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Downswing Hand Speed


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This is a tough one to talk about if only because this isn't something that's easily measured.

I posted this video in the Blast Motion for Putting topic because @boogielicious had posted something about his hand speed. Blast will measure what it thinks your hand speed is, but it doesn't tell you where you reach that peak hand speed, telling you only that it should occur prior to impact.

The video above talks about how your hands should be reaching peak speed pretty early in the downswing — essentially between A5 and A6. The Pro achieves it at about here:

handspeed_pro.jpg

The amateur gained 6 MPH clubhead speed while dropping 1 MPH from his hand speed (not uncommon as he had just started working on this) by changing his max hand speed location from the left to the right:

handspeed.jpg

This is one of my "beefs" with the Ernest Jones idea that the arms are passive and are swung with the body. While this is sometimes a good feeling for someone who is over-active with the hands, it's often not a great thing for many golfers. Though, to be fair, many golfers swing back too far, so their hands aren't in the best range of motion to go fast, and they slowly accelerate longer into the downswing. Short swings with punch tend to be good here.

We've likely all seen a graph like this, but it's not the easiest to read for position because it's in time, and the arms accelerate. We could take a differential and figure out roughly where they are in space, but just looking at the graph you can see that it's still fairly far before impact. Though it's about 3/4 of the way across the graph from the transition to impact, most of that early downswing is at a low speed, so the hands don't cover as much ground as they are covering around "C."

sequence2.gif&f=1&nofb=1

Here are some amateurs against a Tour player doing kind of a bad job. Look at how early the clubhead gains speed in them, and what effect that has on the hand speed:

Pro.gif&f=1&nofb=1

Like I said in our moderator Slack group, I'm not sure where this topic can go, but I agree it's a good one to discuss. Let's see where it takes us. Do you feel you're reaching your peak hand speed too late? Do you "pull down" from the handle at the top of the backswing at all, and get the arms and thus the hands moving? Or is your lead arm staying pinned to your chest for the early downswing, slowing down and delaying your peak hand speed?

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I stay pinned, and feel like my arms and hands are way behind. Like the left “before” pic, probably even worse than that. I feel like my lower body and shoulders are out ahead and my arms and club get dragged through. Losing the angle between the shaft and forearm early, where the shaft is parallel when my hands are like waist high, not close to my trail leg. I don’t feel like I pull down the handle at all. I posted a member swing a couple years ago and it still looks pretty much the same. Definitely seems like an area where I could improve - I was actually watching some videos on drills to get the arms more active and ahead earlier today.

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12 hours ago, iacas said:

The amateur gained 6 MPH clubhead speed while dropping 1 MPH from his hand speed (not uncommon as he had just started working on this) by changing his max hand speed location from the left to the right:

My question is how did he do this? Was it just thinking about it? Was there a feel that they used? You mentioned pulling down on the grip. Would this be straight down? They mentioned not going to the ball too soon as this causes you to slow down to get the head to the ball.

I worked just a little on it yesterday during my SuperSpeed work. I have been using the Soft Arm Challenge feel a bit while working on my priority piece, reducing early extension. It feels a bit like float loading. I also work with the feel of my right elbow driving down and in front along with my other feels from my Evolvr lessons. I think these have helped me pick up speed.  Our checkpoint is where my hands are at A6. We are working to get them deeper into my thigh, which is basically more lag. This concept would be an interesting addition.

I wish the Blast Motion device told us where the max speed was. They are calculating head speed, but measuring hand speed I assume. If they have downswing time and distance, they should be able to tell us where max was.

One last thing. In SuperSpeed Phase 2, instead of kneeling, I stand with my feet a couple inches apart and swing. It’s all arms. I’ve hit 95 with the blue, so yeah arms are the big contributor to my speed.

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3 hours ago, boogielicious said:

My question is how did he do this? Was it just thinking about it? Was there a feel that they used? You mentioned pulling down on the grip. Would this be straight down? They mentioned not going to the ball too soon as this causes you to slow down to get the head to the ball.

My guess is the arms need to go along the arc and not straight down. If you narrow the hand arc you reduce the time you have to accelerate which means you’ll hit your peak speed with your hands closer to the ball.

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1 hour ago, billchao said:

My guess is the arms need to go along the arc and not straight down. If you narrow the hand arc you reduce the time you have to accelerate which means you’ll hit your peak speed with your hands closer to the ball.

That’s a part of it. I’ll probably reply with more when our power turns back on for the second time today, but the video also said the player was trying to leave his arms up and just changing his understanding that he had to swing his arms down helped him quite a bit.

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I've been taking lessons and other than cleaning up my back swing a bit, the biggest, and by far hardest change for me was getting the down swing shallower. The feel for me was a bit of float load feel to emphasize not starting the down swing yanking my hands hard from the very top, then feeling like my hands went straight down while I squatted a bit and bumped the hip forward. That makes me think maybe my max hand speed is too late. But on the other hand part of getting my hands lower has been a feel of sort of letting my swing develop from A6-A7. So that would point towards slower hands near impact and earlier max hand speed. Would love to have the tech to see this on myself!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Higher handicapper here, been working to rework my swing this last year. Recent focus has been on Impact Zone concepts. The last few weeks have been focused on flat lead wrist and forward divot. My focus was to get my hands out front at impact. I was struggling and tried to swing just looking at where I wanted my hands at impact and realized how badly I've been flipping the club. Made some improvements and will keep working. Went to the range this week to add focus on load and lag. It became immediately clear how badly I cast the club. The feeling of softer hands and increasing the load at transition and holding lag are helping my tempo and ability to gain momentum through the swing and not ripping my hands down immediately. Holding lag also seems to keep the club on a better swing plane. Still inconsistent, but working on patient transition and gaining hand speed momentum without flipping the release. Addicting feeling when making proper contact. 

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I don't know what my hands and arms are doing. Taking lessons again in the spring to help straighten me out.

Good film, amazed the one of the golfers achieved a 100 MPH swing speed.

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I have no idea what the correct answer is.  I do know that as an athlete, I always thru any ball harder, broke the discus records, had the hardest slapshot, and hit the golf ball a mile.  I always practiced these activities tons and only every with the idea of maximizing distance.  With golf, it was because Jack Nicklaus said somewhere to learn first to hit it long and then to control it.

What I feel on the downswing, is a change in the width of the swing and hence the angular momentum changes fairly high up but this is a result rather than an effect of the hands.  This changing of the width in conjunction with the left torso move creates a sort of slingshot effect or really like a 2 lever slingshot.  So, I am pretty sure the hand speed is highest as shown in the first post but I don't think it is because of strong hands or any active effort because I am pretty sure my wrists have not released yet.  Interesting topic.

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What are the factors for increasing hand speed earlier?

I've read the following:

1. Work done on the club is via the hands on the grip and is  defined by 'Force x distance moved in the direction of the force' .  So theoretically the more work done on the club will add more kinetic energy to it . Therefore if you want to increase your hand speed , you might want to increase the hand path or increase the hand force applied along that hand path or both.  Also if you want to do more angular work on the club , you could add more Torque via your hands or more angular distance  or both.

2. Faster backswing can ensure that you have a larger starting force for the downswing.

3. Stretch shorten cycle at the top of the backswing (ie. in the 'external/internal obliques' + shoulder girdle muscles ) could provide the ability to add more force into the arms/hands in the downswing?

4. Having an increase in the lag angle in the downswing allows a greater force to be applied to the hands ( for a given torque in the upper body pivot).  The MOI of the 'upper body + the arms/club' unit  is less when the COM of the club is closer to the upper body pivot axis of rotation. Actually , if you bent your left and right arms more while also decreasing the lag angle , you'd theoretically be able to minimise the MOI and increase the forces in your hands (for a given upper body pivot torque). Might be good for increasing hand speed but might affect other aspects of your swing biomechanics to strike the ball where you want it to go.

5. An assertive  upper trail-arm adduction while trying to passively straighten the trail arm can have at least 2 affects on the hand force if  it's directed downwards and outwards across the grip. It can increase a component of the force more along the hand path and also create a clubshaft lagging 'Moment of Force'  (which will help prevent an early cast and  an increased MOI).

6. In some golf models it was shown that if you apply active hand torque 70 milliseconds before impact  it would increase clubhead speed . If you did this before or after the 70 msec mark it would decrease your clubhead speed by impact. 

7. Hand torque can help increase clubhead speed when the clubhead is moving slower but it is more efficient to apply an eccentric force across the grip to increase clubhead speed (when its moving faster).  That means applying forces across the grip so that the in plane 'Net Force' component vector will create an MOF to increase the angular velocity of the club in the late downswing.

8. There is also kick velocity of the clubshaft that could add a bit of clubhead speed (if you let it).

So I think the AMG video doesn't go far enough to explain the physics why having an earlier max hand speed can influence clubhead speed by impact.

 

 

 

Edited by Warlock
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On 1/20/2021 at 7:26 PM, iacas said:

Though, to be fair, many golfers swing back too far, so their hands aren't in the best range of motion to go fast, and they slowly accelerate longer into the downswing. Short swings with punch tend to be good here.

Thanks for posting this. I immediately thought of Jon Rahm who has a short backswing, but seems to get his hands moving fast very early.

In trying to get into a good impact position with hips and shoulders rotated without putting a bunch of stress on my lead knee, I have opened my stance. This has limited my backswing, which was a concern I had in being able to create clubhead speed. 

I am thinking I can open my stance a bit and still get decent clubhead velocity. 

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On 2/27/2021 at 7:57 AM, Warlock said:

So I think the AMG video doesn't go far enough to explain the physics why having an earlier max hand speed can influence clubhead speed by impact.

Really beyond the scope of what they're going to try to do in a video like that.

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