Ingredients of Successful Coaching

Interview: Hanspeter Herger/Irene Oberländer

Andrea Mantoan coaching Joel Girrbach and Benjamin Rusch


Andrea Mantoan
Advanced Professional/Board Member Swiss PGA (Golfclub Erlen)

When did you start working with Joel and Beni?
I know Joel and Beni for a long time. We started working together about 12 or 13 years ago.

On what you are focused by coaching them?
As juniors the emphasis was on teaching them good fundamentals. Now it is not much teaching but coaching. They are two completely different players, with different styles of play with different personalities, so as a coach I have to approach them in a way to continuosly guide and steer them in the direction to suite the individual needs and qualities.

How do you communicate with them when both are abroad? How often do you see them physically?
Again, as their personalities are very different, we communicate in different way with another. Depending on their situations and needs, we text, use video and lately more data from trackman with video. When they are in the country between events with a week to train, I see them between 2 & 3 times a week.

What do you think is important as a coach to help them to close the gap between successful amateur into a successful professional player?
As a coach, the development and direction Benjamin and Joel’s career is taking is new for me too. I try to inform myself with what has happened in the past, to learn from mistakes been made, but also to learn from the many positives. I keep a close eye on the top players and coaches, to watch and learn from them, what are they doing, where and why are they better, what do we need to improve to get past that level. What I really believe in and constantly remind both Joel & Benjamin is that they are participating to win. They need to play to win to be successful - in all situations, and every training!


Training with Joel Girrbach and Benjamin Rusch


How do you support them on their way to success?
Over all the years we have worked together, there is a special bond we have with another. There is trust and respect, we know we can rely on another. Their interests and needs always come first. The situation they are in is also very fortunate, being able to feed off another. My way to support them is to always be there for them, to make sure I’m always one step ahead in regards to their needs and be open minded.

What's the difference in teaching a pro to a club player?
Joel & Benjamin don’t really need to be taught much, but more coached and guided. Working with them is more a dialogue, I definitely need to listen to them a lot, understand what they are feeling and thinking in the different situation, asking them the right questions, to find out what I need to know to help them.
They are already both very good players, but rely more on my feedback and guidance. Giving them confidence and belief in what they are doing.
When things are not going right during the season, there isn’t much time to set it right, there expectations are high, the information and feedback I give them needs to be very exact and suited to the situation.
A club player is usually still being taught, relying and expecting me to tell them what and how do to movements. Teaching a club player I’m often explaining why the ball reacts the way it does, and then teaching how to improve the situation.


How does the training vary over the season, winter vs. summer?
During the winter the work is more technical, working on repeating positions and ball flights and if any changes need to be made, the work is more on the range. They also have more time for fitness.
Summer, is more work on the course, working on ball flights, distance control and lots of short game on the course from different lies, placing the ball in situations you can’t practice on the practice grounds.
We try to simulate the situations they’re going to have in the coming events.
The difference to practicing on the course is hitting 10 different shots from different situations, not hitting the same shot 10 times as on the range.

What are the next steps?
Definitely to get onto the European Tour! They need to work on making less mistakes, and having a short game, so good that its there to get you out of trouble. They both make enough birdies to be on the main tour.

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