Thank you for reading my blog and watching the videos that I post. This is a presentation on the basics of how I teach with Trackman that I did for about 60 area golf professionals. My staff, Maggie Simons (@maggiesimons) and Josh Spragins (@joshspragins) presented as well and did an outstanding job. This is very basic information for most teachers but could be great for new coaches or students that might be interested in some of the information that Trackman and an expert teacher can provide. I wish I had the last 45 minutes where I show you how I change AOA, how I move my students into creating a feel and a little wedge information that I learned from James Ridyard and Andrew Rice but th camera battery went dead. I also did a presentation on how I teach putting and how I test my players that I will see if it was recorded and post if it came out. I already posted this on twitter but I wanted to get it on my website so if you already have seen it I understand. As always, leave comments or questions below. My talk will be a little more in depth at the Guru’s Workshop on March 23rd, so I hope you can join me and my friends for a great day.
I wanted to post this video for a couple of reasons. 1) I think it is very good information that can help you look at your putting and stats a different way and 2) I wanted to share with my viewers, tweeps and friends a very special person in my life that I won’t get to see everyday like I have for the past year and a half. Alex van der Linden and I met through a mutual friend, Brian Baille, on social media about a year and a half ago. Brian knew that I had been teaching putting and learning more about SAM Putt lab data and reached out to me to let me know that I may want to contact this young man who was a wiz on the putt lab. These opportunities come across your radar and many times we don’t take action but something told me that this is one that I might take a chance on. I called Alex and we met for lunch one Monday that I was off. We proceeded to go to the dojo to test some stuff on the putt lab. When we finally looked up, 6 hours had gone by and I was blown away by the information, knowledge and overall presentation of this young guy that looked like a young poindexter (and so his nickname was adopted). I wasn’t looking to hire anyone and he wasn’t really looking for a job but I had to create an opportunity for the both of us to work together. My first personal assistant was created. Even though he was officially working for me, I always felt that we were working together because I feel like I learned as much from him as he learned from me. He watched me give hundreds of lessons, we discussed swing and putting theory, he assisted me in putting lessons and fittings and slowly we developed a relationship in which we could pretty much read each others minds, which is scary. He was left brain and I was right. He taught me how to critical think and question the so-called answers and I taught him how to take all the information, put the pieces together and present in a golf lesson to the average golfer. It is always great to see young professional learn and grow as Alex has done. I look back on my career and remember when I was his age and think of how far ahead he is to this point. I have seen his life and his career change in the blink of an eye and to think that I may have been a positive influence on it is very rewarding. I am excited to see what the future brings in his next endeavor as he leaves me to join the staff at the Governors Club in Chapel Hill. I feel like that you will be seeing and hearing a lot from this up and coming superstar in the teaching business.
Ladies and Gentleman……It is my great pleasure to introduce my good friend…….The Golf Geek! Follow him on twitter @vandogolf
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
3. What it takes to hit a straight shot
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!
One of my favorite things to do in this business is to help young teachers perfect their craft. At the Carmel Golf Academy part of my training regimen is to observe my teachers and to video tape their lessons and watch them back with them. This is not an exercise to put them down or make them feel bad but to give them constructive criticism to help them improve. One of the biggest things that I had to learn as a new teacher was not to try to tell the student everything that I knew, which at the time wasn’t much! This is something that I preach to my staff constantly is knowing what to say, the language you use to say it and making sure you are 100% engaging the student and allowing them give you feedback. Most teachers talk to much in order to boost their ego and show the student that they know stuff which is not productive and definitely not a great way to gain the trust of the student. To gain the trust of the student you must LISTEN to them, carefully describe what you want them to learn and be open to positive or negative feedback in order to tailor the learning to the student. Results have to be a mutual decision or you may believe that they got better but if they don’t believe it then you’ve lost them. Check you EGO at the door coaches. So this article has nothing about the who has the best philosophy, or the certifications that you have acquired or who can read the trackman numbers the fastest…..This is about how do you deliver the most understandable message with the least amount of babble to get the quickest results from the lesson. That to me is what the great teachers do for the students I am sure you will agree from your lesson experience.
I was teaching a beginning women’s clinic the other day and invited one of my teachers to assist me. After the clinic was over, I asked him to evaluate me. He said,”I am always amazed about how little you give them but always make them improve and excited.” He said that before he thought he was cheating the student if he didn’t tell them or work on more stuff. I can see his point but the goal of the lesson is to improve and not to overload them with information. They will ask enough questions to keep you busy and even then you have to keep from self overload.
I googled “Teachers talking too much” and this is what I found: a part of the article –
We tend to teach the way we were taught ourselves, rather than in the way that works best.
We know too much, and rather enjoy explaining.
Interesting… as this pertains to the classroom teachers but how can we apply this to teaching golf.
So we start with understanding how people learn the fastest. 1)Doing – feel 2)seeing – visual 3)hearing – auditory
So if the this is the priority of how people learn, why do we do #3 the most? hmmm. Because it is easy to tell someone but maybe more difficult to give them the other two which are more important. So here are some ideas on how to “Talk Less and Guide Learning Faster” and students pay attention because your coach needs you to give great feedback as well.
1. Interview well – Ask open-ended questions and be observant. I have a big list of questions that I ask a student in the interview but the big 3 are as follows 1)What is your main goal and what does it look like (specific) What is your big ball flight miss (shot that they can’t survive) and 3) What are you trying to do” (their model) close 4th is physical limitations of course. As they answer your questions (don’t interrupt or try to help them) observe where their eyes go and how they stand. kinesthetic players look down and visual players look up. Auditory players may go all over the place. Are they favoring one side and what are they wearing? (more on that later) This observation continues throughout the lesson as you explain, model or manipulate….notice where they are looking and continue to ask questions. Do they close their eyes or keep them open as you move them?
2) Watch Your Language – Every lesson is a presentation. After I video tape their motion and we are going through the swing, CHOOSE your language carefully and MEET them where they are. By now you should know the students background, who they have had lessons from (which is why you should study all methods), occupation and sports history so this should help you in explaining what exactly what you want them to see. (key) Don’t point out every fault or strange movement in their motion but only the things that you want them to see and that you want to focus on in that lesson. Especially people who this is their first time that they have seen their swing, it can be overwhelming so be careful. Depending on their lesson experience and background you will know the words you can use or can’t use. The average golfer isn’t going to know what the 3rd accumulator, p4 or spin loft means so you are constantly checking for understanding. “Do you understand what this plane line is for?” Use language that they can relate to without the ums, uhs and kind of’s so it is clear and concise. I highly recommend that you listen to your video analysis emails that you send to your students for evaluation to help you improve your presentation. So meet them where they are.
3) Learn To Model and Manipulate Properly – Once I have explained what we are going to work on, I either Model (visual) or Manipulate (kinesthetic). Neither of these exercises require a ton of verbage which is nice. In my opinion, manipulating or moving a student into the correct positions is a lost art. If you are standing behind the trackman or the video and telling the player to move a certain way and getting in there and moving the student around then you are doing them a disservice. I teach this to my staff. Where to stand and proper hand placement. When to exaggerate and when to be perfect. It is hard to explain without video or actually doing it but there is what I call shaft control and body control and they must be done correctly or the student will get poor feedback. Doing this in a mirror helps as well. I also recommend (PNF) which is moving the student in opposite direction of the error and having them to resist. This gives them the feedback that they need to move in a positive direction which ingrains the change much quicker. Moving them allows for the student to give you feedback on how it feels to them and that is invaluable. I don’t care what they say or how they explain it, that is the language that I use in the lesson because that it how they relate to it which is most important. (Less Talking More Listening)….starting to make sense. Modeling is simply demonstrating by hitting a shot or doing it slowly (my recommendation). Can be helpful for the student to see it in action.
I know this is more for the coaches but it is important for students to give great feedback and let your coach know what you want, how you learn the best and when you don’t understand something. A great teacher can use all that information by explaining it a different way so that you can understand it. Because you, the student are the most important part of this equation and if you feel you are getting left out you need to speak up.
Coaches: make it a point to tape yourself giving some lessons this off-season and make it a learning tool because I will be doing the same in order to improve. If we don’t get better, the game doesn’t grow.
Thanks for reading and feel free to share with your friends by using one of the buttons below
To improve your word usage, sign up for twitter and try to explain something in 140 characters or less. ….. Choose your words wisely 🙂
Since I am not writing as much as I used to, I am entertaining offers from guest posts. It must relate to golf preferably. So if you have an idea and need a venue, feel free to contact me @firstname.lastname@example.org and send it over for my approval. Please welcome Cindy Prosser as she shares some yoga poses that will help you with your golf game.
Improve Your Swing with these Top 6 Yoga Poses for Golfers:
Golf is a sport where every detail matters. You’re focused on the position of your body behind the ball, your swing, and even some things that are out of your control – like how hard the wind is blowing. Did you know that yoga can help you greatly improve your golf performance?
In fact, there are six key yoga poses that are known for helping you improve your golf game. They’ll help you increase flexibility, hone your mental concentration, and improve your range of motion. They can also help minimize (or eliminate!) the common complaints of golfers like strained shoulders, a sore back, and tight chest muscles. Here are our top 6 yoga poses recommended for golfers (and check out our favorite mens tshirts at bare necessities too!):
Lunge: Let’s start with one of the most basic yoga poses – a lunge. Start on your hands
and knees. Step your left foot forward so it rests between your hands, making sure your shin is perpendicular to the floor. Press the heel and toes of your back foot into the floor. Draw your hips forward and push the right thigh toward the floor. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides, then repeat 10 times. Benefits: Helps with balance and stretches your hips.
Revolved Crescent Lunge: Start in mountain pose and lunge your right foot forward. Your right knee should be directly above your right ankle so your shin is perpendicular to the ground. Press your left leg straight and draw your hands together at your heart. Twist from the waist and rest your left tricep on the outside of your right thigh while rotating up to gaze past your right shoulder. Press your palms together through the entire pose and hold for 30 seconds. Then, repeat on the other side. Benefits: Gives your hips a deep stretch.
Bird Dog Pose: Start on your hands and knees. Spread your fingers apart to stabilize
your hands so you don’t sink into your wrists. Make sure your knees are placed directly below your hips. While keeping your back flat, extend your left arm straight in front of you while extending your right leg behind you. Hold for two breaths, and then return to your original position. Repeat on the opposite side for 10 repetitions. Benefits: Improves core strength, coordination, and balance.
Tree Pose: Start standing up with your feet together. Shift your weight onto your left foot while bending your right knee. Place your right heel on the inside of your left knee and rotate your right leg out. Put your arms at heart’s center or over your head and hold for 30 seconds. Breathe deeply, then repeat with the other leg. Benefits: Improves breathing, balance, and mental focus.
Locust Pose: Start on your stomach with your forehead on the ground. Your legs should be together, toes pointed, and arms resting alongside your torso with your palms facing up. Exhale and lift your chest, head, arms, and legs off the floor while keeping your shoulder blades back and down. Hold (and breathe) for 10 seconds, and then lower your body and rest for 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Benefits: Strengthens back and lengthens your spine.
Bridge Pose: Start on your back with your knees bent and feet resting hip-distance apart. Put your arms by your sides with your palms facing down. When you inhale, tuck in your tailbone and press down through your hands while lifting your hips into the air. Your knees, hips, and chest should fall in the same straight line. Breathe for 20 seconds, rest, and repeat 3 times. Benefits: Strengthens hips, hamstrings, and lower back.
And there you have it, folks. Try out these six yoga poses and you’ll see an improvement in your golf game in no time flat!
About the Author:
Cindy Prosser approaches her golf game the same way she does shopping: by getting a leg up on her competition. Cindy finds behind-the-scene ways to improve her golf stroke just as she finds behind-the-scene deals while shopping for mens tshirts at barenecessities for her husband. It’s a stroke of genius, really.
First off, thanks for following my blog. You probably have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while but and I am still approaching 70,000 views which means that new people are still discovering my site or that you loyal readers are just taking your time to get through it all. I have worked very hard in the last couple of years to supply you all the most updated information to help you play better golf or become a better coach. As I have embarked on my new job change as the director of instruction at Carmel CC, I have been purely focused on raising the level of instruction for my staff by mentoring and training and concentrating on providing expert instruction to the wonderful membership at Carmel. I have changed my social media focus to strictly the membership by providing them with exciting programs for adults and kids, shooting weekly newsletters and video tips and improving the communication with the members as to keep them supplied with the best golf information and instructional opportunities to help improve their games. It is easy when you have such a supportive staff of PGA instructors (Eerik Kauppinen, Clint Udell and Adam Ohsberg) that have bought into our philosophy and implemented it to the members that they are working with and a membership that has been so appreciative of the efforts to bring the instruction to another level. I have also been plodding along (slowly i might add) writing my first book. So I haven’t been ignoring you on purpose, I have been a little busy. As the videos will be purely for the members to see, I will be doing some writing (maybe a few excerpts from my book) and continuing to share my insights on this great game, throwing in a few posts for the coaches out there to discuss and helping to promote other coaches that have helped me so much (paying it forward as they say). I am not promoting anything with the exception of Aimpointgolf.com which I am so excited to be a part of and am the only certified instructor in the Charlotte area. (check out my AimPoint page). I have missed you guys and appreciate you following my blog.
Here are my picks for the upcoming British Open. Leave your picks in the comment section and don’t hesitate to leave a question or share a post. Here is a video that I shot last year at this time. How time flies.
As I strive to learn more about the golf swing and ultimately help my students play better, I often turn to my golf pro friends through my social media connections. Whether it is one of the many groups that I am in on Facebook or my favorite way to exchange ideas,Twitter.com. So I was curious about what everyone thought about FOOT FLARE or the positioning of the feet at address and how it impacted a golfers swing. As I write this post I will tell you that I don’t have all the answers but experience and reasearch have their place because I can tell you what has worked for me as I will give you my opinion on this subject and give you some options that might help. But I want to share with you first what my colleagues answered when I posed the question: How much foot flare (with both feet) do you teach and feel is important and why? Here is what I got:
@golfgurutv OK back to original question. Trail foot square lead foot flair towards target.
So it seems that most are in favor of some foot flare. 10 to 30 degrees seems to be the consensus on the front foot. The back foot seemas to be mixed a bit.Some want it square and some flared. So here is how I see it. I would love to hear from more coaches and players with their opinions as I am just trying to learn what is the best way for the player. From my experience:
1. One of the most consistent swing errors that I see is the trail hip moving lateral in the backswing (sometimes even moving the weight to the outside of the rear shoe). This can cause you to limit your shoulder rotation and throw off your timing and sequence in the downswing. It often happens when the player is trying to keep their hips still (X Factor). With a limited shoulder turn, your hands/arms and the club cannot get deep (more behind you) enough to have a chance to returning the club on plane or from the inside without a huge plane shift.
2. Secondly, I see so many golfers that have been drilled into their heads the importance of turning through the downswing that they don’t have enough lateral slide toward to target to allow the hands/arms club shaft to drop to the inside enough. They spin the body, keep their weight back too long and end up cutting across the ball. I call these players, “BACK SIDED SPIN DOCTORS”
So how will foot flare help these problems and why?
I would suspect that it has a lot to do with knee, hip and ankle mobility for sure so this should be checked. I work with som many golfers that have had knee and ankle injuries and foot positioning is crucial for these folks.
RIGHT FOOT FLARE: Angling your rear foot out 10 to 20 degrees will increase your ability to extend your rear leg and rotate your hips more. More hip rotation will increase your shoulder rotation. If you don’t think you turn your shoulders enough, check this and you will see what i mean. The right knee will change flexion on the backswing. Look at any good player and you will see this. I didn’t say straighten but change, very important. If you try to keep your right knee flexed and don’t let your hips turn……Unless you are extremely hypermobile….I would expect you to shoot somewhere in the low 200’s.
SQUARE FOOT: You will see golfers with this back foot position and you can do it if you have good hip/knee/ankle mobility. It is easier to roll to the outside of your rear foot with your weight in this position so be careful.
LEAD FOOT FLARE:Probably the most important foot position in the golf swing: Teachers like Mac O’Grady
and many others have spoken of the importance of left foot flare. So what benefit will you have by flaring your foot 10-30 degrees.
1. It allows for the hips to slide laterally longer in the downswing which slows down the shoulder rotation (keeps you spin doctors at bay). This allows time to drop the club to the inside much easier. So If you are a cut across slicer, you probably need more slide and less turn for sure.
2. It takes pressure off of the left knee as it allows the knee to get over or slightly outside the ankle joint before starting to straighten (or post)……Does Tiger Woods come to mind? His new more centered pivot requires more hip and knee slide toward the target which is easier on his bad knee…hmmmm? And he has more foot flare as well. Less injury to the knees and ankles can’t be bad, right?
BOTH FEET FLARED = DUCK STANCE (best of both worlds)
I see so many of my students that start with a square lead foot and pick it up and turn their toes toward the target and wonder why….Because it should have been there to begin with.
When you are watching football this weekend, pay close attention to the position of the place kickers lead foot and how that affects his ability to slide forward, swing his leg from the inside and turn his hips through the strike.
Ok, so that’s my take on foot flare. Would love to hear what you think as I am trying to learn and the more I look at players on the PGA tour the more different everyone looks so we need to make some sense of it all. Until then…..