We all have the swing in us

PHUKET: Gilles Duboueix, a professional golf coach and mental trainer, claims that we all have the swing in us, we just need to discover it, and he’s here to help. Having spent the past seven years working both with amateurs and professionals, he shares the secrets of his technique with the Gazette, proving that the most important part of a golfers body is the mind.

What does it take to be the best in golf?
Gilles Duboueix: If your goal is to be absolutely the best player, the best in the world, you have to make a big change. Not only on the technical and physical side, this is something you simply have to have, but a big part is also mental conditioning – at the top level it’s as important as the other parts.
To be a winner you have to be very organized and not many people lead a very rigorous, strict lifestyle. At a high level you need perfect precision and to get it you need to have a clear mind and play with just your instinct. To get this moment of clarity you need to work a lot on yourself, you need to explore your feelings, discover what’s bothering you and find solutions. The more relaxed and free you feel, the more you can concentrate on your game and the better results you achieve. My task is to help players let go, clear their heads, which will let them perform better under pressure.

A traditional golf coach would spend time with the player on the golf course. What does a session with you look like in practice?
It’s mostly talking. They talk and I listen. We get to know each other, I evaluate their problems and gain their trust. I work to get to the bottom of their problems – with amateurs this is simple because most of the time the problem is technical and this is something I can quickly recognize on the driving range. With professionals I focus on analyzing the mind. It’s a very personalized therapy similar to when people end up on a therapist’s sofa. The difference is that we work on the golf course.

And once you get to the bottom of the problem, how do you solve it?
We spend a lot of time together on the course, but also at lunch, at dinner, during travel, after which I can provide the golfer with a solution. For example, I have many times worked with players who played very well with friends, in a relaxed atmosphere, but during the tournament, they just couldn’t make the cut. And in our conversations I discovered that they spent many hours a day on Facebook, or that their mother or girlfriend bothered them. When I hear this, it’s easy to make a connection because for golf, you need to be very focused on your goal. Going pro is taking a certain decision and you need to be serious about it. At this level, golf is a business and you’re the boss, you’re the seller, the marketing manager, you’re everything and you’re alone. It’s just you and the small white ball.

When did you decide to take up the mental side of golf coaching?
It has been seven years, but I have been playing golf for 35 years, since I was about six years old. And of course I also conduct traditional, technical training, I simply have to. But the mental training is gaining popularity, there are new big names coming up, new gurus, more books are getting published, and more players understand that they need a mental coach just as much as they need a physical coach.

So what is your success rate so far?
I have a good example here in Phuket. I worked with a Canadian player three years ago who was on the ADT (Asian Development Tour) and was missing a lot of cuts even though he was doing well at the driving range. We worked a lot together and now, almost two and a half years later, he finished in the top three of the Order of Merit of the ADT 2013 and he got into the Asian Tour, where he is playing this year. This proved to me that I’m not so bad at what I do. Three years ago, he was ranked 1,500th in the world. Today he is 500th. To advance by 1,000 places in two and a half years during which we worked on the technical side but also on the mental side, is a big thing. Normally it takes maybe five to six years to achieve the same results. To do that, we changed his life completely, we stopped his Facebook addiction, got rid of some false friends sucking money from him, fixed his mind and gave him space to focus on golf. I’m very proud of him and of myself.

Who is your target group, your potential customer?
I work with professionals but also with amateurs and with golf courses – recently I worked with a member of the Blue Canyon and got good results. My teaching technique is a bit special, it’s not something you find every day on the driving range. I do not give my customers a quick fix and leave them not knowing if they are ever going to see me again. When I teach amateurs, I try to have a connection with them, to find passion for golf, the fire for the game. I want to work with people who really want to improve and not just show off in front of friends. I respect that because golf is a fun game, but if somebody is not interested in progress, then they don’t interest me.

Do people enjoy working with you?
I think so because my approach is different, I make golfers feel free, not focus on all the parameters that come with golf. I try to make them understand their own bodies first because we all have the swing in us, it’s there but we don’t use it. We just need to find this automatic instinct. It’s like driving a car, you do it naturally and when you do it, you feel safe and confident. My goal is to do the same thing with golf.

To get in touch with coach Duboueix call 080-719 6373 or send an email to gillesduboueix@gmail.com.

— Maciek Klimowicz

Phuket News
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