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Swing Mechanics Without Athletic Ability


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#1 Devongolfer

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 06:35 PM

I must begin by saying that I am not a golf instructor, all of this is purely one hacker's view and it is entirely possible that this might end up being nonsense, or that I might change my mind.

Having worked on swing mechanics for quite a while, I am coming to a view that natural ability comes in two flavours: hand eye coordination and athletic ability.

I have concluded that I have hand eye coordination, and I think I have that in common with all golfers. But I also think I lack anything resembling natural athletic ability.

Among the people I play with, very roughly, I reckon maybe 10% have a decent amount of athletic ability, the rest of us are trying to play golf without.

I also reckon that all of the pros who I have gone to for lessons have athletic ability. They make moves with their bodies using their athleticism that have come naturally to them from their early days.

It is becoming clear to me that I am wasting my time if I try to adopt a swing pattern that needs more athletic ability than I have.

And I have come to a couple of questions that interest me, and which this thread is about.

1: how good can you get at swing mechanics if you don't have much athletic ability?
2: what swing pattern or patterns might suit such a player?

It will take me a few posts to expand on the preamble, so please bear with me, then I will get into how far I have got with answering these questions for myself, at which point I will be very interested to hear other views.
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#2 Devongolfer

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 06:50 PM

Let me make my case about hand eye coordination and athletic ability.

In my simple view, cricket illustrates this nicely.

At whatever level of the game, you find:

Good batsmen who are lousy fast bowlers. Great fast bowlers who are lousy batsmen. All rounders who do both well. I associate batting with hand eye coordination, fast bowling with athletic ability.

Darts, table tennis, snooker, putting, watch making, woodwork.... hand eye coordination.

Pole vaulting, high jumping, sprinting, dancing, gymnastics.... athletic ability.

I hope any sports scientists who read this simplistic categorisation will allow me to carry on rather than shoot me down.
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#3 Devongolfer

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 07:03 PM

When was the last time one of your golf buddies missed the ball altogether? I am not talking about near misses. like shanks, tops, fats etc, but a proper whiff.

Among golfers, whiffs are very rare. I am not talking about beginners.

How many of the people at your course have nice balanced classic swings? I reckon some, but a small minority. Yet the ones who are lurching, heaving, falling off balance and generally making an awful swipe at the ball still manage to make contact over 99% of the time.

My theory is that all golfers have hand eye coordination, and their hand eye coordination "saves them" shot after shot after shot. In swing mechanics terms, their hand eye coordination comes up with whatever compensation moves they need in order to make contact.

What about the people who don't have hand eye coordination? I reckon they give up and never become golfers.

So, my theory is that all of us golfers have the hand eye coordination we need, but there is a wide range of athletic ability among golfers.

#4 Shanks4ever

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 07:51 PM

Hand eye coordination is used for moving ball sports whether to catch it or hit it. The ability for your eyes to observe the moving target which allows your brain to direct your body and ultimately your hands to catch or hit it is this coordination.

 

In golf the ball is not moving thus the skill is not necessary. Anybody that says they save a shot through hand eye coordination is wrong imo unless they are swinging at a snails pace.

 

Read this especially the golf reference. http://www.bbc.com/f...ss-for-athletes

 

As for athletic ability most people with modest ability should be able to reach single figures with reasonable technique whether that came naturally or through teaching and grinding to a reasonable technique. 

 

Elite performance normally comes from natural athletic ability (a few exceptions) a lot of coaching and focussed practice from a young age.



#5 Devongolfer

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 08:15 PM

Returning to swing mechanics and golf instruction.

There are many different swing patterns, but all of the ones I have from books, videos, lessons etc include a "transition move".

You are not hitting the ball during the transition, you are getting ready to hit the ball. Most transition descriptions include

dropping the arms
while laying the club down
while shifting weight to the left side
while starting to turn your left hip back
while not turning your shoulders

and often they say that pro golfers start their lower body transition move before the arms have reached the top

But I reckon there are two hidden "gotchas" here.

Gotcha 1 is that the pro we are trying to copy does all of these things, but I reckon he does them instinctively using their natural athletic ability.

Gotcha 2 is that if we, as a pupil lacking their level of natural athlethic ability, nevertheless try to copy these moves by having swing thoughts about the moves, it all goes horribly wrong. You can't substitute for athletic ability with conscious thought. imo.

I reckon anyone can learn to make a decent backswing and that everyone goes through impact using instinctive hand eye coordination. But I have come to the conclusion that golfers with low levels of natural athletic ability, like me, need a much simpler swing pattern. A pattern that reduces the need for these transition moves.

For me, "swing mechanics without athletic ability" means maximising the on plane mechanics through impact whilst minimising the need for any sort of athleticism in the transition.

How am I doing? With me so far? Comments welcome at this point.

If there is any interest, I will talk about what I have found from among all the golf teaching I have been working through that is relevant, imo, to minimising this transition move athleticism requirement.

#6 Shanks4ever

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 08:52 PM

Too much thought is the killer especially on the downswing. One simple thought from the top eg  Right elbow bent/hinged 90 degrees toward right hip is a simple thought, try it.

 

The only hand eye coordination you need is to focus upon the ball with your eyes. Put a dot on a dimple for tee shots and putts, focus on that, it will improve those shots. Most people have very poor focus.



#7 Ink🐾

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 09:46 PM

Playstation
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#8 Commish

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 10:35 PM

Too much thought is the killer especially on the downswing. One simple thought from the top eg  Right elbow bent/hinged 90 degrees toward right hip is a simple thought, try it.

 

The only hand eye coordination you need is to focus upon the ball with your eyes. Put a dot on a dimple for tee shots and putts, focus on that, it will improve those shots. Most people have very poor focus.

 

Some of Boz's, shall we say, alternate type Vision balls do this remarkably well..

 

 


How am I doing? With me so far? Comments welcome at this point.

If there is any interest, I will talk about what I have found from among all the golf teaching I have been working through that is relevant, imo, to minimising this transition move athleticism requirement.

 

More than interested in reading what you have found through your research.  Anything that saves me the angst of trying to work out why my game is so terrible at times is of value.


The key to success is to learn to do something right, then do it right every time. Oh I wish.....
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#9 Hokey Pokey

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 11:29 AM

What if you have no hand eye coordination and no athletic ability?

 

Asking for Commish a friend.


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#10 Hokey Pokey

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 11:38 AM

PlayStation

 

Rusty is out, he hurt his thumb.


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#11 Commish

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 12:55 PM

What if you have no hand eye coordination and no athletic ability?

 

Asking for Commish a friend.

 

You have seen first hand the reality of my dilemma. :(


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The key to success is to learn to do something right, then do it right every time. Oh I wish.....
Three time winner of the treasured WBT.
2012 ISG National Champs 2nd Round winner @ Robina Woods
2013 ISG National Champs 1st Round winner @ 'The Dunes'
2014 ISG National Champs - Top 10 finish - Played like a girl - MUNT GOLFER
2015 ISG National Champs - Deservedly crowned the National N.A.G.A.
2016 ISG National Champs 4BBB champion with Francie
2017 ISG National Champs - I was there and the only thing that saved me was more BEER.
2018 ISG National Champs Top 10 Finish & 4BBB Champion with Weetie.  

Hole in One - Rosnay GC, 157 metre Par 3 - 27th February 2015

http://www.golflink....k_no=2030804409


#12 madness

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 04:11 PM

I think feel for the clubface is a better term than hand eye coordination and there are many clubfitters who believe the shaft weight is more important than the flex. And I would use the term biomechanics rather than athletic ability. There are some pretty weedy tour pro's who can make the ball go a long way. 

Most golf pro's are snake oil salesman. They place a video of your golf swing next to a video of the best golf swing in the world and talk about all the wonderful changes you can make with a few lessons and each time you go back they talk up the progress you've made and 20 lessons later they are still talking about the progress you've made! 

A good pro won't talk about the best swing in the world, they will address the bias and limitations in your movement and work with what is there. If someone wanted to do more than just play a bit of golf and committed to genuine change they would achieve more through insoles and a dedicated gym program to change how the muscles were moving all the time, not just when there is a golf club in the hand.


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#13 Devongolfer

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 04:12 PM

Left hip, right arm on plane, timing.

I am "zooming in" on the transition as being the tricky bit.

I will start with the left hip. We all know that we rotate our torso around a constant spine angle. When I work on this without a club, say with arms crossed with hands on the opposite shoulder, it is clear to me that the left hip needs to move back "out of the way". I can't get the right shoulder rotated "down plane" nicely with the left hip stuck in the forward position it gets to at the end of the backswing.

If I try to swing whilst keeping the left hip forward, it not only feels awkward, off balance, and I end up standing up out of my posture, it feels exactly like some of the bad swings I make when I am on the course. It is clear to me that I make some bad swings a round when I fail to get the left hip out of the way.

So, simple fix, right? Have a swing key something like "start down with the left hip"

Now try a different experiment. This time, take a nice full backswing, keep the arms high and rotate the left hip out of the way. What happens is the hips pull the upper body and this carries the hands and club way out forward and above the plane. You are stuffed at this point, way OTT.

Hold those thoughts, now think about the arms. I am following Hardy, as you know from tne Hardy thread. The right arm "throw" needs to be on plane, but a normal backswing takes the club and the right forearm way above plane. So, you need to drop the club and perhaps lay it down as well, before you hit.

Simple fix, right? Have a swing key something like "stay turned while you drop the arms and lay the club down", then hit.

In my experience, "staying turned" also means that the left hip stays turned, it is still in the forward position from the backswing. So, if I simply focus on the arms in the transition, I find myself hitting into a stuck left hip. And if I focus on the left hip in the transition, I pull my upper body OTT.

None of this is new, but it explains to me why the recipe for a transition consists of doing several things at the same time. Shift the weight, turn the left hip but without turning the upper body, drop the arms, lay the club down, ....then hit the ball.

It gets worse, because, of course, if you try to accomplish this by having several swing keys, we all know how it ends up. As Shanks says, you really need to only be looking at the ball closely and focussed on hitting it.

So, my experience is a constant see saw. Focus on the left hip and I come OTT. Focus on the arms, and I get stuck. Try to focus on everything, and it all goes haywire.

I have to believe that talented golfers are not screwed up like this, which is why I conclude that they must be doing some, most or all of this using natural athletic ability.

So, my thinking has evolved. Maybe I don't have the natural athletic ability to do this transition well, time after time. Is that the end of my swing mechanics journey? Or are there any ways to make this whole transition stuff simpler and easier, something I can actually do repeatably?

#14 Hokey Pokey

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 04:22 PM

A good pro won't talk about the best swing in the world, they will address the bias and limitations in your movement and work with what is there.


This is a great point.

Unfortunately there are very few golf pros like this around.
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#15 Shanks4ever

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 06:03 PM

"I have to believe that talented golfers are not screwed up like this, which is why I conclude that they must be doing some, most or all of this using natural athletic ability." 

 

They do it with little thought because an instructor has refined their movement. What gets interesting is when these "natural" athletes lose confidence with their movement. Some get to your point, paralysis by analysis. 

 

You seem to be complicating it way too much, just watch the ball and try to return the club to your address position. Start with small swings hip to hip with wrists fully hinged and then build from there. 


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