Skillest proves online is a better way to learn

Baden Schaff
Oct 23, 2018 · 5 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Skillest augments the in-person and online experience for coach and student

For a while now I think that most students and coaches have seen online learning as the inferior or poor man’s version of “the real thing” or in person lessons. When we started Skillest we probably believed the same thing. We wanted to provide students with the option to compare the many coaching styles on offer, learn in their own time and in a more cost effective manner. We also wanted coaches to be able to make more money, teach from anywhere anytime and free themselves of the seasonal and geographic constraints that we all face. But did we think we would provide an even better way to learn….. probably not.

However, having been up and running for a while now with thousands of online lessons passing through the app we have observed something magical and unexpected. The results are incredible. How come students are getting such good results and what is it about the process that helps students integrate change so efficiently.

After thinking about it deeply and talking to both coaches and students we realised exactly what it was.


In the old model of learning golf a student would arrive for a lesson, go through the usual process of watching their swing on video, getting some Trackman data, making some changes and start hitting it better. They would leave the lesson in high spirits play ok for the first round back, slowly loose their action and then eventually go back to the coach 4 weeks later to go through the whole process again. Clearly this is a broken model. Why should a student have to see their coach in person, spend another $150 just to see if they are working on the right things. Surly this only requires a quick check and feedback session via video to maintain their action. It’s because of the antiquated notion that lessons should go for a half/whole hour that students don’t return soon enough to maintain what they have got. Skillest eliminates this issue. Subscribe to your coach and interact whenever you want! Soon we will enter an era where coaches/academies must offer an online component to complement their in-person coaching. Not doing so will be considered negligent.


As coaches we are fully aware that no two coaches teach the same way. Even if coaches come from the same philosophy/stable of coaching they will still articulate and see things differently from each other. From the student point of view, deciphering who to learn from in the past was a case of driving from academy to academy to sample coaches. In the process spending huge amounts of money and wasting time. Finding your coach could take decades. We are transforming this process . After comparing the content in the Skillest explore page and comparing messages students can send the same swing to 5 different coaches in 1 night! Finding a coach with an analysis that resonates in a matter of 24 hours rather than taking a lifetime. This also democratises coaching allowing all coaches to put their message out there for all to see. We are peeling back the cloak of mystery and giving students an informed method of selecting their coach.


Every student has been to a lesson with a coach who spends most of the time talking about the weather, football or their own game for the majority of time. This has always infuriated me as a coach. Students end up spending $150 to have a social interaction. Now, I have built my coaching around relationships but when its business time the student’s game needs my full attention. Skillest eliminate the fluff. Students send their action, the coach analyses and communicates what is relevant and that’s it. Obviously the app facilitates streamlined communication between coach and student, but there is not a lot of weather talk. “This is what my action looks like…now fix me!” I love that! By its very nature Skillest eliminates the time wasting. The analysis can also be visited over and over again creating life time value for the student.


“I’ve never given a bad online lesson”. This is a quote from one of our coaches who has been using Skillest since the beginning. This is also an unexpected advantage of the online process. In the traditional way of “in-person” coaching, students are generally lined up one after the other. The time bound nature of in-person lessons means that the decision making process of the coach must begin as soon as the student walks through the door. Every coach at some stage has completely stuffed up a lesson because of the urgency which is inherent in a time restricted golf lessons. The asynchronous nature of online lessons means that coaches can take their time and make a considered and measured assessment of what needs to be done, no rush. So the information that students are getting is concise AND considered. its a pretty powerful combination.


As coaches we can forget just how intimidating an in-person lesson can be. Especially if there are 5 other teaching pros working in the same academy with students everywhere. To be honest it can be a pretty horrible learning environment. Students are worried about about not making a fool of themselves whilst trying to integrate the instructions being barked at them. For a student to really make lasting change they need to do it in a calm and controlled environment. The more stimuli they have the harder it is. Allowing students to consume the instructions and then integrate them in a slower and more comfortable manner is critical to them ever moving towards permanent change. By its very nature Skillest generates this environment.

Golf can be incredibly slow to move with the times but more often than not that change gets forced upon it by a groundswell. Online learning in almost every other field is just an accepted and generally better way to do things. Golf and sport in general is next in line for this revolution. For us it will be an incredibly exciting day when the majority of golf coaching is done online because as we see it students will be getting better, faster and enjoying the game more than they ever had before. Growing the game and showing students the true value of a gun coach is everything that we are about.

Baden Schaff

Skillest CEO, Co-Founder and PGA Member

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store