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I want more myelin... Sean Foley Wall Street Journal Article: "Eclectic Golf Whisperer"


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and bigger mitochondria.  That's the story from Sean Foley, (now) esteemed coach of his holiness, TWoods. Myelin is the new buzz word for 'muscle memory', innumerable reps and all that other stuff which helps us do it again, correctly or not.

The bigger mitochondria is my idea, not Sean's but if mine were bigger maybe i could hit balls for 5 hours, rather than merely 3.  Sean is on the myelin trip for real.

Read all about Sean and his techniques at the Wall Street Journal:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324128504578348441614652074.html

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Originally Posted by soon_tourpro

Yea Foley is good with those terms and he throws them out like leafs.

He is good building confidence for the player but the golf swing?

Pretty much not understanding it.

Ummm no.  I'd say Foley runs laps around some of the other 'tour' instructors out there...

What is wrong with this video?  Please tell me....

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Good article about Sean.  I got to talk to him for a few minutes at Riviera this year and got to watch him teach Rose, Mahan and Woods at the US Open last year.  Very charismatic dude, likes to joke around and has a lot of passion for his job.  He is definitely his player's coach, not a swing advisor.  Yes he works with them on technique but also the way they approach shots, how they practice, how to manage emotions during a round and why they'e making changes or working on certain pieces.

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Foley doesn't give straightforward answers, though. He is among the most technical and scientifically oriented coaches in golf. He's never without a high-speed video camera slung in a bag from his shoulder and throws around phrases like "correct the thoracic tilt" and "a function of attack angle versus loft in the horizontal vectors." But that doesn't mean he thinks or coaches in anything close to a linear fashion. It turns out Foley, 38, is a seriously cosmic dude.

When I asked him to explain Rose's rise over three years from 67th to 19th to fifth in one measure of long-iron excellence. Foley gave me a one-word answer: "Myelin."

Excuse me? "That's the insulation that wraps around neural brain circuits and helps them fire faster when presented with certain stimuli," he said. Laying down more myelin, over time, helps secure new skills; that's the value of those reps Woods always talks about. " 'Swing change' is really a stupid term, because it's actually just gradual evolution in encoded brain patterns," Foley said.

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Rose had terrible back problems for years, resulting from the way he had been taught to swing, so addressing that was Foley's first order of business. "The pain response is omnipotent. It can change everything else in a swing without a player knowing it," Foley said. As much progress as the two have made since then, the "final frontier," as Rose calls it, still relates to that postimpact pelvic turn. He's been working intensively with trainers to improve the external rotation of his left hip. But until that improves sufficiently, Foley said, "it's not worth working on." A good point for amateurs: Foley teaches only what he knows his players are functionally able to do.

For a coach with perfectionist players like Woods and Hunter Mahan, Foley has a surprisingly complacent attitude toward perfection. "Maybe once a year, if that often, you have one of those impeccable rounds, where everything just collides in this beautiful symphony. But you can't base anything on that. Those rounds aren't even very helpful, because we only learn by failure," he said. "Humans are fragile. Mistakes are guaranteed. Our concentration is always shifting. There's no reason, except that this is the natural constitution of the mind."

Quote:
Foley is a big believer in statistical analysis, especially the type of in-depth, multivariable analysis that academics are beginning to crank out using the detailed ShotLink data that the Tour records for every shot in every tournament. He consults frequently with Mark Broadie, the Columbia Business School professor who perfected the "strokes gained putting" statistic that the Tour adopted last year for measuring players' relative skills on the greens. Broadie has created a similar way of measuring the contribution to scoring success of all the other strokes, too. Broadie and Foley both believe that the key differentiating factor between a great player and a good one is their prowess with long approach shots, from 150 to 250 yards. So that's where Foley and Rose spend most of their practice time.
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What's wrong with the video? Well, Sean is mistaken if he thinks that golfers started slicing the ball during the previous generation only. Slicers have been known since the gutta percha ball and before. It's a function of obvious arms v. not so obvious leg actions.

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Originally Posted by joekelly

What's wrong with the video? Well, Sean is mistaken if he thinks that golfers started slicing the ball during the previous generation only.

That's not what he said.

He said that a generation of golfers was taught to "load up on their right side" and then rotate and don't slide.

That's true.

He did not say "golfers started slicing during the previous generation only."

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Originally Posted by joekelly

What's wrong with the video?

Yeah I'd also like to know what is wrong with the video. The majority of my lessons are heavily based on that video!

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Nothing is wrong with the video... It's a good video lesson.  And whether the data he is presenting is 'his' data or not... It shows that Sean isn't just a walking/talking Thesaurus.  He can actually provide valuable golf instruction to his players.

Here is another video of Sean working with Rose... I'd say he knows what he is doing - and uses Trackman to help support the progression with his tour players.

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If you are interested in the back story on myelin, you may want to pick up "The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle.

Great book!

He studied talent hotbeds around the world to uncover the secrets of "talent".  He reports with lots of evidence that talent isn't born nor genetic but a function of many discoveries outlined in the book.  I'm no scientist but it seems myelin does promote repeatable physical and mental actions by insulating nerve connections.  The book isn't about science per se but great reading for anyone looking to learn about improving.

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