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Should we ditch the 'swing of a thousand positions'? - Page 3

post #37 of 50
Thread Starter 

WUTiger - you're absolutely right.... Ernest Jones was a pro golfer who lost a leg. He continued playing (on one leg) and played par golf almost immediately. He wondered how the human body could possibly adapt like this and came up with the theory that given a physical challenge the brain has the ability to work out a way to solve it. He changed his coaching accordingly - instead of coaching positions - he told pupils to focus on the clubhead - his mantra was 'Swing the Clubhead' (published as a book in 1936).

 

He was one of the most successful coaches of all time, despite a rejection from the PGA, because his methods were 'too simple' and 'wouldn't sell enough lessons'.
 

We now have so much scientific evidence that he was right - he had stumbled across 'implicit learning' - the way humans are 'designed' to learn - subconsciously. Our biggest problem is believing it! I ask my students to close their eyes and then touch their nose with their finger. Most do it successfully  - then I ask them how they did it - they don't know... They 'just did it'. That's implicit learning at work... There's a very complicated sequence of arm, wrist and finger movements - but we don't think about them - we focus on our nose and we sense where our finger is. We might be more successful in golf if we'd do the same - focus on the target (the ball or clubhead path) and sense the clubhead ....

 

Jones once said - 'Breaking down the golf swing into numerous positions is like dissecting a cat - you'll have blood, guts and bones all over the place - but no cat...'

post #38 of 50

My Take.  Many ways to learn and improve no doubt.  As for the 1000 position thing.  Any good instructor knows that a student should not focus on more than one position, move, or thought in golf swing development.  And they certainly should not be doing it on a golf course.  The process of swing developmen in a nut shell, as I only have so much room here..  1. learn a skill/position/movement 2. practice this one key skill/position/movement alone without thinking about anything else and until you can achieve a good ouput with it 3. slowly incorporate that into a full complete swing 4.  After it has been repeated to the point its an automatic function then work on hitting a target trusting the skill/position/movement 5.  when that is capable then take it to the course and trust it or 6. go to the next skill/position/movement and repeat the process.  But with any theory, style, idea, method ( doesn't matter which one ) you should never be focusing on more than one skill/move/thought/position etc. You can learn one thing and take that or learn 20 things one at a time, but only one should be focused on.

 

Great comments on Ernest Jones and rejection etc. btw.

 

 Now how you decide or instructor decides to go about working on a skill is a large debate that will never end.. but its is true that the brain controls body.. we can learn from feel, simple thoughts, complex thoughts visual, verbal.. whatever allows you to accomplish a change which leads to improvement is what matters.. but in order for the brain to have automatic control of body it takes correct repetition to program into an automatic skill when we focus on what is really important which is playing or hitting our next shot. 

 

Chris is right on with so much of what he is saying.. how do you walk?  You tried, failed, tried more, still failed some, got better, then became eventually an automatic body function when you decided you want to go somewhere the subconscious mind makes your body move you dont have to think about how to walk.  It is no different with hitting a ball except the debate still is around what is the best way.. and there really is no one perfect way to learn so trial and error will be a part of the process of learning to hit the ball til you find the way that works best for you.  I could go more in depth but that is my best simple take on it.  Great thread Chris and all who responded.

post #39 of 50
Quote:
 It is no different with hitting a ball except the debate still is around what is the best way.. and there really is no one perfect way to learn so trial and error will be a part of the process of learning to hit the ball til you find the way that works best for you.

 

 

I agree.

 

In fact, ANY system can be used to become a good golfer.  I guarantee you we can find some 70-year-old man that spins out on every shot who is a scratch golfer.  Look at the number of people with bad swings that have been on the Big Break, who are all supposedly scratch or near-scratch golfers.  The ugliest swing in the world can become a scratch swing if you can be in the right position at impact and repeat it consistently.

 

There will be golfers who succeed whether they use S&T, 5SK, Shawn Clement, Butch Harmon or any other system. 

 

My argument and Chris' argument apparently is that the best chance of success is to take as much conscious thought of the equation as possible.  Most people will eventually get there with any system.  After twenty years of thinking "at position 6, my hands should be here and then I should transition them down low close to my body on the way to position 12" you're likely to eventually turn it into an automatic action.

 

But, if you allow gravity and physics to control the club, you might just get there faster.  The club won't swing differently with gravity today than it did yesterday.  Taking the conscious mind out of swing manipulation and allowing the laws of physics to take control is the quickest method to a repeatable swing, in my opinion.  Of course that doesn't mean that it's either easy or automatic.  We're all still humans and not always going to do things perfectly.  It still takes solid setup too.

 

Just my thoughts...

post #40 of 50

Totally agree with the general idea of the OP and the 1000 positions swing and it's complicated nature drove me to start on the Jack Kuykenall LPG swing. It's easy, long and straight. Easy, well, all I have to do is think of 4 or 5 things: legs and feet motionless: Front wrist locked solid: bend both hands back to my rear shoulder: keep my back to the target for as long as possible and drive my rear arm like a piston. BANG. I'm nearly at the stage where I don't have to think about the swing and I can concentrate solely on the shot at hand. That'l be fun.

post #41 of 50

People can learn golf that way. But they tend to play golf the way they walk. Poorly. Go to a park someday and watch people walk and run around.  Yes they get from point  A to B but they do it horribly inefficient manners and in ways that stress parts of the body the wrong way.  

 

Do some people get too technical and worry about stuff that doesn't matter? Yep. It doesn't mean that ignoring everyone else knowledge and trying to recreate a good swing on your own is the way to go. There is a middle ground.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by carpgolf View Post

 

Chris is right on with so much of what he is saying.. how do you walk?  You tried, failed, tried more, still failed some, got better, then became eventually an automatic body function when you decided you want to go somewhere the subconscious mind makes your body move you dont have to think about how to walk.  It is no different with hitting a ball except the debate still is around what is the best way.. and there really is no one perfect way to learn so trial and error will be a part of the process of learning to hit the ball til you find the way that works best for you.  I could go more in depth but that is my best simple take on it.  Great thread Chris and all who responded.

post #42 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisGSZ View Post

Sure.... Go to http://www.thegolfswingzone.com.  You'll find a brief scientific summary there. There are also some downloadable chapters. Or - you can 'Look Inside' the book on Amazon.
The full bibliography is in an appendix in the book.
On this forum, I'm just hoping to help people by contributing a little science to debates - science really does work....
Cheers.....

 

Your pointers are helping me during the practice sessions. I have just started on getting the feel for the whipping motion you talked about with the double pendulum. Couldn't apply it to my irons during yesterday's game, but once I get comfortable with it it should come natural. I can do it with my woods and hybrids which gave me a really good score yesterday. Getting there.

I am going to order your book on B&N, for those who don't have, it's only $8.84.
post #43 of 50

 

 

Quote:
Do some people get too technical and worry about stuff that doesn't matter? Yep. It doesn't mean that ignoring everyone else knowledge and trying to recreate a good swing on your own is the way to go. There is a middle ground.

 

Absolutely.

 

I don't think anyone is suggesting just ignoring all teaching and learn how to swing the club on your own.

 

What they are suggesting is that traditionally, the golf swing has been taught through club manipulation.  "Bring your hands back more inside.  Point the top of your left-hand at the ground as you swing through.  Torque your upper body against your lower body.  Make sure your right knee is point more inward at position 7.3"  Etc, etc, etc.

 

I believe firmly that such teaching was a MAJOR impediment to me developing a good golf swing for most of my life.  I tried to do what I was told, but never had an understanding of the feeling they wanted me to get.  They were trying to get me to do the right things, but did a poor job of explaining what I was supposed to be feeling.

 

The feeling they wanted me to get was allowing the club to swing with momentum and gravity.  Had someone explained that to me from day one, I think I would have been a MUCH better golfer today and throughout my youth.  I firmly believe that most people who become good golfers quickly are the ones who just "get it" quickly, without anyone telling them.  Other golfers eventually get it, but only after 5,10 or 15 years of effort.  And then there are those of us who never would have gotten it.  They told me to swing the club, so I did, for 35 years.  But nobody ever told me to let the club swing.

 

Now, even with the golf swing properly explained, having professional help is still necessary.  It's so easy to do things in your golf swing you don't realize you're doing.  I had a chicken wing recently that I didn't realize was there.  It was only because I took a tuneup lesson that I found out.

 

To me, golf instruction needs to focus on getting people at the right positions at key moments in the swing, but it should do so through the use of momentum and gravity.  That's what is missing from most pro's repertoire, in my experience.  They tell the student "put the club here" rather than "let momentum take the club to here."  It seems like a subtle difference, but it's actually huge.  Interestingly, if you've been taught club manipulation all your life, it's difficult to give up control to gravity.  You constantly find yourself not trusting that gravity will do the right thing, so you subconsciously or consciously) try to manipulate the club path.

post #44 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by wadesworld View Post

 





Absolutely.

I don't think anyone is suggesting just ignoring all teaching and learn how to swing the club on your own.

What they are suggesting is that traditionally, the golf swing has been taught through club manipulation.  "Bring your hands back more inside.  Point the top of your left-hand at the ground as you swing through.  Torque your upper body against your lower body.  Make sure your right knee is point more inward at position 7.3"  Etc, etc, etc.

I believe firmly that such teaching was a MAJOR impediment to me developing a good golf swing for most of my life.  I tried to do what I was told, but never had an understanding of the feeling they wanted me to get.  They were trying to get me to do the right things, but did a poor job of explaining what I was supposed to be feeling.

The feeling they wanted me to get was allowing the club to swing with momentum and gravity.  Had someone explained that to me from day one, I think I would have been a MUCH better golfer today and throughout my youth.  I firmly believe that most people who become good golfers quickly are the ones who just "get it" quickly, without anyone telling them.  Other golfers eventually get it, but only after 5,10 or 15 years of effort.  And then there are those of us who never would have gotten it.  They told me to swing the club, so I did, for 35 years.  But nobody ever told me to let the club swing.

Now, even with the golf swing properly explained, having professional help is still necessary.  It's so easy to do things in your golf swing you don't realize you're doing.  I had a chicken wing recently that I didn't realize was there.  It was only because I took a tuneup lesson that I found out.

To me, golf instruction needs to focus on getting people at the right positions at key moments in the swing, but it should do so through the use of momentum and gravity.  That's what is missing from most pro's repertoire, in my experience.  They tell the student "put the club here" rather than "let momentum take the club to here."  It seems like a subtle difference, but it's actually huge.  Interestingly, if you've been taught club manipulation all your life, it's difficult to give up control to gravity.  You constantly find yourself not trusting that gravity will do the right thing, so you subconsciously or consciously) try to manipulate the club path.

I don't like to agree with you, but the most improvement has happened while my coach is on vacation. I'll need to discuss my results so far with the stack and tilt double pendulum. It's much more natural than it sounds. Hope I'm heading in the right direction. So far no injuries or soreness. Hitting about 500 balls a day.
post #45 of 50

learning by feel is 1000X better than trying to achieve 1000 positions.

post #46 of 50

For some people yes, problem is the majority of people out there can't " feel " what they are doing or not doing in a golf swing.  I have witnessed this thousands of times.  Feel versus real is very common in golf swings for a high majority players including many tour professionals who have stated this themselves.

post #47 of 50

^^ this is also true.

 

no matter how you cut it, golf is not easy to teach/learn... it takes an experienced teacher (could be a pro, or the player him/herself), to individualize how the game can be taught... therefore the 'teach by feel' part must also be individualized.

 

in any case, I think the method of 1000 positions almost guarantees failure because cookie cutter swing almost never works.

post #48 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by carpgolf View Post

For some people yes, problem is the majority of people out there can't " feel " what they are doing or not doing in a golf swing.  I have witnessed this thousands of times.  Feel versus real is very common in golf swings for a high majority players including many tour professionals who have stated this themselves.

 

 

the issue isn't about "feel isn't real"..its more about feeling the correct things to do instead of hearing the correct thing to do here, here, here, and here.  Some people get so caught up in "mechanics" that they forget how to naturally swing a golf club.  Thats the feel thats being talked about.  No matter what method or what teacher, you still have to retain some natural motion that will be individual to you. 

post #49 of 50

Yep it has to be individual based.  I think the other problem is all of this talk is very dependent on what a player wants to be able to accomplish.  The goal a player has dictates what they have to do in order to achieve it.  These topics are too broad and its why the debate is wide open.  So the question for me becomes, is the player just wanting to swing a club, or are there very specific goals in mind.  There is a level of physics and reality to how a club interacts with a golf ball.  If a player has very specific goals in mind then the player needs to Hear, See, and Feel what to do correctly in order to accomplish the goal.  In every level of motor skill learning research has shown that multiple forms of learning rises high above just one form.  So absolutely a player has to feel what to do correctly.. the key word is correctly which is where feel vs real comes into play. I have experienced thousands of times where I have had a player feel what to do in one way but then due many reasons not be able to accomplish the same feel in a full swign focused on a target.  I agree mechanics can be a barrier, but mechanics can be in many forms ( feel based included ) a skill to be learned and developed which later contributes to the abilty to achieve the goal the player is seeking.   So I think again Chris has a great question here.  Like anything too much of one thing can be more of step back then a step forward ie. 1000 swing positions.  I believe the lack of learning for most is related to not just the form of instruction but more due to the lack of coaching a player through how to do something and what to expect along the lines of trying to do something.  The coaching part is more of the issue in my opinion. Now for each individual and thier specific situation ( physically, mentally, goals, etc. )  there is a very specific better way to help them ( mechanics, or basic thought, or basic feel ).  As humans we learn best from all 3 inputs however Feel, See, and Hear.  I think the origninal question is a little to broad in nature to say 100% ditch the positions, and is very dependent on what a player is trying to do and potentially can do.  Then it comes down to coaching with many forms on how to do said objective.  I believe it involves a little bit of everything but there are times to choose when to do one versus the other.

post #50 of 50
Thread Starter 

Sorry for the delay - I've been away...

There are some excellent (REALLY excellent...) contributions here.

The scientific mismatch in golf is between the miniscule conscious processing (thinking) capacity of the human brain, and the huge number of things we're told to think about... Anyone who's studied motor skill dveleopment will know that we simply can't think our way through a complex skill (swing). So our need is to find a mental focus (swing thought) that will deliver the best 'package' of technical correctness. With our limit of just one or two swing thoughts, we shouldn't waste them on anything trivial... - such as detailed angles and positions. I like things like Leadbetter's 'swing in a barrel' thought - it delivers a whole package of correct movements including weight shift, hip/shoulder turn, etc. - all with just a single, simple thought.

I'm not a golf coach, but I've coached other skill-sports, including gymnastics, skiing and squash for 40 years. In these sports, we teach this way... My worry with golf is that it doesn't (yet) ....

Chris

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