Originally Posted by Golfingdad
Tough love time: Beachcomber, Jetfan ... read this!!!!!!!!!!!
(Had to put that first so it'd pop up on the teaser) :)
I think I'm pretty good at this. I definitely started getting pretty interested in what causes things to happen, especially when I found this site. Heck, the ball flight laws essay of yours, Erik, is what drew me here. Then reading Beachcombers and Jetfans swing threads, among others, and all of the TGM talk and all of the other technical jargon got me thinking "crap, I don't know any of this, I need to study up."
Then I eventually came to the conclusion that I don't have enough room in my head to worry about why I'm doing this - isn't that why I pick an instructor I trust? So he can worry about the 'why?' - but rather just but all of my effort into just actually doing it.
That said, I will still occasionally wish I knew more about why I'm doing what I'm doing. I'll be on the range using the pipoe, or doing little posing shadow swings and somebody will come up to me and ask me what I'm doing.
"I'm trying to get my elbows closer together."
"Ummm, because they are too far apart."
"Oh. What's that mean?"
"Ummm, that they aren't close enough together."
(He walks away mumbling "What a stupid monkey that guy is!")
As soon as I read this OP just now (thanks for the link, Zeph), I immediately thought, "damn it, this is me..."
I actually think I was inching closer to stupid monkey mode with Mike (mvmac) before I injured my wrist this winter, and that I might have gotten there had that not occurred.
All that said, if I can take another perspective on this, it is this... and I do admit that I'm just playing devil's advocate because being that stupid monkey with a qualified instructor is extremely important to improving efficiently. But PGA Tour players can be that stupid monkey 24-7 because they're so talented. They just hit tons of balls as kids, arrived at some + level index, and went from there without so much as opening a book or doing anything remotely technically related.
A lot of the times I need the why in order to understand what I'm being told. There are numerous ways I can interpret "bring your arms down, jackass." How? Why? This feels screwed up. I don't understand the exaggerated picture on the camera you are showing me. What's going on? "Well, you do this because, blah, blah, blah, effects extension rates, head location, power accumulator 4, blah blah blah, flat left wrist, power accumulator 5, blah, blah, blah..." Me: "Ohhhhhhh... okay.... wow, that's brilliant.... okay, now I need to forget all that crap and just trust it now because I have a clearer picture in my head." Beginning to understand how the arms are supposed to work was a revelation for me... and that was made possible by the years of over-education about flexion/extension rates, hip slide, wrist flexions/extensions, foot pressure locations, etc. etc.
The vast majority of the time, I fall into being over-educated. I fully acknowledge that, and have been aware of this for... I dunno, at least a few months now, if not more. However, I do reach points where that over-education leads me to arrive at a much better place, and suddenly, I'm not over-educated but under-educated again (Socrates theory). And my mind becomes clear, and I focus solely on the priority or two. It's just that, now (upon reading this thread for example), I feel I can switch between both modes. I have to know when to use one or the other, and more often than not, I need to be that stupid monkey going forward.
I know I am a unique student. I've learned that now. I think me realizing that what helps me often destroys someone else has helped me help others here as well, as I no longer write drawn out swing advice on people's threads.
But Mchepp raises a good point that all this anti-monkey studying has allowed me to learn how to find good instructors. I guess it's sort of a "that which nourishes me also destroys me" kind of thing when I really boil it down. We can use that information to "win the hearts and minds," but when the actual rebuilding begins, we have to step back and become those loyal monkeys.
And Golfingdad: just to scratch the surface, when one's elbows separate in the general sense, the length of the swing arc can become inconsistent and you can have low point issues. It also makes the wrist cock unload too quickly and you'll struggle with maintaining a flat left wrist. And typically, the shaft can tip out excessively as well from down-the-line. Controlling the right elbow location relative to the body can be really important to avoiding all sorts of problems...
...And I think I just set your handicap back 2.5 points with that info
Anyway, this is a very helpful thread, Erik. Thanks, man.