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James Hong 

What got you into coaching?

I have always been into coaching, just something that was inherent.  When I played sports, I would help teammates, and always ask questions of the coach.  I even coached two college teams in another sport, and I really enjoyed that.  Golf specifically, I have been teaching for 23+ years. 


Tell us about your style of teaching. 

I teach to the person in front of me.  That means doing quick assessments, or maybe just observations.  I ask a lot of questions, particularly in relation to past sports played, injury history, what tendencies does the student notice.  I never stop learning, and when I see issues that I have no experience with, I ask questions to those that know better, whether they be in fitness, health, biomechanics, anything.  

I believe in trying to find the root cause of issues, noting potential risks or issues, and not just simply fix things in the moment.  I use a lot of technology, but the data is for me, not necessarily the student.  Many times, in fact, the student isn’t even aware that something is being documented until I point it out to them.  I use a Foresight Quad launch monitor, Smart2Move pressure plates, OnForm video analysis, 4Dmotion Sports 3D sensor system, Capto Putting.  


Describe for us how you manage your weekly coaching.

During the winter months, I will teach Tuesday-Fridays from 1 pm to 6:30/7:00 pm.  From 4:00 pm on, I am fully booked through the weekdays.  On the weekends, both Saturdays and Sundays are fully booked 9:00 am straight through to 5:00 pm.

When we are in season, I am teaching Tuesday-Friday from 10:00 am straight through to 7/8:00 pm.  Saturdays and Sundays are also fully booked 9:00 am through to 6:30/7:00 pm.  


Do you have any specific areas you focus on more than just general coaching? Short game? Putting? 

It depends upon the player, and what their deficiencies are.  For most competitive juniors, we spend a lot of time on short game and on-course play.  


What are some common questions you get from your students?

I only have 10min before tee time best warm up?  

Using a Theraband or some elastic band, do some dynamic warm ups to get the blood quickly flowing and the muscles warmed up. Hit a couple of chips and pitches, and you may not even need a target.  Just feel your short swing tempo.   Then with 9- and 7-iron, hit a few balls, focusing ONLY on start line (club face control). Doesn’t even have to be full swings. Then hit a few drivers; always finish with the club you’ll first tee off with.  Drop 3 balls on a flat area of the green, no hole, and “find your speed of the day (that is something I teach all of my students, and they find it supremely easy to adapt to the green speeds).” 


How do I record video for my coach?

The most important thing to find out is, what camera set up does my coach prefer?  For instance, when it is down-the-line, where should the camera be pointed (hands, hips, target), and at what height (belt high, chest high, etc.)?  I actually have a Youtube video describing my preferences, and I send the link to all new students.  


How best to practice after a lesson?

Ideally, as soon as the lesson is completed, spend an additional few minutes continuing what was worked on in the lesson.  Write (not type), notes on what to do, how it felt.  View the video lesson recap the coach sends you, and take notes from those.  Videotape your first practice and send it to the coach for critiques and notes.  After several practice sessions, do it again, for more feedback.  

Dedicate time on the course, whether it be 3 holes, 1 hole, front 9, a total round, anything, where your focus is on what you are working on, and not on score.  

When correcting or learning new patterns, understand two things: 1) what might happen, and 2) what might happen if you OVER correct.  Accept both outcomes.  An example would be, if your face is too open at impact, working on squaring or closing it more.  1) would be a better shot, maybe a draw.  2) would be a pull of some sort, or toe-thin shot.  

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