This blog could have a lot of different titles, like ‘Learn by watching, not thinking’ or ‘Feel the swing you want’. The Internet, particularly with the proliferation of videos, has made golf instruction available to the average person on a scale never before available. Have a problem getting out of the sand? Go watch a video of Gary Player showing you how it’s done.
The image above is linked to a video at Golf.com (or click HERE) where instructor Brady Riggs demonstrates one way to stop overswinging. That’s nice in itself, but perhaps more importantly, it might introduce you to a new way of learning; first feeling what’s being demonstrated, then letting your body mimic it.
My wife has been taking some lessons from our local pro. I went to watch the process, liked what I saw, and have been incorporating the basic move he’s been demonstrating into my own swing – with some good results I might add. Why the success? I haven’t been trying to breakdown what’s he’s teaching into components. I’ve tried to remember the IMAGE of him demonstrating the move and then trying to feel that in myself.
Right now you may be thinking I’ve lost my mind, so let me explain a bit more. Think of learning to catch a fly ball or dancing. If you start by breaking these into minute components you’re dead. Most of us observe and then suspend our analytical minds, just letting our body take over mimicking what we’ve seen. You could sum this up as ‘Feel then do’.
Back to our video. Watch Brady Riggs demonstrate a way to stop overswinging (great stuff). Don’t think too much about the instruction, just watch him swing. This is what I see; a simple athletic movement that’s packed with effortless power. I’d love to look like Brady when hitting a ball. And I think it’s possible to get close if you let your body ‘feel’ what he’s doing. Your goal becomes duplicating that effortless/power feeling, not all the basic components you could break it down into. The technical tweaks come after you’ve mastered the feeling. I’m convinced you can’t do it the other way around.
Use internet videos to your advantage. Watch a great demonstration of something you want to improve. Hold that image in your mind as you practice. Come home, watch it again, and go out and try to get closer to the feeling. If you can get someone to video your practice, even better. Watch yourself, then the instructor. Turn off your analytical mind and let your body’s natural mimicking talent take over.
I love this Brady Riggs demo and will watch it many times, particularly when my own swing gets stiff and feels forced. The one bit of advice I’d add is ‘Relax your grip on the club’. It’s critical to getting your body going in two directions at once, which is key to generating speed. It’s unbelievably easy to start strangling the club when the going gets tough.
Remember this, the harder the shot the more important for the shot maker to relax. You can’t force a shot, you have to let it happen, which means releasing tension. Tense muscles are slow and jerky!