA, W, TH.
Note: I actually tap on them the first round or two, as I have found that it is easier for clients to stay focused on the issue/scene when they don’t have to watch and mimic me in terms of tapping locations.
Note: I don’t insist that they actually say a reminder phrase, but rather encourage them to just “tune into the issue” in whatever way they prefer.
It usually only takes one to three rounds to bring the 0-10 intensity level down to a 0 on any particular issue. Of course, there are exceptions that require a bit more detective work, but I try not to get too “far out” in the first session, e.g., how the anger they harbor for an ex-spouse may be causing the yips. I have found it helpful to build a bit more trust before diving headfirst into (abstract) core issues.
Once the client has actually experienced a shift in SUD level, they are usually quite open to the idea of “comfort zone” work. After explaining the basic concept and doing some preliminary testing, I assign homework using several chapters of my book Tap In Golf: The Ultimate Mental Game Mastery System.
Note: I have experienced a dramatic increase in compliance with homework assignments with the publication of my book, as compared to simple handouts.
Before leaving the first appointment, I will secure a date and time for the next appointment. Often times this will be at one of the country clubs or at the driving range.
The Putting Green
I like to get the client out to the putting green on the second or third session to be able to see a more objective improvement. Often times this will have already taken place if they have been out playing rounds after our first session. In my experience, it has worked well to take golf instructors out to the putting green on the first session. This may be because the instructor (like a highly skilled golfer) can FEEL subtleties in his/her putting stroke (subjective) and we can also “score” the putts as well (objective). Chapter Five of my book is called "The Putting Challenge" and is excerpted below:
Head out to the putting green with five golf balls. Pick a single hole to be used for the duration of this experiment. Begin practicing from about 20 feet at four different locations.
Make sure you are completely warmed up and have a good idea of the breaks in the green from each position. This will help insure that the improvement you experience after the tapping routine will not be attributed to simply getting a feel for the green.
Next, you are going to hit five putts from each of the four locations. Each putt will be graded by you, using the score card below:
Note: it is helpful to decide in advance what constitutes each rating. For example:
Ace: obviously, “in the hole”
Good: “tap in” within 1.5 feet
Fair: 1.5 - 3 feet
Poor: 3+ feet
Adjust the above criteria to match your current putting skill level. Just be sure to use the same criteria for the before and after rounds.
In addition to this objective scoring system, also make a mental note of how you FEEL while you are putting.
Hit all twenty putts now, five from each of the four locations, and grade them accordingly.
Now perform the tapping shortcut routine for “tension” or any specific negative feeling or emotion you may be experiencing.
Take a deep breath.
Putt five balls from location #1, and mark down the appropriate score for each one.
Move to location #2 and repeat the shortcut routine again. (Come on, it only takes 30 seconds!) Now stroke the next five putts and score each one accordingly.
Repeat this same procedure for locations #3 and #4.
Now it is time to compare the before and after scores. The chances are extremely good that you will see an improvement, often times a dramatic one. Below is the score card of a PGA teaching professional (reprinted with his permission).
Name: Dave Proffitt
Ace I Ace III
Good IIIIII Good IIIIIIIIIIIII
Fair IIIIIIIII Fair IIII
Poor IIII Poor
Note: I have been able to secure relationships with three golf courses which allow me to conduct playing lessons. This was not easy at first. Two of the clubs eventually allowed me to work there because I coached several of their more prominent members. The third course recently cut a deal with me to do small instructional sessions once a month for their members in exchange for playing lesson privileges. This will work out well for me as I will certainly gain more clients—and sell more books.
My on-the-course playing lessons have become quite popular, and profitable. I offer six- or nine-hole formats (and on occasion a full 18-hole round). Before I will conduct a playing lesson with a client, they must have:
1) Had at least one session off-the-course (preferably two)
2) Own and be familiar with my book
Before the round we work on “clearing” (this word seems to be innocent enough for most golfers) any particular element of the client’s game that is causing concern, e.g., putting. We also address any comfort zone issues and then review the basic “tension” shortcut protocols.
While on the course, I usually have the client tap frequently, but on a limited number of points. For example, I will often skip the setup entirely, and just use the CB and UE points. I started implementing this approach after many of my advanced players naturally came to this formula on their own. It has also been my experience that some golfers get overwhelmed initially with too much on-the-course tapping. Obviously, there is a great deal of variation among individuals, which is what makes coaching so much fun.
One of my favorite methods for finding “what” to tap on is to have the client simply tell me what they are thinking. I’m constantly asking them “What do you think about this shot?” or “How do you feel about it?” etc. I’m quite a nag, or so I am told. At first I was a bit worried about talking too much and getting them “out of the zone.” But then I started to question my own belief that “the zone” was so fragile—says who? Why is it that golfers need it to be so quiet? My answer is that it is purely tradition—high-brow tradition at that. And tradition has never seemed a good validation to me. I mean really. hitting a baseball is a much more challenging feat than hitting a stationary golf ball, but you don’t see the baseball players asking everyone to quiet down. But I digress...
To make matters even worse (or better, depending on your perspective) I will often employ some PET (provocative energy therapy) ala Steve Wells. Thanks again to Steve for validating this style and allowing me to fully explore that which comes rather naturally with my personality.
For example, I might say things like: (all real examples from last week)
A) “Wow, that’s a horrible lie, isn’t it?”
B) “Are you sure that’s enough club to clear the water?”
C) “Driver on this hole is a gutsy call.”
Now, usually, they will say something like:
A) “Yes, I hate lies like this.”
B) “It really doesn’t feel like enough club, but I hate my longer iron.”
C) “You’re right, but I feel like a wimp using my three wood.”
These responses provide great material to tap on, both in the moment and off-the-course (I take notes to create homework assignments).
On the other hand, I also get more “positive” reactions like:
- a funny look and a laugh
- a hand waving me away
- the middle finger (and a smile)
- or something along the lines of “I feel good.”
And if they feel good, then I feel good.
It is important to note that I only use PET once I have developed a strong rapport with the client, which usually happens rather quickly. However, there have been a few clients where it just wouldn’t mesh well with their personalities.
I generally check in with clients about once a month to ask about progress, if they have any questions or concerns, and sometimes request testimonials. I began to notice that many EFT practitioners on the forum had collected data on the improvements in their clients. Therefore I’ve also added a somewhat more detailed written evaluation of progress.
Although I am continually making changes to the questions, the basic outline always includes:
How did you hear about my services?
How would you rate your overall satisfaction level with the improvement of your golf game after implementing these techniques?
Excellent Good Fair Not So Good
What was your handicap prior to starting these techniques, and what is it today?
What part of your game improved the most?
Have you noticed any improvements in any areas of your life OFF the course? If so, please explain.
Please provide me with any suggestions on how I might improve my teaching of the Tap In Golf techniques.
In the last 1.5 years, 103 golfers have filled out this evaluation. The “satisfaction” inquiry gathered the following results:
59 - excellent
32 - good
10 - fair
2 - not so good
But in my experience, the most meaningful measure (by far) to golfers is the reduction of their handicap.
Below is information on a number of golfers for whom I could verify their start and end dates (most people seem to forget one or the other).
However, I do feel as though a disclaimer is in order. Although I asked for the reduction of each golfer’s handicap, it has been my experience that a relatively small percentage of golfers have an “official” handicap. It is probably more common among very good golfers, but I know several who routinely shoot in the upper seventies and don’t bother with the official procedure. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the USGA system, it is a rather complex calculation (done by a computer) that uses the 10 best scores from the last 20 rounds played on specific courses which have a “slope rating” (difficulty level). Honestly, it’s been explained to me several times and I still don’t completely understand it.
Despite the fact that only a modest percentage of my golfers follow the system, I still get many of them answering the “handicap reduction” question. This leads me to believe that they are actually answering the question:
“What was your average round before and after learning and applying the tapping techniques”?
For example, if they would normally shoot 90, they would consider their handicap to be 18. Then after tapping they might normally shoot 80—they would say they are an 8 handicap. Therefore on the questionnaire and the following data sheet it would read a handicap reduction from 18 to 8, even though it was not an “official USGA handicap.”
Subsequent inquiry among of my clients has verified that this is most often the case.
Also note that some of my golfers started in the winter months (in Ohio), so that there could be a delay in getting out on the links after learning the techniques.
In other words, this data would not be solid enough for a graduate level dissertation. Nonetheless, I hope that it is helpful or interesting in some way.
|Name||Begin Handicap||Date||End Handicap||Date||%Improvement|
Thanks to all of the practitioners who post their reports to the forum. I hope this is helpful.