Did you say 10 cm swing bottom or qiu gan bai dong 10 li mi???
After living in China for two months I am not going to profess to you that I can speak anything clearly at all. The other day I asked the price for three bottles of tea and was then presented with a case.So with that said, since I don’t speak Mandarin or Cantonese very fluently. The first thing I did was get my friend Kathy Song to help me translate the five Dynamics into Chinese.
Kathy is a Chinese Teacher that teaches English at the school in which I work. Now the thing that you need to understand is that there are no direct translations for anything in golf. So, here are the Five Dynamics translated.
#1 Flat left wrist at impact – dang in ji qiu de shi hou zuo wan fang ping
#2 10cm swing bottom – qiu gan bai dong shi li mi
#3 Load – ju ji neng liang
#4 Lag – bao chi neng liang
#5 Straight plane line trough impact zone – ji qin shi, zhi jie hui gan
You can practice these if you would like, but the problem is that my program does not allow me to put the
accents in where they belong over the letters. This was the basic problem I had with checking the price of
tea. I was saying the correct word, but not with the correct intonation. Chinese is a tonal language with each
vowel having four different sounds and if you say a word with the wrong sound, instead of being polite you
may be calling the person you are talking to a horse or something worse. Fortunately I have a great coach in
my friend Kathy.
At this point you may be asking yourself what does this have to do with teaching golf other than trying to
learn the language. As I have been struggling with the language, I got to thinking about an activity that my
good friend Eric Clark once did at a coaches’ orientation. Eric is the Director of Coach Training and Delivery
for The First Tee. During the activity he gave us all a Pez container. A Pez container is the funny little candy
dispenser with the head of some character on top, kind of like a bobblehead without the bobbling. Anyway,
if you are too young to remember what they are, it would be a good time for you to Google it. Anyway, I
digress. The point of Eric’s analogy was that as instructors and coaches we tend to talk too much. Most
of us want feedback from our students verbally to help us to reinforce what we are telling them, but Eric
was saying that when you feel like you need that feedback, put a Pez candy in your mouth and watch and
observe. He was encouraging us to use the old adage, Silence is golden. The more experience you have as an
instructor, you learn to tell the difference between the student that needs constant feedback and the student
that needs time to process.
I have learned a valuable lesson while here in China. I have slowly been doing a little bit of teaching and the
beautiful thing about doing the five dynamics is that I haven’t had to or been able to say them, but I have
demonstrated them. Despite the language barrier I can communicate a flat left wrist at impact, a four inch
swing bottom(even though they use centimeters here), load and lag. I don’t have any students that I have
gotten to dynamic #5 with yet, but I will soon. The amazing thing is that I believe I am actually better as a
teacher and have gotten quality results by not saying as much.
I hope this brings some insight to you and you might want to practice your Chinese, because it feels like golf
is getting ready to explode here. I would use the analogy of being on the tip of an iceberg, but I feel more like
a snowflake that has fallen onto an avalanche field getting ready to burst down a slope.
Best wishes to all of you from China!
Rusty Oetinger, IMPACT ZONE™ Certified Instructor and IMPACT ZONE Advanced I certified, Recognized
The First Tee Coach.