Sports & Health

The art of coaching: A master class with Dave Phillips, PGA coach

April 19, 2023

The art of coaching: A master class with Dave Phillips, PGA coach

Dave Phillips

Golf Instructor & Co-Founder of the Titleist Performance Institute

Join Dave Phillips, founder of TPI and coach of John Rahm, for a master class in coaching.

On a recent episode of the Walker Webcast, I had the opportunity to chat with Dave Phillips, a visionary thinker with a passion for teaching and learning. Phillips is a PGA coach and co-founder of TPI, the leading organization dedicated to studying how the human body functions in relation to the golf swing. He has worked with countless professional golf players and is a highly sought-after speaker. Recently, John Rahm, a player Phillips coached, won the Masters Tournament.

Phillips’ coaching philosophy

As a coach, Phillips plays a few different roles for his mentees. While he is capable of teaching techniques and the technical aspect of golf, players like John Rahm don’t exactly need that kind of coaching. When Rahm was heading into the last day of the Masters in second place, Phillips’ job was to work with him on the mental aspect of the game as needed. Phillips and Rahm worked tirelessly in the weeks before the Masters to make sure Rahm was prepared.

Once the tournament began, Phillips stepped back and let Rahm do what he knew best. While he was always there for Rahm, he wasn’t constantly working with him. Throughout the tournament, Phillips’ main focus was helping Rahm clear the mental “clutter” so he could focus on the game.

Does your age matter in pro sports?

To find pro talent, you generally have to discover people when they are young to help them develop their craft before reaching their peak years. However, Phillips doesn’t believe there is a specific age that someone needs to be to start down the pro player track. Everyone develops at a different rate, so there is no way you could put a number on the “perfect age.” Phillips tends to find the most success with those who have already hit their growth spurt, as well as those who play multiple sports.

How to foster longevity

Longevity has become a focus in modern medicine recently, but our healthcare system is not necessarily set up to foster longevity. Our current healthcare system is designed to fix grave problems that people have, not proactively work to prevent them, even though prevention can be incredibly simple.

Phillips believes that retaining mobility is a huge component of prevention, and it’s relatively easy for you to know when something is constraining your mobility. For example, you can feel when your knee or ankle hurts, so you can (and should) get it treated as soon as possible to ensure you keep your mobility.

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