Winner of the PGA Australia’s National Coach of the Year award in 2016, Kiwi Richard Woodhouse has again been crowned the best coach in 2020 based not only on the performances of the professional and elite amateur players under his tutelage but for his own educational advancement and willingness to share that knowledge with other PGA Members.
Originally from Nelson and now based at the KDV Sport Academy on the Gold Coast, Woodhouse is an Assistant Coach with the Queensland Academy of Sport and serves as Golf Australia’s Queensland High Performance Coach in addition to his work with professionals such as Daniel Nisbet, Vic PGA champion Chris Wood, Tim Hart and Becky Kay.
In his quest to make elite players even better, Woodhouse recognises that there are aspects of his coaching that constantly need to develop and evolve.
“As coaches, we have to improve just as much as the players do,” said Woodhouse.
“I live by a mantra of a growth mindset so I’m always trying to evolve and get better as a coach.
“The players’ success has been fantastic, winning both domestically and internationally over the past 12 months, but essentially trying to share knowledge and build knowledge in the coaching space has been quite a big focus of my own and something that I’ve found a lot of enjoyment in doing.
“There’s been more professional development on that front than what there was back in 2016 that’s for sure.”
In addition to furthering his understanding of the biomechanics of the golf swing and the way in which bodies of all shapes and sizes can best swing a golf club, Woodhouse has placed a particular emphasis on the transition of technique to performance skill.
Developing a player to not only be technically sound but possess skills that will stand up under tournament pressure.
“I understand more about how to get the most out of a player, as opposed to just approaching it from the technical aspects,” Woodhouse explains of his own coaching development.
“That conversion of technical skill to performance skill. That is something that I have had to learn how to do more of.
“Particular types of drills to do, when to do them, how to communicate with the players better pre- and post-tournaments or pre-and post-training blocks.
“In our junior high performance squads we get them to put pen to paper in a training environment because as soon as the player is being accountable and keeping a score in training it sets their expectational level for when they’re on the golf course.
“That also allows the player to identify where the strengths and weaknesses are in their game more easily and it accelerates the learning. By documenting what they are doing in playing and training the improvement happens a lot faster.
“I’m definitely looking at coaching a lot more diversely than just swing technique. It’s trying to get the players performing better and understanding that you need the proficiency in technique first and foremost but once you have control of your golf ball, how to translate that into creating great performance in varying environments.”
Although fortunate to be based in Queensland where COVID-19 restrictions have been relatively minor compared to other states, Woodhouse has also delved deeper into the online coaching space through the Skillest app, a coaching asset he expects will only continue to grow in popularity.
“For the players that I work with overseas and interstate, Skillest has been brilliant,” Woodhouse says.
“It’s opened my eyes a little bit to see how easy it is to get players to improve online through the Skillest app.
“I was dubious of it years ago but the platform is really seamless and being able to put players on long-term development plans has been quite straightforward to be honest.
“Going forward there’s going to be a lot more of that being done, COVID or not.”