How Has Your Teaching Changed? Or Has It?
During my snowbound days of being trapped in my house, I typically turn to twitter and the telephone to get the teaching juices flowing. So I posted the question tonight on twitter, “What is one thing are you teaching now that you didn’t five years ago due to new accurate information?” I got some very good answers that I would agree with like
1. The ball starts where the face is pointing
2. that hitting down doesn’t make the ball spin more
With all the new technology such as Trackman, Flightscope, AMM 3D and KVest and soon to be GEARS…..we have some answers that maybe we didn’t have in the past that could change our views on the golf swing, club delivery, ball flight and equipment. There has been much debate on the research that some of the top scientist are doing that will definite help us understand much of what we couldn’t see with a video camera, such as rotation rates, ground force reactions, wrist speed, torques of the shaft etc. etc. etc. I still think there is a place for observational science as long as it is followed by positive change and results. I am a big fan of research and although I am not a scientist, I still use these measuring tools to do my own research, but I think the area that I am most interested once I get my head around this information is……wait for it! HOW DO WE COMMUNICATE THESE IDEAS TO THE AVERAGE GOLFER SO THEY CAN USE IT TO IMPROVE!
This is why I preach’ “Don’t be lazy in language” Learn to communicate by explanations that make sense and also learn how to move your students properly to create a feel to connect with the change. I know some teachers don’t believe this but this is what I believe. It does not show weakness in a teacher, it just another vehicle for long-term change. Ok back to the topic, sorry!
So here is what I have changed in my teaching in the last 5 years in its simplest form:
1. Knee action – I used to try to keep the flex in the rear leg but realized how I was hampering my student’s ability to get more shoulder rotation with is critical for overall shape of swing. Much more important than creating separation of hips/shoulders. I now let rear leg extend to increase hip turn.
2. How important hand path is to sweet spot controll. Hand path and how it relates to the force vector in the downswing relative to where the club head path is. All good players let the clubhead drop behind the hand path in transition and players that let hands get away from body in downswing get the shanks 🙂
3. How pivot style affects low point control – I definitely teach less weight transfer to the rear foot than I used to. I prefer to keep the center of the shoulders on top of the hips. It is not an absolute but it increases the chances of controlling the bottom of the circle. I know that weight/pressure moves to the backside so don’t start screaming. This has nothing to do with head movement although we tend to use the head as a reference, but I would prefer to not have too much side to side or bobbing.
4. Weight Forward Is a Big Deal – I definitely teach much more hip slide in the transition than I used to. In order to move the path direction to the right, which is what most of the students that I teach need, the weight/pressure has to move quicker and smoother to the front side. Sliding and keeping the hips closed longer slows the shoulders down to allow for the club to shallow out easier which helps the average golfer immensely. If you are trying to spin your hips to start your downswing (unless you are an under planer) you will pull the club out to in and across the ball.
5. More neutral shaft lean at address and impact in pitching (and shallower A o A) – Thanks to Andrew Rice, Mr. Vokey and Dave Nevelle from Titleist and Vokey wedges, I now understand how the wedge should interact with the turf properly. I used to teach a lot of shaft lean and a bowed lead wrist at impact. I now understand that this causes the club ….to dig too much and come out too low.I also now know that we need a shallower angle of approach to increase spin (not hitting down). I now teach a more neutral shaft with enough weight forward to still maintain low point and a solid strike. I also want the handle to move up and in at post impact. For more information on wedges check out my friend Andrew Rice’s site at www.andrewricegolf.com
I have learned a lot more than just this 5 but I will leave the rest for my seminar in March.
The point is. The great teachers are always learning. The great teachers aren’t afraid to say that they didn’t understand or I didn’t know that but I am glad I do now. If you are teaching the same stuff that you were teaching 5 years ago then you aren’t paying !attention. We have to continue to learn from research but don’t forget one of the most important aspects of teaching: BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE. If you can’t relate your ideas to your student, then you have lost the battle of improvement. I don’t care how much you know about the golf swing. The great ones can do it all!
Thanks for reading and don’t be afraid to share
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