Making a golf swing that sends the ball consistently to your intended target is not an easy thing to do. It is especially difficult if you don’t understand how to correctly go about making improvements to your swing which will give better results. In this article I will show you the correct way to make a swing change.
In order to perform any motor skill, like a golf swing, a complex series of neural messages must be sent to different muscles in the correct sequence. If you do this enough times the neural pathways become a lot like a super highway, where the messages can travel quickly and easily to the muscle groups making reproduction of that movement easier.
This is a lot like your current golf swing. You have practiced and repeated it many thousands of times over several years and the neural pathways are like an super highway. So every time you set up to play a golf shot, the messages fly down that highway and your old golf swing is produced.
Now if you want to make a change to your golf swing, you need to get off the old highway and create a new pathway of neural messages and muscle firings that will produce a completely different motion.
Imagine you are standing at the edge of the Amazon jungle. On your left is a highway. Well used and maintained, the road is smooth and extremely easy to drive. That represents the motor pattern that produces your old golf swing. The problem is, that highway doesn’t go precisely to your desired destination. It is extremely easy to travel but it only takes you close to where you want to go and you don’t want to get close, you want to reach your destination exactly. So you must create a new pathway.
So you stand at the edge of the jungle with a machete in hand and create a plan as to where your new pathway must go in order to exactly reach your required destination. Then you start hacking away. One branch at a time, one tee at a time.
After a lot of time, effort and energy, you have reached your destination. But when you turn around and look at the pathway you have just created, you see that is nothing like the highway you left behind. It is rough, narrow and hard to travel. But here is the key – with multiple trips down this pathway, over time it will become easy to travel and thus you will have made a positive change to your golf swing.
All the time this is happening, as long as the original highway is not being used, it will start to grow over with weeds, deteriorate and become less easy to travel. Your goal is to keep working on the new pathway until it is easier to travel than the old highway. Only then will your old swing pattern be gone for good and the new pattern will show up when it is most needed.
So what does all this mean for making changes to your golf swing?
Here are a couple of key points to remember:
- Making a swing change is difficult. It takes time, hard work and the right approach.
- Swing tips are not the answer to making a permanent swing change. If it were really that easy all of us would simply read the latest monthly golf magazine and then be playing on the world Tours for millions of dollars every week.
- Go all in – when you commit to making a swing change, practicing the new swing and then playing with your old swing is not helpful. For every old swing you make you erase reps you have made performing your new swing motion. One step forward two steps back!
- Skills progression – work with your coach by starting with simple skills first and then progressing to more difficult skills. For golf this means that you might follow this skills progression:
i) Practice your new swing with just your body,
ii) Add the club and perform the swing motion slowly,
iii) Add a little more speed
iv) Add a ball on a tee, half speed swings, but no ball flight, i.e. hit into a net
v) Add ball flight but no target while ball is still on a tee
vi) Increase speed a little
vii) Slowly lower the tee
viii) Remove the tee
ix) Add a target
x) Measure success through skills tests or competitive games
xi) Take it to the course
xii) Put it under pressure in competition
I hope you enjoyed this post. As always comments are welcome and appreciated.Good golfing
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