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By Anne Marie Goslak

I could feel the hair on the back of my neck standing up, as my face flushed. My 'inner coach' said, "Don't do it, Anne Marie. Don't you do it! Sit down and keep your mouth shut!"

It was no use. My inner coach lost that battle. I stood up from my seat, waving my arm in the air as if to say, "Call on me. I DARE YOU!"

I was at a seminar related to teaching and coaching. For the most part, I found the panel of experts to be interesting. I had taken two pages of notes on success strategies and various styles of coaching when one of the speakers said, "Of course, all these strategies are useless if you run into students who suffer from LOFT. If you don't know, that stands for, it's Lack of Freakin' Talent!

The entire room laughed. The speaker went on to say that there is a percentage of the population that simply just can't learn a sport.

"It's not that they are lacking in intelligence. It's just that they never played sports. They have no hand eye coordination. Most of them are women, in their late 50s and early 60s. When you find someone like that, it's best just to tell them they are wasting their time and money and send them home."

All eyes were on me, as the speaker reluctantly called on me. "Yes, you, the girl in the white shirt. You have a question for me?"

"Yes, sir. Isn't it our JOB, as coaches, to work with the client, to find out how good they can be?"

He started in with a litany of excuses, followed up with some examples that defied a basic understanding of kinesiology. I challenged him again.

"I understand your point, that some people are harder to teach than others, but it's not like they are asking us to help them dunk a basketball or run a 3-minute mile. Most people simply want to hit the ball airborne and forward, so they can play golf with their spouse. Don't you think that if they do the drills enough, they can create new neuropathways and improve motor skills? I believe if the teacher works hard enough and the student is willing, they can accomplish almost anything within reason."

He literally laughed out loud and said, "Well, you can believe what you want, but once you get a few years' experience under your belt, you'll understand."

He addressed the crowd, "People, what this young lady is saying is noble, and sweet, but truthfully, you need to accept that people who lack talent are a waste of your time and their resources. It is best to cut them loose and focus on the better clients."

It was in that moment, I could feel myself becoming my mother!

"Young man! Although I do appreciate your incorrect assumption that I am either young or new to teaching, I am neither. With nearly 30 years of experience, I can tell you, EVERYONE can learn if they want to. They may not be Tiger Woods. They may not win their club championship, but they can play. Here's a quote that you should commit to memory. 'Anyone can tell you how many seeds are hidden in an apple, but no one will ever know the number of apples that will grow because of one well cultivated seed.' It is our job, as coaches, to cultivate and create the correct environment for EVERYONE to learn. I teach many women, new to golf, who are in the 50-60-year-old category. It is never a waste of time. It is always a great honor and joy to work with them. And yes, they CAN play!"

I addressed the room, "People, the next time you hear LOFTT, just remember what it really stands for. Lack of Freakin' Teaching Talent."

Somehow, I feel l will not get an invitation to next year's seminar. But I do hope those young teachers in the room will remember what I said. Whether you are a gifted athlete or someone who could never play a sport, you CAN play golf. Just find the right instructor, do the drills and believe in yourself.

-Anne Marie Goslak