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mvmac

Steady Head Drill and How Painting Mental Pictures can Help your Swing

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Here's a quote from Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code and The Little Book of Talent,

Quote:
Whenever possible, create a vivid image for each chunk you want to learn. The images dont have to be elaborate, just to see and feel.

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.

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Steady head drill - I like it a lot.  It is also a great drill for folks that have issues with getting their club on plane as well.

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Since for years I was playing decent golf with a crappy looking swing, I know that I have "educated hands" that let me get back to the ball.  I have always struggled with people (and sometimes those people have included you guys... ) telling me that I need a more body centered swing or pivot controlled hands. I suck when thinking about or trying to hit the ball this way.  I know that I can swing my hands to where they need to be and strike the ball solidly.  In fact, I had just gone back and re-read the whole "deep hands explained" thread and let my only swing thought on the course this week be the "wall drill" that Dave talked about in that thread.  I immediately started hitting a nice tight "push draw cone" and only lost a couple of drives way left and even those weren't like off the  world to where I didn't still have a chance to reach the green.

I have come to the conclusion that there is no need for me to fight that I like to have a hands controlled pivot and this drill that you have put up is actually something I used to work on "intuitively".  Thanks for letting me feel like there is another option for achieving what you guys know I am capable of doing.  I am an "arms" swinger so I just need to go with it rather than fight it.   The fact that you are tossing a little PP1 in the drill is just gravy for me since that was a piece that Dave was adding to my swing when I was in Erie over the summer.

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I have to agree, a mental image help's a ton. Its why when i read a putt i mentally visualize the ball going to the hole, traveling over the green.

This looks like a great drill to really hone in on a proper position in the backswing. I will say this, if someone is a scratch golfer, and has a unique backswing, i would not mess with it, i would look to see if the impact can be improved. I think the backswing is less important, if your correction in the downswing is right to make impact solid. This drill fits that, because your not practicing the movement of the backswing, but a position were you transition. So as long as your backswing to transition ends up in a good position (Jim Furyk rerouting his club to a good position, or Fred Couples loop in his swing), then you can play solid golf.

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Great drill, just tried this out in the garage. I can tell this will help me keep my head steady. I have the tendency to move my head forward during the swing.

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