Here's a quote from Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code and The Little Book of Talent,
Coyle explains in his books how much easier it is for students to remember and comprehend instructions when they are presented in vivid images. I definitely see this trait with most of the instructors I've learned from. And we're always thinking about how to get better, so I wanted to share a backswing drill and relate it to a feel/image that can give golfers another option for making the back swing simple.
In the 5 Simple Keys dvd Dave Wedzik and Chuck Evans talk about stretching the right side (for a righty). This helps keep the head steady and allows the golfer to rotate on an inclined plane. From continuing to learn you figure out there are various ways to make a good swing, different feels to arrive to similar positions.
Also featured in the 5SK dvd is this portion illustrated below. It's in the 3rd disc just after James Hirshfield and Dave's segment. What this piece alludes to is what TGM calls hands controlled pivot. This is where the arms and hands guide the club back up and in on plane. The feeling of stretching the right side would be an example of pivot controlled hands, primary focus is the pivot and the arms simply go along for the ride the entire motion. This is about finding out what works for you. Neither option is better than the other, it's about the preference of the golfer.
Below is a great, simple example of how to use the hands controlled pivot option to make the backswing motion and get all the intricate pieces in good order. Left shoulder going down and in, knees changing flex, head steady, width of the arms. Chuck (in red) is holding his hands just above shoulder height and sightly behind the right shoulder. The student is just taking their hands to Chuck's hands. You can see by just doing that how solid the pivot is.
But how can we practice this or get this feel if we don have someone behind us helping monitor where to place the hands? That's where this drill that Dana Dahlquist shared with me comes in. This has been very helpful to the students I have shared it with. This is where we get the student to start thinking in pictures instead of just words.
There may be a few steps to the drill but once you do it a few times it's pretty simple
- From your address position stand straight up with some flex in your knees
- Rotate the forearms where the top of the left hand faces the sky
- Add some Pressure Point #1, the heel of the bottom hand where it touches the top hand or grip
- Turn 90 degrees
- Left shoulder goes straight down
If you do this drill you'll have some good awareness of where your hands are at the top of the backswing, especially using pressure point #1. Take note while looking at the ball or the ground of where the hands and arms are. Make some rehearsal back swings trying to hit that "spot". I think you'll notice that when you do these practice back swings that you'll be making a pretty full turn, which is great and you're keeping it simple. Then hit some shots doing the same, trying to hit that spot that you felt or saw when doing the drill. I say "saw" because it's all about creating those vivid images. View yourself in the 3rd person performing the motion or picture a player's A4 that you like. Do the same when making your full swing. Golfers can make changes or swing more efficiently when they paint pictures and feelings, not focus on the mechanical movements.
Couple things I want to be clear about. The top of the back swing position will probably be shorter than your normal back swing position, which makes sense since you're not making a full swing motion. This drill is not necessarily suppose to produce a "prefect" A4 position. Don't get caught up in using this drill to check positions. It's about creating some good feels/images of where the hands go to create better proprioception, which is the sense of the orientation of one's limbs in space, spatial awareness.